Valentine’s Day Dinner @ Intellipasadena

Join us at our Pasadena cafe for a truly special night. We are hosting a Valentine’s pairing dinner featuring Habit wines and the music of Formalist String Quartet. This will be a specially curated private evening that you won’t want to miss!

Tuesday, February 14th.
$95 / Seat
Reservations: 626.578.1270

The menu

The menu

Santuario Dinner Menu Revealed

We’re all sold out, but here’s what things are looking like for tomorrow night. Should be something special.Santuario Dinner
(Click for a larger view)

A Special Night

Santuario EventSantuario Event

Its no secret that our Pasadena Cafe has undertaken the serious task of creating a marriage of coffee, delicious and well presented food and beer and wine in such a manor as to shed light on the culinary possibilities and dynamic nature of our favorite beverage. On Friday, November 19th, we’re going to crank the whole concept up to 11 when we offer an 8 course tasting menu based off 8 extremely rare coffee varietals from one farm.

The farm is Finca Santuario – perhaps the most progressive farm we’ve ever worked with. Camilo Merizalde, the proprietor of the farm, initially bought the land in 2000 – at that point it was nearly barren and had been used for cattle grazing.

Finca Santuario

Perched at elevations reaching 2000m and stretching across 135 hectares (Only 60 of which are used for coffee production), Finca Santuario is, in the words of Coffee Buyer Geoff Watts, a “dream farm, built by design and based on the best information available”. Camilo has approached his farm with architectural precision, setting aside many small plots of land to cultivate specific, low yielding varietals of coffee. He treats each specific small plot with the exact attention it requires and the care of a man who is truly in love with his work. Before planting anything, Camilo traveled the World consulting with the best agronomists, farmers and coffee experts he could find. What we have now is a direct result of all that study.

Aside from the tremendous detail that went into assembling the farm, there is also the simple fact that nature provided a wonderful canvas for Camilo’s vision. The farm is located in the Cauca department of Colombia, close to the equator and at extraordinary elevation, limiting yield and producing denser cherries. Large diurnal temperature swings allow for enhanced sugar production due to the way the trees produce and store energy. The cool temperatures and elevation allow for very long fermentation times, enhancing complexity and flavor.

Camilo planted his trees with 2m of space in either direction and shaded by inidigenous species (such as guava trees) that contribute to strong biodiversity and sustainablility. Additionally, Camilo planted only low yielding, heirloom coffees that are fussier and harder to cultivate than typical hybrids found through South and Central America. Varietals such as Bourbon Pointu, Mokka, Geisha, Pache, Typica, Maragogipe and Yellow Bourbon comprise the farm and are each separated by plot, harvested and tracked by microlot and harvest day, and datalogged to provide information to improve harvests for the next year.

As if that weren’t spectacular enough, there is a tiny corner of Camilo’s farm dedicated to producing extremely small quantities of rare, strange and long since forgotten coffee varieties. This section, which Camilo refers to as his “Coffee Garden”, is home to over a dozen different types of trees yielding extremely low quantities of incredible coffees. Some of the coffees in this garden yield under 20lbs of annual total harvest. The experience of some these coffee is truly special and unique, but sadly there simply is not enough to offer to our customers in any broad manner.

What makes tasting the coffees from this garden so special, aside from the stunning cup quality yielded by many of them, is tasting how the DNA of each individual variety has such a staggering impact in the cup. These coffees all come from the same plot and are subjected to essentially the same conditions, but show incredible diversity of flavor.

Because we are unable to release this coffee, we thought it only fitting to invite Sr. Merizalde himself to pay us a visit and share them with a small group of people.

Preparing the food will be Heirloom LA’s Matthew Poley. In collaboration with Intelligentsia, Matthew will be creating dishes based on the distinct flavors of each individual coffee.

Matthew Poley's Jidori Chicken Roulade

Matthew Kaner of Bar Covell will present the wines, also selected to highlight the characteristics of the coffee. All coffee brewing will be overseen by current World Barista Champion Michael Phillips.

$95 includes food, wine and coffee. Meet and greet begins at 7pm, with dinner at 8pm following a brief presentation by Camilo. All attendees will also leave with a bag of coffee from the farm.

Give us a call, Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm, to reserve a seat at this special dinner. Our number is 323-982-8878.


So, as many of you may know, we’ve finally opened up our latest outpost in Old Pasadena on Colorado Blvd and its going very well! Today represents day 3 and, more importantly, the day of our grand opening party!
Party Time!
In the meanwhile, take a moment to check out some of the reviews we’ve received in the two short days the new cafe has been open :

Gourmet Pigs
Squid Ink
John Rabe
NBC Los Angeles

IntelliVenice & Pablove: Join Us Tomorrow @ 7p and Support a Worthy Cause


On June 3rd at 7:00pm, Intelligentsia Coffee in Venice, CA will host an evening to benefit The Pablove Foundation.  The night will kick off with live music from the band Eulogies and follow with KCRW DJ Tom Schnabel.

