To celebrate the opening of their flagship L.A. shop, the Handsome Coffee Roasters talk biking, beans and the perfect cup of Joe.
As if the name didn’t give it away, the three gentlemen behind Handsome Coffee Roasters are easy on the eyes and know how to make a smooth cup of Joe. What’s a little less obvious, however, is that research repeatedly shows that consuming caffeine (artisanally roasted or otherwise) before exercise slows fatigue and can improve your mood during and after a session.
Fitness fanatics all, the dapper triad is composed of Tyler Wells, CEO and Intelligentsia alum; Chris Owens, roaster who is touted as being the best in America, and Michael Phillips, co-founder and 2010 World Champion Barista. We asked the entrepreneurs, who launched their flagship coffee shop in L.A.’s art district this week (with a New York outpost not far behind), to share with us what to look for in a cup, their favorite coffee accessories and how they put their coffee-fueled energy to use.
Q: What makes a good a cup of coffee?
Michael: I always look for a clean, sweet and balanced cup. If there is a problem with the coffee itself, how it was roasted, or any issues with preparation, then it’s difficult for a cup to have these qualities all together.
Chris: Look for something that excites you! I like coffees that are fruit-forward with a nice balance of juicy sweetness and acidity.
Q: What ingredients do you need to make the perfect cup of coffee?
Chris: You need great coffee, good water, a good grinder and a solid recipe for your brewer. Pretty simple.
Q: Michael, what are the top five coffee accoutrements every serious coffee-addict should have in their home?
1. First and foremost is a coffee grinder (I like Baratza's Burr style). Being able to grind fresh with such a high quality and consistency does more than anything to make my home coffee game top notch.
2. A Technivorm coffee maker, which is reminiscent of your average home machine but with all of the flaws fixed. Temperature stability, flow rate control, good carafe ... hands down the best bang for your buck for people not wanting to do a more intensive brewing process.
3. An AeroPress. It’s a style of brewer that is very durable and makes small cups fairly quickly. An absolute must in my travel kit.
4. A Tamper. This is what you use to pack down the coffee grounds when you are making espresso. I am a fan of beautiful yet high functioning tools, and my tamper is just that. The weight and the height are perfect fit for me.
5. A favorite mug. Mine is an old-school, fairly plain style but there was a matching set of two of them in this lovely soft eggshell blue color, and I have had many great cups and conversations over them. Only one left at this point, but I still have a soft spot for it.
Chris, launching a new business is notoriously all-consuming. How do you stay fit?
I practice a strength and conditioning program that combines olympic weightlifting, sprinting, gymnastics, powerlifting, kettlebell training, plyometrics, rowing and medicine ball training.
Tyler, you ran a bike messenger service before joining HCR. Are you still a biker?
I am. I've given up cutoff Dickies, fixed gears and trucker hats for fancy lycra and carbon fiber bikes. I try to get in a couple of rides a week up the Angeles Crest or in the hills above Pasadena.Michael, you travel the world sourcing the finest beans available. How do you stay in shape when you're jetting all over?