Demitasse Cafe is an excellent little shop in the heart of Los Angeles’ Japantown, featuring coffee from several roasters including Handlebar and Handsome, two of my favorites. The multi-roast bar is located on a picturesque corner and high volume walkway right in front of Weller Court. It is easily accessible by car or train, ideally situated such that you can visit what’s left of the Japanese historic district and enjoy some great coffee.
The spot is more akin to a lounge than a sort of working-man’s or artisan coffee bar. Bright lighting and the triangular shaped glass building lend to this warm, welcoming atmosphere. The attitude of the staff matches this approach. They are friendly, low key, and maintain a mellow pace despite being a hot spot shop. Bar-wise, I thought they did a terrific job keeping things simple yet sophisticated (even right down to the ergonomic shape of the bar that allows patrons to partake in the entire process). One cannot ignore the professional pieces on the brew bar, for instance. Though Demi is using the same halogen light technology to heat their siphons any other shops employ, the gold assents and high wattage bulbs have an unsurpassed allure. Very professional. I think the most original concept is the “bean offering” jar display at the register. Not only is it aesthetically appealing, each jar provides an easily viewable, thorough explanation about the bean within. Best of all, you can open them up and smell the beans for yourself. What better way to make an “educated, informed” decision? I think this subtle yet adroit concept is really something special; thanks for putting coffee back into people’s hands, Demitasse.
The service at Demintasse continued to impress me. Both baristas were extremely cordial and engaged me in “coffee talk” right away. Fortunately, I recognized my barista from the SCAA regionals. Right away, he asked me, “ah, so what type of cap would you like? We can do the traditional and the wet.” Normally I am not the big fan of the “traditional” foamy cap because most baristas who use this as their standard are, generally, a little sloppy. But, it was the fact he offered as a representative of an artisan shop and was well aware of the differences, I was confident that he possessed the skills to produce a great drink. I get stoked every time I run into someone on their “home turf.” Keep up the great work.
My cap was presented to me on a “gold platter.” In all seriousness, it might as well have been. The two baristas took the time to put my cap and a glass of sparkling water on a gorgeous bamboo tray and walk it over to me. Such culinary prowess, the baristas at Demitassee really understand the importance of presentation. These unique professional touches really do set Demi apart from other artisan shops. It was a warm cap; not very hot and almost borderline cool. As a result, the milk was extraordinarily sweet and velvety smooth. The espresso flavor was very light but still ubiquitous throughout the cup. Some might consider this “weak” espresso, but I would disagree. It had a great flavor, it just was not overly concentrated. Sometimes I enjoy the literally half espresso/half milk wet 6 oz cap, but today this really hit the spot.
Demitasse Cafe definitely had a reputation that preceded it. It has been recommended to me numerous times by local baristas and my friend up north, especially after I lament about my less than outstanding experiences with the average LA shop. Demi didn’t disappoint. It is a solid spot that gives patrons a little something extra in the culinary department and a professional flair that cafe’s seldom attain.
- Gold siphons
- Bamboo serving tray with sparking water
- Very sweet milk
- Location, location, location
Los Angeles, CA 90012