The purpose of the event is to raise awareness about pediatric cancer and The Pablove Foundation’s role in supporting families with children who suffer from the disease.  Co-founders Jeff Castelaz and Jo Ann Thrailkill started Pablove when their son, Pablo, was diagnosed with Wilms’ Tumor.  Today, The Pablove Foundation fights on in Pablo’s memory, to help other families faced with the same challenges.  The organization’s mission is to fund pediatric cancer research and advances in treatment, educate and empower cancer families, and improve the quality of life for children living with cancer through hospital play, music and arts programs.

Founded in 1995, Intelligentsia roasts award-winning coffee in both Chicago and Los Angeles.  Their coffee can be found at Intelligentsia coffeebars in both cities and at cafes, restaurants and markets throughout the United States.

According to Founder/CEO Doug Zell, “All of us at Intelligentsia are honored to be working with The Pablove Foundation and to help in some small way with their deeply meaningful work.  It’s hard to imagine where any one of us would begin to offer help to those who are experiencing the dire,

life-changing effects of cancer.  We’re proud of the great work The Pablove Foundation does: providing comfort and support to the people who matter most, our children.  I’ll say “our children” because a family struggling with cancer can be any family – mine, yours, any family.”

The Los Angeles-based quartet Eulogies is part of the Dangerbird Records family and consists of Peter Walker – guitar and vocals, Garrett Deloian – bass, Drew Phillips – guitar and organ, and Chris Reynolds – drums. This band has carved out a niche in the indie-pop world and has toured with bands such as The Dears, Band of Horses and Land of Talk.  Says Walker, “We’re all so very human. We possess a never-ending capacity for love, but we get nervous, we get lazy, we take each other for granted. We save sentiments for some other time. By then maybe it’s too late—maybe the object of your emotion has left your life for good.”  These values will be expressed in a live set of rock to benefit Pablove and will provide a perfect anchor for the evening.

Tom Schnabel is a music program host on KCRW.  During his tenure as Music Director (l979-1990), KCRW grew from an obscure college station to become the biggest public station in the U.S., serving as an influential taste-maker for new and unusual music. Tom developed the eclectic music format and introduced World Music to public radio.

Everyone attending the event will have the opportunity to donate, purchase Pablove merchandise, and sign up for future Pablove volunteer opportunities.  A $10 suggested donation will be requested at the door.  All proceeds go to The Pablove Foundation.

Back to Back: Congrats to Mike Phillips!


Mike Phillips — of the Chicago Intelligentsia crew –  is now a two-time US Champion. Hats off, sir. Devin Pedde of Silverlake Coffeebar notches a 3rd place finish. Full coverage continues here. Good luck in London, Mike!

USBC Live Coverage Link


Live bloggin’ via

WRBC Schedule: Friday and Saturday

So the Western Regionals of the US Barista Championship begin today. And Intelli.LA has plenty of folks in the game…

Ryan Willbur (Silver Lake) is opening up the WRBC 2010 at 11:15 PST
with Gabe Combs (Venice) going on at 1:10 PST.
Tomorrow is Nicole Mournian (Venice) at 12:30 PST
and Devin Pedde (Silver Lake) at 3:20 PST.

You can stream it here for your viewing pleasure.

Doug Zell: Roasters Should Print Harvest Dates on Bags


“I challenge all of the industry to move from just listing roast dates somewhere on your bags (you are doing this, right?) to including the harvest month(s) and year for all of your single origin offerings. We will begin to do so companywide for coffee roasted Monday, February 8th, 2010 and thereafter. It’s high time we tighten the deadline from harvest into our customer’s cup. Are you in or out?”

‘Tis the season. Read the full post on “Zell Speaks” here.

Watts on the Next Decade

Below, a repost from the blog of Geoff Watts’ hopes for the next decade. A really great read.


A new decade is arrived. Are you ready for it? Is the world of Specialty Coffee ready for it?

Just to help ease the transition I put together a little list of things to look forward to in coffee, along with some things I hope get left behind as artifacts, as we flip the pages of the calendar.

Things I hope become historical footnotes:

- The near-fanatical obsession with dry-processed coffees. Increased risk for the farmer + significant loss of varietal/terroir nuance in the cup + likelihood of current trend reversing at some point = probably not the kind of coffee we want to promote.

- The rapid proliferation of poor-tasting varietals. During the last couple of decades, various Catimor types have overtaken coffee fields worldwide. While there is good reason in some cases, it has nevertheless meant a measurable loss in quality potential over 90% of the time. There are surely better options.

- Super-sizing it. Got to get rid of the big urns. At our own coffeebars, we killed the 20 oz size and it caused a bit of a stir. But it was a good decision; another step in the noble pursuit of quality over all else. Single-cup, brewed-to-order coffee should become the new standard for those seeking a great coffee experience.

- Blind devotion to certification bodies. Don’t get me wrong, most existing coffee certifications have some kind of purpose and some role to play in the coffee world. But they often fall way short of delivering the intended benefits to either producers or consumers. Like all things in life, they ought to be treated with some scrutiny and expected to perform as advertised.

Continue reading ‘Watts on the Next Decade’