Whether as a mobile coffee bar in Chinatown, in a stall at the food court of the Melrose Trading Post or under a tent at Coachella, Alex and Alan Morales' Civil Coffee has been popping up around L.A. in one form or another for nearly three years. The Morales' dream of a brick-and-mortar to call their own will finally become reality when the Civil Coffee shop opens on Figueroa Street in Highland Park tomorrow.

Civil sources beans from two of Portland's most well-respected high-end roasters: Coava and Heart. A notoriously expensive (and pretty) La Marzocco espresso machine will produce the espressos and cappuccinos, as well as Italianos, which are Americanos with less water. Food will come from Highland Park catering company Room Forty and will include quiche, house-made muesli, toasts, sandwiches, salads and pastries.

When the Morales brothers decided to pursue coffee full-time, they went to Tyler Wells at Handsome Roasters, for whom they worked in community development and production. Today, Wells is a consultant on the Civil team.

Like other Wells-influenced projects (Handsome and now Blacktop), Civil is focused on community first. Its spacious 1,500-square-foot space was designed by Highland Park local Charisse Cardenas. The walnut-and-mirror coffee bar was built low to create an open, accessible feel.

Credit: David Maziarz

Credit: David Maziarz

“We want to be very approachable, hence the name 'Civil,'” Alex Morales says. “We care most about the experience as a whole. It's not just the coffee, it's how you feel when you leave.” 

Tomorrow, to celebrate Civil's grand opening, the shop will be serving a free companion cup of brewed coffee with every drink order. Hours are 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

5629 N. Figueroa St., Highland Park; civil-coffee.com.

LA Weekly