If you find yourself driving along the 134 or the 2 in the neighborhood of Eagle Rock, or if you live there anyway, you now have a brand-new, high-octane caffeine hangout. Cafecito Orgánico, the coffee shop and roastery that began life as a farmers market stall and once operated out of a back room of Mama's Hot Tamales near MacArthur Park, opened in Eagle Rock on Saturday, Feb. 15.
Angel Orozco and Mitch Hale opened their latest coffee shop in a strip mall on Colorado Boulevard – which puts you midway between Cacao Mexicatessen and Oinkster, if those are your GPS food coordinates – in a small, lofty space, the previous location of the Japanese restaurant Masacasa, between a Domino's and a dry cleaners and near Blue Hen Vietnamese Kitchen. Open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., the new Cafecito Orgánico is one of four currently open, including coffeehouses on Hoover in Silver Lake, in Malibu and in Costa Mesa. (Their roastery is in Torrance.)
And now for a quick Cafecito Orgánico thumbnail sketch. The shop on Heliotrope, for those of you with java Google maps, now is called Helio Cafe and is owned by the former Cafecito Orgánico manager; the Burbank location closed at the end of January after a yearlong experiment in a former Starbucks location. The Cafecito Orgánico pop-up that has been popping up at the 24.7-mile marker of the L.A. River, in RAC Design Build's rear patio just north of downtown, will begin again on March 1.
And, for those of you who make runs to Disneyland with your children and BADLY need excellent coffee, Hale says he and Orozco are opening their Anaheim coffee shop in April as part of a pretty artisan market remodel of a former Sunkist fruit-packing plant.
The new Eagle Rock shop is a small, airy place, done in cornflower blues and wood and metal (there's Wi-Fi!), the front counter dominated by an Astoria Rapallo lever machine. Hale says they'll add café seating (umbrellas!) outside, where there's ample free lot parking.
Coffee machine geeks should note that this is now the only Cafecito Orgánico with a lever machine; all the other shops have La Marzoccos, including, according to Hale, a Strada La Marzocco manual paddle (MP) machine at the Malibu location, a Linea MP La Marzocco at the Hoover location, a standard Linea in Costa Mesa, and an Astoria semi-automatic at their farmers market locations, in Hollywood and Silver Lake.
As Radiohead's “Karma Police” played and the espresso engines whirred, Hale expressed satisfaction at the new location: “This, we believe, will be a very great thing. The neighborhood is responding to it.”
To help us all respond, the coffee shop not only carries excellent coffee (the beans are also available for sale) but also currently has organic vegan pastries from Bakery Oaxaca. The food program is expanding to include salads and sandwiches at the Hoover coffee shop, as it may do as well at Eagle Rock in the near future. A vegan pastry and a perfectly pulled espresso under an umbrella in a strip mall: possibly the quintessential L.A. moment, at least for coffee geeks.