Funnel Mill is a nice alternative to the hordes of Coffeebeans, SBs, and Pete’s in the Santa Monica area. Conveniently located along my biking route to the beach, it is a pleasant stop on the trip, far enough away from the business of the Promenade to enjoy a nice quiet drink in the late morning to mid afternoon.
The shop is a great space for studying and hanging out. Though usually pretty crowded, there is plenty of seating (including some very comfortable couches), outlets, and space to work. The quiet ambiance of the store also lends itself to a relaxing and study inducive atmosphere. The service is quality and friendly. While the “rarity” of their coffee might make one think “smugness,” the staff are very professional and helpful without being intimidating.
Their claim to fame, which is nothing to write off, is their unique product selection. Funnel Mill carries some rare beans, no doubt about it. They have Gesha and Blue Mountain, two well known “rare” varieties under one roof. However, they also had some stranger coffees that seemed odd by comparison. When my friend asked for a “chocolaty” coffee, the server asked if she wanted “in your face chocolaty,” then proceeded to show us a coffee that was sheen black, over roasted, old (oils coating the jar indicated this) and smelled as if it had been literally “rolled in chocolate.” I am all for experimenting and it piqued my curiosity, but having this as a demonstration of their roasting along side Gesha just seemed a little odd. Not at all bad, just seems like two very divergent schools of roasting, one being more elegant than the other.
Our coffees were served in enormous 16 oz glass cups, which was pleasantly surprising given we thought we ordered the standard 10-12oz pour over. They were tasty though slightly watery, as if they had not used enough beans for the 16 ozs of water. In all, the coffees were large, filling, and adequate, but nothing to write home about.
While I have yet to try a wider range of their products, I would recommend Funnel Mill to anyone looking to “hang out” or get out of the house for a cup of coffee who doesn’t want to end up at coffee bean or shell out big bucks for artisan coffee.