Any conversation about Los Angeles’ coffee scene would be incomplete without mentioning Handsome Coffee Roasters, the arts district’s stalwart coffee house that prides itself on being simple, warm, and accessible. Founded just over a year ago by Tyler Wells, Michael Phillips, and Chris Owens, the shop supplies coffee and espresso drinks to an entire community and serves as a vibrant meeting place for regulars and newcomers alike.
Perhaps the thing that strikes one first about the shop is its minimalism, from the stools and tables that adorn the place to its menu: there is no signature roast, blonde roast, or dark roast. As Tyler Wells likes to put it, “we do an appropriate roast.” It’s that sort of no-nonsense simplicity that allows anyone, aficionado or not, to walk in and order a “cup of coffee” the old-fashioned way—and enjoy it.
On my first and second visit I ordered espresso—a wonderful, balanced sip of foam, sweet, and just enough bitterness to give it some bite. Yet it was my third time in the shop, ordering a simple cup of coffee and a brioche roll, that I felt I’d truly discovered something remarkable. And there was nothing magical about it—my discovery was as simple as a batch of well-chosen coffee beans, roasted just so to bring out the inherent flavors in those beans, ground to just the right consistency, and brewed day in, day out. And that consistency of vision and quality has kept me coming back again and again.
We had a chance to talk with Tyler Wells, one of the shop’s three founders, about his thoughts on coffee and Handsome Coffee Roasters.