As many of you know by now, Handsome Coffee Roasters at 582 Mateo in the Arts District will change over into Los Angeles’ base of operations for Blue Bottle Coffee this week. This will effectively be the Handsome brand’s sunset. Moments of great change are usually prime fodder for introspection, and this one is certainly no different. It’s strange how easy it is to get wrapped up in things – moving so quickly that when you finally take a second to slow down, lift up your head and look around, you can be incredibly surprised at where you are.
For me, this is certainly one of those moments.
Tyler Wells, Chris Owens and I started Handsome with a vision that arguably was only half-formed at its inception. We knew we wanted a simple menu, amazing coffee and to be nice to people, but outside of that, it was pretty much a blank canvas. Since 2011, that canvas was colored by the hands of many more people than just us three: the team at Creative Space, who knew right where this little gem was tucked away at in the Arts District. Our friends at Ptarmak, who helped us become the company we wanted to be. Nathanael Balon, of WoodSmithe, who took a shell of a space and turned it into a physical manifestation of a shared dream. And my dear friend Diana, who helped make sure our message was clear and true.
These are the friends who became co-workers, the co-workers who became family, and the family that helped us do so many things we once thought impossible. There were so many good people along the way that made Handsome the company it was. They are an essential part of all the memories we now cherish so dearly. Within just three years, that whole team contributed to the conversation of specialty coffee in ways that hadn’t happened before. In that same window of time, we were a big part of one neighborhood’s growth – a neighborhood that, in my opinion, is a crucial piece of one of the most exciting cities of our time.
It was an incredible honor to embark on that journey with all of you – a journey that takes an exciting new turn this week. I will forever be grateful to every guest that walked though those doors and every co-worker who labored alongside me. More than a coffee company and more than a brand, Handsome was a collection of amazing individuals who were able to share a vision of hospitality and sincerity with everyone they met.
I, along with so many of the same folks who made Handsome great, am honored and excited to start this next chapter of sharing Blue Bottle with L.A. As we approach the transition, we’re all busy settling into new roles here: I’ve stepped into a role as the company’s Director of Training; Charlie Habegger, Handsome’s head of coffee, has joined Blue Bottle’s green coffee buying team; and Kristine Chong, who helped throw so many incredible Handsome events, is now leading events nationwide for Blue Bottle. That’s not all, either. Our roasters, baristas, wholesale department and production crew are all coming along - and looking forward to the next step. I’m thrilled to be a part of this new family, to reach for new goals, and to tackle new struggles.
Most of all though, I look forward to the chance for my team, our new friends and myself to serve all of you and provide an amazing experience every time you step through our door.