The Coffee Roasters In The Billionaire Neighborhood

The Brentwood Los Angeles, an upper-class neighborhood right by the beautiful Santa Monica Beach and Pacific Coast Highway, has no more than 35 thousands population, but attracts two strong unique roaster brands housing their residences there. So, what's their business objectives there? And how do they operate differently to acquire and retain their customers? Without further ado, below is my interpretation. Introduce you a familiar face now in worldwide, Blue Bottle Coffee, and a lesser known name, Caffe Luxxe.

Both roasters are operating in the cozy old town of the Brentwood. On the day I visited, the temperature was up to 37˚C+ in the Inland Empire. But, it's 10˚C cooler by the ocean side. The fresh ocean breeze kept me chill. Even walking under the bright sunny day, you won't even acknowledge the deadly heatwave is going on. Just perfect to enjoy a delightful coffee.

The Brentwood Country Mart is about 15-20mins drive away from the Freeway 10 or the California Incline exit on the Pacific Coast Highway. In between two choices, I would recommend the latter bc the beautiful scenery of Santa Monica Beach and Pacific Coast line can be too sighted. Two birds in one stone.

Caffe Luxxe was founded by two corporate executives quitted their day job in 2006 to pursue their dream of building a local neighborhood business. In 2008, their first retail location was opened at the two-story Barry Building, built in 1951 and designed by architect Milton Caughey, in the Brentwood downtown, then their business gained substantial traction to open their 2nd retail in the Brentwood Country Mart, a historic site retained its original architecture since 1948. Following that success, three more caffes were opened in Santa Monica, Malibu and Pacific Palisades. And a 6th caffe in Montecito is coming soon. With all these achievements, no doubt their brand name has been deeply established among the Brentwood's local neighborhood and the community in the Santa Monica area, and even the coffee tracers like me. Besides the recognition locally, they have, as well, built a brand name and driven traffic on the Instagram with 7.4+ followers. Among all the followers, it doesn't lack of baristas, roasters and coffee community activists.

Upon opening the door and stepping inside the caffe, the artsy and historical design can be immediately ascertained my attention. It decorated like a local family mart offering not only roasted coffee beans and organic pastries but olive oils, vinegars, fruit jams, hand soap & cream, greeting cards and their branded merchandises. Behind the bar, there were the comprehensive menus with coffee and teas offered. The thing got my most attention was the "Locally Roasted Coffee" picture hanging on the right hand side of the store. Notify every customers that their mission is to support the neighborhood with freshly roasted coffee. I was genuinely greeted by the baristas and helped on my latte order. Sitting on the high chair by the bench and the cup of delightful latte was frothy and rich of aroma flavor.

Whilst visiting the Brentwood Country Mart, there's no reason not to visit the Blue Bottle Coffee only 50ft away. So, walked by the Trading Post and reaching over to the Brentwood Town Center.

Outside the Blue Bottle, the open patio has a few tables allowed customers to enjoy the Pacific Ocean breezes from the close by Santa Monica Beach and the California sunshine. The recognizable brand logo was right above the storefront, which you just can't miss. Comparing to all other Blue Bottle I prior visited, this store size is relatively small, probably accommodating the small town population in Brentwood. To me, this is also a sign that this company is shifting its strategy from focusing its business development in metropolitans to diversifying to the small towns for avoiding a direct competition with its heavy-weight rivals like Starbucks. Inside, there goes the Blue Bottle's signature chic, contemporary interior design. Even the store's footprint is comparably small, but they are still able to fit a lot of their branded merchandises like the V60 and chemex, and a fridge housing the icy drinks for customers. But, to me, their menu is a bit small in comparing with other stores they have. If you don't see what you like on the menu, you probably have to ask their baristas for the availability. Just like me, I'd to ask abt the origin of the cold brew bc it didn't state on the menu. Appealingly, the design theme of Blue Bottle is attempting to attract younger demographic of the Brentwood community than the elder customers served by the Caffe Luxxe.

To a coffee tracer like me, I would prefer having a cup of locally roasted coffee fr the Caffe Luxxe than the Blue Bottle. Simply bc the Blue Bottle is now just another coffee chainstores like Starbucks, and I can easily access whenever I visited the DTLA or other popular spots.

Side story: The "Bird"

During my visit to the westside, I see hundreds of scooters parking or laying around on the pavement of big boulevards and small alleys. Many youngsters ride the scooters freely on the street like a bird. I foresee this new form of "ride sharing" wl create an environmental problem, traffic conjunction and ultimately become trashes in the junkyard like those horrified graveyard pictures we see have piles and piles of ride sharing bicycles mountains in China. To me, I couldn't see what exact problem this new form of transportation is trying to solve. Furthermore, it's inevitable to evade the challenge of tracking, recharging, repairing and recycling the scooters from all over the places. By nature, the Americans are lack of discipline to protect the property does not belong to them. At the end, the City Council will step in and legislate to prevent the turning into a public hazard. And the Bird'll no longer "fly".

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CAFFE LUXXE | BRENTWOOD, CA

Products Score: 80 Service Score: 75 Store Score: 85

Final {verdict}: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4/5

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BLUE BOTTLE | BRENTWOOD, CA

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

Final {verdict}: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4/5

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