Photos: Santa Cruz's Gorgeous Verve Coffee Shop Opens In DTLA
Popular Santa Cruz-based roaster, Verve, launched their first L.A. coffee shop and roastery in the heart of downtown on Friday, joining in on the growing coffee culture in our city.
Up until now, if we wanted Verve, we could get our fix at L.A. eateries like Short Cake and Republique, but now Verve has a place that they can call their own—and it's a gorgeous one.
Verve, which shares the new space with cold-pressed juicery Juice Served Here, sits on South Spring Street in the Fashion District, just steps away from restaurants like Preux & Proper, Terroni and Peking Tavern. Its front patio is surrounded by lush green plants all along the walls and on the ceiling, accompanied by wooden table and chairs. Massive windows that go from the ceiling to the floor serve as the entrance to the coffee shop that occupies 1,600 square feet. The floor inside is stained to look like the front of a Vox amplifier because the owners love music, Verve's founder Colby Barr tells LAist. Inside, tables and chairs are covered in braided fabric. The space was designed by architects Studio MAI, who occupy the back of the building. And as for fancy equipment, this shop has it too: there's a custom-made, seven-foot Kees Van Der Westen espresso machine from Amsterdam that Barr says is the only one of its kind in the world.
Verve's partnership with Juice Served Here means that we'll be getting some things in L.A. that the three Verve Santa Cruz locations won't be getting. They have an earthy, robust and creamy cappuccino drink called Tres Leches that combines their coffee with Juice Served Here's drink that has the same name made with coconut water, hazelnut milk, cashew milk and almond milk. At this downtown shop, Verve uses all of Juice Served Here's housemade nut milks. You can get your regular espresso, macchiato, teas, and cold brew on tap here, too.
Both companies are into healthy, high-quality ingredients and building relationships with their farmers and purveyors, which pretty much is the reason behind their partnership. "We kind of connected as friends," Barr says. "We felt there was a connection with our brands—on an aesthetic level and kind of on a high-end quality, seeker of truth, product level. Like only the best ingredients, kind of uncompromising in that regard."
Juice Served Here has 23 of their cold-pressed juices, smoothies and shots available at this shop. We tried their Green Milk, which combines their nut milks with spinach, romaine and kale. It's a well-balanced and delicious concoction.
Short Cake's head pastry chef Ivan Marquez designed the food menu for this spot. Expect French pastries, baguettes, desserts, and even some vegan and gluten-free options. Some must-try items include a Monkey Bread, a rich and decadent savory pastry that is made with croissant dough and rolled with lardons and mustard; a butter and salami baguette that has nice, thick slices of butter slathered onto the bread; and a cocoa ball that is vegan and gluten-free and surprisingly rich with the help of avocados. We expected a little more out of the vegetarian focaccia bread which is sparsely topped with some mini squash and goat cheese; we'd suggest the focaccia with salami for something more flavorful if you're feeling carnivorous.
Cafe Gratitude is also supplying the restaurant with to-go raw and vegan options, like Asian Kale Salad and their version of the BLT Wrap, as well as desserts like a quinoa crunch bar.
And to add to the health food craze, the drinks from Verve's newly acquired company, Dr. Kefir's sparkling, non-dairy probiotic drinks, will also be served there. It's like kombucha except with a less vinegary taste and using kefir starter crystals. They have flavors like elderberry, lemon ginger, and rooibos. We tried them and they tasted like flavorful sodas without being so sugary.
With that being said, this place is probably heaven for health nuts.
Verve and Juice Served Here are located at 883 Spring St., downtown L.A. It's open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Verve's drinks range from $3 to $5.50. Their food ranges from $3 to $12. Juice Served Here's drinks range from $4 to $20.