Intelligentsia: Coffee & Angels
A coffee addict's journey to finding the perfect cup of joe ...
Coffee has become a daily necessity in my life; in a weird way this realization crept up on me and hit me like truck on a Sunday afternoon, as I was sitting in Intro to Advertising with one eye open. Having not had my daily dose of caffeine. It gets worse... I am also a cliché coffee addict. So yes, it's exactly what you're thinking, Starbucks. Lots of it.
Not that any of this is an issue, and it all started about 8 years ago when a Starbucks coffee shop opened in the building next to mine in Cairo. Just to put this into perspective, Cairo is not LA and as shocking as this may seem, Starbucks branches are actually few and far between. So I guess you could say it was fate?
I moved to LA for a 6 week Summer Session last June only to find myself in coffee heaven. Starbucks was EVERYWHERE. It was perfect. I'm a loyal customer to say the least, and tend to stick to my chosen brands. Until I discovered the one brand that would trump even my Double Shot Skinny Iced Caramel Macchiato. More cliches I know ... but bare with me.
I was walking down Abbot Kinney Blvd. in Venice clutching onto to my sleek black, gold embroidered Scotch&Soda bag, and after a whole day of breathing in salty sea air under the scorching California heat, I was done. I needed coffee. Being the most hipster of all places I'd ever been to in my life, this particular street would in no way house an abominable Starbucks.
Cue: Intelligentsia. I turned the next corner, intrigued by a grouping of fresh vine leaves growing around what looked to be industrial architecture. I had pushed the coffee craving out of mind ... when I saw it. Through the leaves, a bright orange, winged, coffee cradling, star studded angel!
Intelligentsia was hiding behind the vine leaves. The smell of roasted coffee beans, coupled with an atmosphere and clientele that live up to its name; this place gave me far and away one of the best coffee shop experiences I've had to this day. It stole my coffee deprived heart, and after the first sip toppled my long battle with Starbucks addiction.
Suggested Order: Angelino - it's strong, cold, exotic and delicious.
Atmosphere: Brick and Mortar style architecture with stark pipelines and bare coffee machines. Bright and open, designed by Ana Henton.
Locations: Chicago, LA, New York
Disclaimer: They do not have power outlets at the Venice store ... bummer I know. But charge up and Bucket List this spot if you're ever in the above listed cities. As far as coffee goes, it does not disappoint.