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Funnel Mill: Coffee and Tea Double Happiness Santa Monica

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  • epop Jan 25, 2011 09:27 AM
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I can't believe this place has eluded me, as I'd always gone when it wasn't yet open. Well, finally I tried it and it is what I've been looking for. A place to be quiet and enjoy a truly fresh and well crafted cup of tea and/or coffee. They've rare teas, estate teas, seasonal coffees, coffees brewed several ways. If they had Intelligentsia's marketing skills they'd have lines too. True, it isn't hip in quite the same way. But it is extremely clean and cozy and run with more integrity than just about anywhere in town.
Maybe I've let the cat out of the bag. I think they've the best iced coffee in town, on top of everything else.

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Funnel Mill
930 Broadway, Santa Monica, CA

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  1. oh my.
    this means that when i'm sitting in my car inhaling an almond croissant from pain du jour, i will have a new "next stop."

    1. What's the story on their other offerings? Baked goods and where they are sourced from etc?
      And do you know if they brew to order as Intelle does? Is their "iced coffee" an iced americano, or day old coffee as so many places serve as iced coffee. I am always on the look out for a new coffee spot, and iced coffee is my weakness. It's a challenge to find a good one!
      Thanks for the tip!

      7 Replies
      1. re: SarahM

        They do brewed to order siphon.

        I was charged $4+ for an espresso, so I only go there for siphon and tea.

        1. re: jaykayen

          I think their specialty is coffee brewing rather than espresso-based drinks. But what they really excel in is the tea, especially the Taiwan high mountain teas that you can't get at many tea shops.

          1. re: ristretto

            Plus incredible home brews of herbal teas.

            I agree with Ristretto's feeling about the brewing vs. espresso based drinks.

        2. re: SarahM

          They have simple cakes that seem homemade, and are not particularly sweet, thankfully.

          The iced coffee is made from a COLD DRIP GLASS MACHINE. I know of no other in Los Angeles. It is an elaborate process and the results are unique.

          These are detail-oriented people doing things with great personal care. Along with Luxxe and Intelligentsia I consider myself to lucky to be able have such places around.

          The espresso is pricy, but I guess that's the ticket price for unlimited wifi and electricity. I think it is a bargain for a home roasted, freshly ground, freshly brewed large cup of siphon coffee.

          1. re: epop

            I do like Funnel Mill a lot. But I think you need to like a siphon brewed cup of coffee to get what they are trying to do. A lot of people prefer a much more robust cup of coffee and may be disappointed with the delicate cup made by a siphon. Personally, I love it and their tea is just outrageously good. Plus, the place is so relaxed. Great place to read or get some work done.

            There is a small number of places that use the cold drip glass machine for iced coffee in LA. The alternative closest to Funnel Mill is Espresso Cielo on Main St. It's also a very good cafe. They make excellent espresso drinks (though their baristas aren't really that great, to be honest) and their iced coffee is obviously quite good , too. In order to get a high quality brewed coffee you do need to specify that you want them to prepare a cup to order.

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            Espresso Cielo
            3310 Main St, Santa Monica, CA 90405

            1. re: cacio e pepe

              I've tried some of the more robust, darker roasts with the siphon and can't imagine it much stronger. The caffeine content seems high on some of them too. I like the complexity of taste in the coffee but maybe that's also not what some people want.

              1. re: epop

                Well, it's just a different cup is all. And you're so right: the caffeine content is not really going to decrease using the siphon. Generally speaking though, I think the siphon will brew a much more delicate cup in which characteristics of the bean that are often lost with other methods really pop out. And who in their right mind wouldn't like that? I'm just glad I've got that option so nearby.

        3. I'm a big fan of Funnel Mill for tea. They have an extensive tea menu -- from greens to pu-erhs -- and they will take the time to discuss their teas with you. They also take great pains to brew a "proper" cup.
          Their passion shows -- and I love that about them!

          You can check out both their coffee and tea menus online:

          http://www.funnelmill.com/tea/index.php

          5 Replies
          1. re: liu

            My only minor gripe is that their water is a little flat. I think it's over-filtered (maybe reverse-osmosis)? It tastes better than your average water out of a Bunn dispenser, but it's a little rough on the throat.

            Their loose tea is Ok - maybe a bit overpriced, but given that they provide endless water and a decent tea setup, it's not bad. I have not had anything there that really blew me away, though.

            Is it ever busy in there? I haven't been for a while, but every time I go in there, I'm surprised that they're still around.

            1. re: will47

              the last couple of times i was there i snagged the only available seat.

              1. re: will47

                Their long brewed herbal teas are the best in town. So delicious.

                I don't mind paying a bit more, especially when people take great care. One is paying for the chair, computer network, etc. They have
                to stay in business after all.

                1. re: epop

                  A comfy place for people to hang out and work and all they need to do is buy a $3 drink. Intelligentsia won't let you plug your laptop into an outlet; Funnel Mill intentionally puts outlets everywhere. Works for me as the customer, but it's a tough business model.

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                  Funnel Mill
                  930 Broadway, Santa Monica, CA

                  1. re: sushigirlie

                    True.

                    It is why I rarely go to Intelligentsia. Their business model isn't designed for me...

            2. ssh! if it gets any more popular it's going to become too difficult for me to get a comfy seat ;)

              i adore Funnel Mill. their coffees and teas are superb, the employees are thoughtful and well-informed, and it's relaxed and cozy.

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              Funnel Mill
              930 Broadway, Santa Monica, CA

              7 Replies
              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                It's my greatest pleasure to share wonderful and delicious things!

                1. re: liu

                  ditto - i was teasing :) besides, we need to make sure they stay in business and i'd rather not be single-handedly responsible for supporting them!

                  i would suggest organizing a little Westside Chow Meetup there, but if it's more than a few of us we won't fit...and we'd probably be too chatty and disturb the peaceful vibe anyway.

                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                    I thought long and hard about whether to post but I decided they deserved to be recognized for what they're doing, even if it means they'll be more crowded. All I need is one chair. Tell only quiet people please.

                    1. re: epop

                      oh, you weren't the first to spill the [coffee] beans...some of us have already raved about it here on CH :)

                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                        True. I meant for myself...

                  2. re: liu

                    I don't share that pleasure because people tend to ruin it for me.

                    BTW, I forgot to add that they use frozen coffee ice cubes in their ice coffee. Quite a touch. The diluting is avoided that way.

                    1. re: epop

                      Now that is something I haven't seen in LA. Tres cool!

                2. I've been searching for an alternative to tea at the Huntington Garden which this sounds may not be really on quite the same wavelength, but perhaps good-enough to try to make work anyway.

                  As this place sounds more about the tea than the tea sandwiches, is there anyplace nearby to recommend for food/tea sandwiches? We could hop between a couple places and recreate a nice high tea that way perhaps?

                  Thanks.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: aliris

                    You're right about Funnel Mill being about the tea and not the food. They have some little snacks, but they don't really have food, per se. It's too bad we don't have something like a Mariage Freres here in LA.

                    But I'm thinkin' you mean afternoon tea, no?

                    If so, I think Clemetine does a great version on Thursday afternoons. Jin Patisserie does their own riff on tea service anytime they're open. And then there's the Tudor House in Santa Monica. Haven't been to that one, but have heard solid things from some friends.

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                    Jin Patisserie
                    1202 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

                    Funnel Mill
                    930 Broadway, Santa Monica, CA

                    Tudor House
                    1403 2nd St, Santa Monica, CA 90401