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Is Bigger The Better?

This is a popular question among many: "Is Bigger the Better?".

We're all living in a society today assumed that the bigger the size is more cost value you've earned. Since youth, we've all as well being educated - "The More The Better" - repeatedly in that same principle.

But, Is it really? Let's find out.

Hopper & Burr | Santa Ana, CA

Products Score: 70 Service Score: 80 Store Score: 70

Final {verdict}: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 3/5


Back in 2016, I learned their name from social media (forgot from where) and drove from my apartment in Diamond Bar to Santa Ana for a visit. It's a short ride. Parked on the street outside their door instead of the public parking building around the corner. Took right noticed was they shared their retail space (Pop-up store) with a diner called "Little Sparrow" from the door sign. By the way, I like that diner's name a lot. Pushed open the door and stepped inside from the rain. Its interior design and decorations were immediately attracted my eyeballs and I reflexively picked up my iPhone to snap photos on every inch as possible. Everything inside was very well refined. The long, long mirror illustrated the reflection of the entire floor on the dark grey wall, and as well, cast the sunlight from outside back into the room; The withered tree branches stretched out like a pair of wings of an angel above the mirror. At the very corner, the wall was painted of a blackbird flying toward the branches of green leaves and returning back to the white cage physically hung down from the ceiling. A peaceful scenery naturally imprinted into your mind. To complete that picture, the seating branch beneath the mirror was padded with fiber in the leave pattern too. The drop-down spotlights from the black colored ceiling provided sufficient lighting to the room, as well created a warm, cozy atmosphere. Very earthy, organic, and artistic. The little white tiles floor well matched with the wooden furniture. The white wooden bar top was surrounded by the dark grey tiles; the same color was painted on the wall behind, which populated with mirrors in different shapes and sizes framed like a beautiful picture, immersed the window and door between the kitchen altogether to form an exclusive art piece like a masterpiece could only be seen in the art museum. On the left side of the coffee bar was a steel construction bar labeled with their logo and service hours. On the very right side, there's a tall chalkboard presenting their simple food menu. Long grey curtains dropped down from the ceiling in both sides like a theater stage. All your focuses were directed to the coffee operation behind the bar. The latte was served on the wood tray engraved with their triangular logo. Frothy and winey. Besides that, cinnamon bread was also my choice on that day. Soft but crunchy. Gridded sugar gave a perfect touch of sweet to the delight. In general, it's a memorable experience. Certainly, the good vibe added a few more points to the coffee.

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Now, moved to the new location, which is only 100ft away from the original space, on the 4th St in the Santa Ana’s Artists Village. For whatever reason happened to cause them moving out from the designer retail space (The "Little Sparrow" is now renamed to the "MIX"), I assume it's not much most of the customers would care. The matter is they now operate in a new spot with 2X space. But is it bigger the better? From multiple articles by the local community's media, I learned that their new design language is pursuing simplicity and openness. Therefore, in contrarily, you won't see much decoration or design in the new store. Once you stepped inside the store, you'll be welcomed by a de-brand "La Marazocco" espresso machine and coffee grinder - A bare minimal. The floor is painted over by concrete and pretty much the only color you'll see in the store is pure white, including the high metal chairs. On the wall shelves, there're some coffee beans from other roasters displayed. Pretty much it! As usual, ordered a cup of latte to test. You may notice in one of my photos, next to the twin single cup undercounter coffee brewer, was an overspilled latte, which was supposedly my order, was poured by Severson - the owner who worked years at Portola Coffee Lab. So, he fixed the second one to fill my order. This time, my cup was only served on a plain white plate without their signature wooden tray, which has disappointed me the most in this visit. I set myself at the corner by the entrance facing the windows. Accidentally, a collection of comic books was found hiding in the construction bar. Grabbed the "Batman" to read thru the time I was drinking my latte. The cup was frothy as seen in the picture and tasted earthy, but the experience was saddened. Yes, even though there are a few student customers in the store, but I felt a sense of emptiness.

If they were first designed and constructed their experience in simplicity and openness, repeated customers wouldn't have any difficulty to adopt their new environment. But now, the dynamic of their customer experience is dramatically shifted, I see they would have to rebuild their customer base from the basic.


Thanks for reading! :) Please comment and press ⭐️ below if you liked this article. Your responses would help me to improve the quality of content and other readers to better explore.


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