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Blue Bottle Buys Handsome Coffee Roasters [Updated]

A bag of Handsome Coffee Roasters coffee beans (Photo by Roland Tanglao via the Creative Commons on Flickr)
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Just a few years ago, L.A. wasn't the hot spot for high-end coffee like it is today. Out-of-town roasters like Portland's Stumptown and Oakland's Blue Bottle Coffee have brought their caffeinated beans over to our city over the years. However, our very own L.A.-based Handsome Coffee Roasters might just be getting acquired by Blue Bottle—and that might mean a bleak future for our beloved coffee dudes.

A source close to the deal told Eater L.A. that Blue Bottle, which is already in the works on opening shops in Venice and Culver City, is in talks to acquire Handsome. They also plan on taking over Handsome's sweet Art District location (roasting equipment and cafe included!), according to the source, so that most likely means Handsome will be no more.

Intelligentsia veterans Michael Phillips, Chris Owens and Tyler Wells got together to create Handsome three years ago, according to Daily Coffee News. They've been lauded for their brewing techniques and delicious roasts. However, Wells and Owens recently left the collective to work on their own projects. The coffee shop opened in Feb. 2012 and just celebrated its two-year anniversary, according to Eater L.A.

Blue Bottle's expansion is growing outside of just L.A., as Sprudge reported last month that the roasters are opening shop in Tokyo, Japan as well.

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LAist contacted Handsome about the acquisition, but have not heard back at this moment.

UPDATE 3:35 p.m.: Even though Blue Bottle's PR rep, Byard Duncan, has confirmed they bought out Handsome, he says they're still figuring out what to do with the Handsome brand. He wrote in an email:

Handsome's roastery and coffee bar will transition over into a Blue Bottle this summer. But the brand itself? We're not yet sure. We've got folks on the ground in L.A. right now just learning as much as they can from the incredible crew Handsome has assembled. For the time being, all Handsome web and wholesale customers will not experience any disruption to their service. If anything changes, they'll be the first to know.

UPDATE 2:25 p.m.: Blue Bottle Coffee confirmed in a press release today that they purchased Handsome Coffee Roasters. Philips, the owner of Handsome and 2010 World Barista Champion, will be joining the Blue Bottle team in a development position.

"To co-found such a successful coffee business that it is acquired by a company as prestigious as Blue Bottle in just two years represents a huge success for me and my team,” Phillips said. “Blue Bottle’s retail vision has always inspired me, and I look forward to bringing what I can to the table to be a part one of the most exciting opportunities in specialty coffee today. The chance to bring the best coffee experience possible to an even wider audience is pretty thrilling."

And indeed, Blue Bottle will be taking over Handsome's Art District location at 582 Mateo Street. They've offered Handsome employees to come work for them.

In another deal today, they also bought out Tonx, an online-based coffee subscription company.

Blue Bottle's Venice location will open in mid-2014 and Culver City spot in early 2015. They will also open locations in Manhattan and Palo Alto over the next year.

It's a bittersweet move for our beloved L.A. coffee roaster.