You may have already heard the bells tolling: The Arts District’s homegrown coffee shop, Handsome Roasters, has finally been fully converted into Blue Bottle Coffee, the Oakland-based chain that purchased the Handsome brand back in April.
Just as you don’t realize how much you miss your ex until they start dating someone else, the impact of Handsome’s demise didn’t quite hit us until that shiny new Blue Bottle logo went up on Mateo Street.
But, hey, look on the bright side: Blue Bottle makes world-class coffee, after all.
Though the physical aesthetic of the-shop-formerly-known-as-Handsome might not have altered much, there are some changes worth being aware of so you don’t sound like a doofus when ordering your next pour-over.
1. No more sugar and milk totalitarianism.
Blue Bottle has relaxed Handsome’s harsh (yet sort of endearing) policy of not offering milk and sugar to customers. You can now top your morning brew, if you like, with Clover organic milk or locally-made Almond Milk L.A. As for sweeteners? You’d better be down with Sugar in the Raw, because you won’t find Stevia or Splenda. The line must be drawn somewhere.
2. Chicory victory? You can order New Orleans-style iced coffee.
One of the biggest sellers at Blue Bottle is their potent but silky cold brew infused with roasted chicory bark and then cut with milk and cane sugar. Not too bad on a hot summer day.
3. Handsome’s Dandy Espresso is still available.
Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water as they say. Apparently the brass at Blue Bottle enjoyed Handsome’s proprietary epresso blend, Dandy, so much that they’ve kept it on the menu as an L.A. location exclusive. That’s a good thing too, but that acidic, vibrant espresso is indeed a dandy.
4. No more weird latté sizes
Though we were intrigued by Handsome’s forward-thinking approach to categorizing steamed milk drinks by size (the menu listed 3oz, 5oz, or 10z) it was about as confusing as converting to the metric system. Blue Bottle’s menu keeps it simple: macchiato, cappuccino, and latté (plus the off-menu cortado, obviously).
5. Did someone say scavenger hunt?
Taking a page from @HiddenCash, Blue Bottle is planning to win L.A.’s affection by hiding blue-colored bottles around town and hinting at the location via Twitter, according to Eater L.A. Prizes include free drinks, coffee beans, and other swag. Follow @BlueBottle_LA and look for the tag #MessageinaBlueBottle.
Blue Bottle Coffee, 582 Mateo St., Arts District, 213-621-4194