Sunday, May 8, 2011

Therapy through espresso

It provides just the perfect deep and comfortable chair for book reading. An atmosphere that contains dim lighting and smooth conversation, where exotic smells waft through the air and your pallet can travel from Ethiopia to Brazil and then finish in Italy.

In one small building, the arts of multitasking and culinary combinations take place all to the sounds of light music. It is these mini-museums of art and eclectic tastes that sprinkle the world with authentic eateries. A few local ones are Classing Coffee and Coffee Klatch, both bringing top notch service and delectable drinks.

Typically catering too “beatnicks” and students, coffee shops around the world have been stirring up remedies for every person for hundreds of years. Where Starbucks and other mainstream coffee shops provide people with a consistent on-the-go cup of coffee, it is the private cafes that are the real gems. Whether traveling or in an area of expertise, I always flock to these private beauties to satisfy my thirst for this cherished liquid.

Classic Coffee in Glendora, Calif., brings the art of coffee to community gatherings. Known for its open seating for college or bible study groups, this local favorite provides great service with a personal touch.

“The baristas here know how to handle the coffee more than just well,” said general manager Jonathan Lambert. “We cover weeks of training to make sure they know how to make each drink top notch, and they are great at connecting with every face that comes in.”

It began as a child, waking up to the sound of my fathers coffee pot popping and working to get every last drop out of the worn machine. The aroma filled the kitchen streaming with morning light. I would climb up to the wooden table to sit and read the Times with my father. A heritage riddled with deep European culture kept rich Italian espresso and exotic coffees around the house since birth, but it was the tradition that brought me true relaxation.

The quant building set in the heart of the downtown shops is decorated with cherry wood paneling set below olive and gold hues. The ambiance reminds me of a Seattle based coffee shop with industrial rafters and lighting above and bar seating along the large front window. While working behind the bar, the baristas engage in conversation over the European espresso machine. The bakery treats compliment the drinks perfectly; from fresh lemon bars to rich cheesecakes one cannot go wrong.

“We have this fun tea of the month to compliment our regular of the month and many other little things to keep customers excited to come in,” Lambert said.

The cafe is known for the many games that can be checked out and used at their official game nights and tournaments for families or students looking to break away from the books. Classics lattes and mix drinks are creamy and burst with flavor when one dips their straw into this delicious drink. But when it comes to coffee, a place that dips into traditional pour-over brews satisfies the connoisseur’s pallet.

To the east of this Glendora favorite, lies an old winery housing delectable dark roasts of its own. Coffee Klatch in Rancho Cucamonga has created a safe haven deriving from many artistic outlets to take its visitors in to a whole new world. The old winery features pour out of the coffee shop itself. From large wooden beams that craft the rafters above, to the original doors and historical architect throughout.

“It is a little piece of history here, people come to enjoy it as well as create their own living memories,” said Klatch manager Betsy Harlan.

Local artists feature their works across the walls, accenting the oranges and yellows that pull from the rooms decor. Writers gather to channel creative pieces in their journals as they sip on savory dark roasts. Harlan is always looking for poets and writers to showcase their work, as well as participate in weekly readings.

“I have a passion for writing and those who can cultivate that art-form, I people to know they can use that talent here as well, we are not just about music and bands,” said Harlan.

This hidden jewel is what the baristas say a coffee shop should give to people; art, comfortable chairs, a place to express themselves and music. The scene is always inviting, whether it is full to its brim on the nights and weekends to when it is calm in the early afternoons. The cafe screams realism and in that myself and others find relaxation.

“There are no frills here, we are down to earth; from our coffee to our musical and artistic values,” said Harlan.
A regular who goes by Joe says he passes up Starbucks across the street from his house daily to make it to Klatch. For him it is a piece of “home” where the drinks are real and the people are too.

“Klatch is the ‘third place’ for most of our regulars, if they are not at home or work they are with us,” said Harlan.

The smells of espresso hits my nose immediately after I heave open the door. A band plays to its fans who are huddled around the creatively decorated corner, showcasing art and photography from the city. The open bar is streaked with the grain from the wood and wear from regulars elbows as they lean and share their stories with the baristas.

The Klatch employees use the saying, “we do not serve just coffee, it is exceptional.” When coffee goers are looking for a traditional cup, wander off the beaten path and find a hole in the wall, if you can smell the sweet and strong smells of espresso you are off to a good start.

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