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Apr 3, 2012 03:06 PM

Handsome Coffee Roasters -I really liked it.

Had a Cappuchino followed by an espresso.

Pretty mild.

And definitely doesn't need any sugar which some had qualms about.

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  1. If you like the taste of espresso without sugar, then you're right, it doesn't need it. For those of us who prefer sugar with espresso, I must respectfully disagree.

    It doesn't make up for the weak crema though. It's the same with the beans I tried at home and now at the machines at the Fix who use it. The baristas there were complaining about it too.

    1. We stopped by Handsome Coffee Roasters this past weekend. WOW -- what a beautiful space! Those shelves with the copper pipes, the copper ceiling and the copper bar...very, very nice.

      The coffee was quite good; I had Columbian drip. The HCR team was really friendly. We were peeking into the roasting room and the "Head Roaster" invited us in for a tour of the machinery. They were not roasting at the time, but their operation appeared very impressive.

      We brought in our own sugar and they did not seem to mind. The cream that they provided was milk, I believe; we did not ask for anything richer. I don't know if they have cream or not, but cream does, IMVHO, make a smoother afternoon cup!

      I enjoy the coffee at a few other places in the city (Balconi is one of my favorites), but I would return to Handsome for the fine service and for the beautiful space.

      5 Replies
      1. re: liu

        LOL! You have inspired me to actually bring in my coffee crack the next time I visit HCR... otherwise known as Rancho Gordo Pillioncillo!


        1. re: Dommy

          Hi, Dommy!

          Oooh, this Piloncillo intrigues me.
          You are always interesting...

          Actually, I am not a coffee drinker; I enjoy a cup every now and then, especially when it is very fine. I drink a lot of tea, but without sugar or any other add-ins. So, what else might I do with this Piloncillo?

          I would love to try it with some coffee because it sounds "right." It sounds like I might be able to make that perfect cup even more perfect with a Rancho Gordo Piloncillo add-in!
          Do you suggest purchasing it from this website? Is this where you purchased yours?

          1. re: liu

            This piloncillo is great for any cooking sugar preps. I use it mainly in sauces and in my coffee (I have a bit at work for my barista set up and a bit at home). It has more mellow taste than sugar, leaves a very clean taste (Which is why it's great with coffee, it doesn't weigh it down like other sugar). For some reason I don't like it that much in tea because it does skew the flavor (my prefered sweetner for tea is honey or simple syrup)

            I got my first bag at Cookbook when I wanted to support them in their first weeks and honestly didn't have much to buy. At first I scoffed at paying so much since I grew up on Pilioncillo, but the first cafe de olla I made with it ad me a convert.

            Of course, I just so happened to run out and I went back to Cookbook and they also were out! Serious, it was the only thing keeping me sane at work and I sent RG an e-mail and they kindly explained that the cooperative had a bad year and they had run out of stock... LUCKILY they had a few bags held back and fell for my sob story so they shipped me one.

            The thing is, ordering directly from them, shipping was EXPENSIVE. But this year's stock looks to have come back strong and as of last month, it's back on their website. YAY! So I'm sure if you mention it to Marta at Cookbook or the guys at Atwater Village Market (They carry lots of RG items), they can probably get it in stock for you.



              1. re: Dommy


                I just brewed some Masala Chai from Sky Tea and added a little of the RG Piloncillo...truly delicious! The piloncillo adds a sweet depth that I miss in white sugar.

                I will definitely follow your lead: I am taking my baggie of RG Piloncillo to Handsome Coffee Roasters next time I go!

                Dommy, thank you for this recommendation. I am always skeptical...sugar is sugar is sugar, but this is something special, indeed!

        2. What's their reasoning behind the "no sugar" rule?

          6 Replies
          1. re: vinosnob

            Marketing would be my guess.

            The 'our coffee is so good it doesn't need sweeteners' angle.

            The same approach worked pretty well for Father's Office.

            1. re: vinosnob

              Although they are SUPER sweet, they have a well definded vision on how they want their coffee to be served. They don't have a huge menu, no wifi, no extra flavors (aside from milk). The focus is on their bean and how they roast them.


