Yet another rainy day in Venice meant a beach day was out of the question, but after a serious lack of wifi I was happy to reacquaint myself with my laptop and get back online. Los Angeles is full of cool coffee shops but one which kept on coming up was Intelligentsia, a small chain starting in Chicago 21 years ago and now spanning 5 cities. I am actually sitting writing this blog post from their Venice location right now because 2017 is the year I strike when inspiration is fresh, rather than waiting for it to fit my schedule.
There is nothing more than I love than being surrounded by other creatives; I do not find the constant buzz distracting but instead feed of the ever changing energy. As the rain batters down outside, many locals seek shelter and a warm drink to ease the winter blues.
Intelligentsia keeps things simple; serving up coffee, tea and a small selection of baked goods. Though they do not provide a vast product range, each is well thought out and served with passion. Many businesses now lean towards the direct trade but these guys were doing it way back in 1995, before it was hip. Even today their employees are literally in the field travelling, working with farmers, and yielding new relationships.
This approach aids sustainability, helps farmers get a good deal and brings a completely unique single origin coffee to their customers – which I can confirm is utterly delicious. Pablo and I went for the Tres Santos Colombia, a sweet and light brew from small farms located in the Cauca region of Columbia. If you are a real coffee buff and want to learn more, then the Intelligentsia website hosts a wealth of knowledge, as do the friendly baristas. They also offer courses and events to let you get hands on with the coffee making process.
Back to today – I am happy just sipping on my mug of black coffee and typing away. Coffee is central to this warehouse style space with a large square bar taking up most of the floor space. Around the baristas busy at work are a sea of Mac users, all typing away, friends catching up over a cup o’ joe, and others who sit alone reading their book.
I confess, I judge a place based on its clientele; not by looking for where the cool kids hang, but for variety. Intelligentsia is undoubtedly a hipster hangout, but the varied age range and type of customer is a reflection of their welcoming atmosphere.
Sitting back from the central stage bar on a concrete step, I love watching people getting on with their daily business as I get on with mine. Intelligentsia has been my favourite mobile office this trip, but whether you are a workaholic like me, or just enjoy a good brew, this is a place worth stopping by.