With 7 LA Locations and Growing, This Neighborhood Coffee Shop Is Making a Name for Itself
The year is 2006: Starbucks exists, but there are a scant few other neighborhood coffee shops here and there; they don’t let you sit and stay awhile nor is their coffee of particularly high quality. Noticing this, founders Gary Chau and Mark Wain set out to create a space dedicated to the art of espresso. Friends since business school, the pair left their corporate jobs to pursue that dream; Caffe Luxxe was born in Santa Monica that same year to share a love of coffee with as many people as possible. Caffe Luxxe Los Angeles
Having lived for some time in both Europe and Seattle, the duo envisioned a space that was reminiscent of cafe culture with coffee that they had found in those places. Their goal was to make getting a luxurious cup of coffee an attainable task while giving each customer a culinary coffee experience. “We wanted a place that was community-oriented—a place for friends and family to get together and have an exceptionally crafted beverage,” says Wain. “For me, drinking a cup of coffee has always been a ritualistic, social experience. I grew up watching my family bond over coffee every morning—it’s always been a big part of our routine.”
Caffe Luxxe is one of the first cafes in LA to champion handcrafted artisanal coffee. Fast-forward to 2022: 16 years and seven locations later, it’s safe to say they’ve mastered the craft of creating a perfect cup of joe. “We might not dabble in molecular gastronomy or be the trendiest coffee shop on the block, but Caffe Luxxe is like the little black dress of coffee shops. We have a tried-and-true approach; our coffee is steeped in craft and European tradition—something that will never go out of style,” promises Wain. Caffe Luxxe Los Angeles
What further sets Caffe Luxxe apart from other coffee shops is their painstakingly careful system that’s applied at every step. “We are meticulous about our sourcing. Pre-pandemic, we made trips around the world to source the finest coffee beans to roast. We take a stringent, culinary approach to roasting our coffee, and each barista must undergo a six-month training program to learn our proper methodologies and become what we call a ‘coffee chef,’” explains Wain. Patrons can expect to taste the care, passion and professionalism from each barista, roaster and farmer in each cup of coffee served at Caffe Luxxe.
If it’s your first time in and you’re not sure where to start, you can’t go wrong with a Caffe Luxxe cappuccino. This beverage greets your taste buds with an impeccably rich smoothness and a perfect milk-to-espresso ratio. If you’re feeling a hankering for something sweet, you can get a pump of vanilla added or their housemade caramel sauce mixed into the drink. For something unique, try the Caffe Nico, which is made with espresso, candied orange, cinnamon and half-and-half. Another local favorite is the Caffe Shakerato: espresso, dark chocolate sauce shaken over ice, yielding a frothy, refreshing drink perfect for early afternoons. Caffe Luxxe Los Angeles
One thing you’ll find at Caffe Luxxe that you’ll be hard-pressed to find elsewhere is their in-house brewed coffee kombucha. No, not coffee-flavored kombucha, but kombucha brewed with espresso rather than tea. Finding themselves with extra time on their hands during the pandemic, Chau and Wain decided to try to ferment their own coffee, which resulted in the Original Caffe Luxxe Coffee Kombucha. “Coffee can be acidic, but the fermentation makes it good for the gut, so you get almost like a healthy energy drink. It’s like nothing else you’ve ever tried.” You can get it in four flavors: original, black cherry, cola and vanilla. And if you’re not local, you can even have it shipped to you!
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Whether you’re craving a cup of classic, bold coffee before work or on a slow Sunday morning, you now know where to go!