              1. re: Dommy

                "The focus is on their bean and how they roast them."
                _ _ _

                Dommy, you are exactly correct about this. When we were given our little "tour" of their equipment, the Chief Roaster was extremely proud of his operation. They are really, really serious about roasting.

                Dommy, by the way, as you recommended, I just ordered some RG Piloncillo (evaporated sugar cane juice). Thanks for your direction to this product.

                1. re: liu

                  Every coffee roaster from Peet's to Intelligensia flaunts their dedication to the "best" beans and roasting methods.

                  I'm with LATrapp, seems like (niche) marketing to me which is smart on their part.

                  1. re: vinosnob

                    Yep, I'm not knocking them at all when I say it's marketing. I honestly hear/read about their 'no sugar' policy more then I hear/read about how good their coffee is. It's a buzz that they've done well with.

                    The three founders grew up (very well) through Intelligentsia. Arguably, one of the savvier marketers on the new whatever wave coffee scene. They also really, really know their coffee. But even with that pedigree, it's a completive landscape out there for niche roaster cafe's. Coffee is hip right now. And if you are going to open up a new shop with high ambitions, you better figure out a way to be hipper, geekier, and more 'core' than your competitor.

                    1. re: LATrapp

                      Well said, LATrapp...and thanks for more information.

                      Beyond their very fine coffee, they have a couple of other things going for them -- for my tastes: the space is beautiful (it is where I want to linger) and I love being downtown within walking distance of Little Tokyo. Parking nearby HCR is easy and there is good walking from there around town.

            2. Visited Handsome at the weekend -

              very impressed by the espresso - one of the best i've ever tasted, smooth with rich crema - flavours of salt and citrus. wonderful. blend of columbian and rwandan apparently.

              espresso with milk - pretty good flavour, liquorice tones. could do with a smoother, more silky and denser micro-foam rather than the frothier cappucino style on the 3 oz, otherwise the froth just fills the cup. as a nice extra they give you the left-over espresso in a spare cup tho.

              filter coffee - underwhelming. most places pour over to order these days so not sure why HCR think they can get away with filter coffee that's been sitting around for hours. have been using their beans over past few weeks - really clean flavours of blueberry pie, lime peel, strawberry. but tossed the bag after a few days as it turned to crap for some reason (had it shipped so not the freshest i suppose).

              5 Replies
              1. re: johnnypd

                I echo these sentiments (with the exception of the filter, as I did not try it).

                We were there this weekend and came away thoroughly impressed, both by the coffee and the space.

                Tip: We brought a couple donuts from our lunch at Nickel, and they were PERFECT accompaniments! I especially recommend that Strawberry donut (nothing like TDM's).

                  1. re: kevin

                    The Donut Man? Famous for their strawberry-filled donut.

                    1. re: bulavinaka

                      I love that open-faced strawberry donut at Donut Man, in Glendora right? Just off ol famous route 66.

                      Great stuff, but I never get out there for obvious reasons.

                      1. re: kevin

                        Yes, this is to what I was referring in my post.

              2. just wondering - and thought i'd put it in this thread - is there anywhere to eat within walking distance of HCR? seems it is in a pretty out of the way location and i dont remember seeing any food offered here, so it's not ideal for hanging out there for a while.

                5 Replies
                1. re: johnnypd

                  church and State, and the restuarnant in the biscuit loft area, are about three blocks away, i believe.

                  1. re: kevin

                    thanks - i ended up going to little bear - nice burger and good beers.

                    2nd visit to HCR was not as impressive - crappy micro-foam that disintegrated on a 5oz latte and espresso wasn't as nice - they'd changed to a single origin from colombia - barista didnt seem too sold on it.

                    Filter coffee again wasn't the best i've had but ok.

                  2. re: johnnypd

                    Eggslut truck is often parked in front. A typical breakfast would be an $8 sandwich to go with a $5 latte.

                    I prefer Proof/Cog or just Chimney Coffee..

                    1. re: TonyC

                      Hmm never heard of that truck, egg slut.

                      pricey breakfast.