I have been on a mission to find better and better espresso lately; lots of reading, experimenting, and visits to coffee shops. I think LA Mill and Intelligentsia locally serve some excellent espresso, but, I find LA Mill to be hyper-prententious with slow service and Intelligentsia hipster pretentious with bad parking and lines. It always feels like I am missing something, or there is some well known rule I am violating when I go to have coffee at either. There is also something about these burgeoning empires that brings them everyday one step closer to Starbucks. I personally have nothing against large corporations or even Starbucks, but direct communication with the person in control is lost in these places. To avoid the pretense, I have been going to The Fix in Echo Park where they serve a nutty, heavy crema espresso in a relaxed atmosphere, but even there, the person pulling the shot has very limited control over the overall experience. Being able to sit with someone who selects the beans, the roaster, and the person pulling the shots lends a personal touch, and a different level of experience that is hard to find. Enter Cafecito Organico.
I read an article about Angel Orozco a while back and loved the story. He learned to roast, was determined to perfect his craft, but kept getting kicked out of his rental apartments when neighbors complained. Finally he set up a permanent roasting facility in Boyle Heights and was selling at farmer's markets. For my home brewing, after a bought really bad batch of Peet's beans, and not getting exactly what I wanted from Intelligentsia Black Cat, or LA Mill Espresso (not to mention the $15/lb price tag,) I decided to search out local roasters. I sent Cafecito an email from their website link and Angel responded that their store was now open at 534 N. Hoover. Right around the corner in Silverlake.
Cafecito has a somewhat busy and surprisingly charming coffee house and retail store which I was told opened in March. There are some baked goods from local bakery Delilah and a number of non-coffee drinks as well as a chalkboard menu of the current coffees. Angel was manning his pump machine and was able to discuss the flavors, the roasting, the grind, and even their resting period after roasting. He offered me a sample of their Calndestino espresso which was very good and of which I bought beans for home brewing ($10/lb.) Angel was a very nice, charming, well spoken, easy to talk to guy. I heartily recommend giving it a try to hang out over a coffee, buy beans for home, or to learn from someone who is involved in every step of the process.