Friday, February 23, 2007

Kaldi Coffee and Tea (Atwater Village)

3147 Glendale Blvd., Los Angeles

Kaldi (Atwater) is a small storefront on Glendale Avenue in Atwater Village, just east (or is that north?) of Interstate 5. Its owners roast their own coffee and feature Rishi Teas. It is a popular neighborhood joint, competing with the large Starbucks at the end of the block. Its clean, well-lit interior features several tables, and four upholstered chairs. There is also a large front seating area and a back patio. The clientele (the ones who stay around) are primarily students, screen writers, and older teenagers. Weekday nights are quiet. The staff is incredibly friendly, fast, and professional.

Atmosphere: 4 stars
The polished concrete floors and silver walls give Kaldi an industrial feel that matches the always-about-to-gentrify atmosphere of Atwater Village. Every time I’ve been here in the day, the front door has been propped open, letting in a nice breeze. The art on the walls is of varying quality but never bad or laughable. The music volume is often quite low, especially compared to the hum of Glendale Avenue, making this a good choice for those distracted by background music, if not background noise. At night there can be a slight overtone of incense, but I suspect it might be the coffee drinkers, not Kaldi.

Details. Kaldi’s cleanliness helps them avoid the “ick” factor often present when coffee shops feature well-used upholstered chairs. The chairs supplied for the tables are very comfortable, and the tables are at a good height for typing.

Parking. There is ample metered parking on Glendale, although it is only for 2 hours and often crowded. I recommend parking in the block behind Glendale (watch the street cleaning signs).

Neighborhood. Glendale Boulevard is the heart of Atwater village, and there is always light, friendly foot traffic during the day. Since Kaldi doesn’t serve food (other than baked goods), I’ve seen several patrons get a sandwich at the sandwich shop next door. There is also a popular taco place down the block. At night it’s more empty, but the neighborhood’s galleries and studios really brighten up the street..

Hours. 6:30am – 9pm weekdays, open until 10 Friday and Saturday, at 7am on Saturday and Sunday.

Wireless. Free wireless that reminds you to “buy coffee.”

Credit Cards. Nope. Cash Only.

Service. Fast and friendly without being overbearing. Among the best I’ve encountered at an independently-run coffee shop.

Coffee: 3 stars.

Unfortunately, I don’t really like the beans that they roast here, especially the decaf. However, it is pretty affordable. It’s not horrible coffee, but it’s not great, either. A sixteen-ounce drip coffee is $1.50 with tax. I like the espresso drinks more. They are well-made and affordable, never too hot. (Small cappuccino is $3.00, latte $3.25)

Again, the tea selection is excellent and tasty, although I am a little perplexed by the way they price different blends at different levels. The more expensive ones are better.

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monday-morgue said...

I've been enjoying Kaldi recently, thanks for the info!

Regi said...

I'm meeting some folks at Kaldi this weekend, glad I found your post as now I won't be driving up and down the street wondering what exactly I'm looking for. This was perfect!