File photo by Asia Morris from Steelhead Coffee.
In 2016 the Long Beach Coffee Club began carving out a space for coffee lovers to attend workshops, talks, field trips and more to learn about the energy-giving, locally lauded beverage. Earlier this month, the club released a list of top coffee shops to check out around town.
The shops were selected based on two main criteria, whether the shop caters to the needs of its specific neighborhood (as in creating a space for residents to feel welcome) and whether the owners make local coffee accessible.
“This is a hard one because we all have different ideas of what good coffee is,” said the club’s founder, Matthew Torres. “To me good coffee is sustainable, helps the farmers, and is roasted at a medium profile. To my dad (a longshoremen) he loves bold, dark, strong coffee. Who’s right? Both of us. The second part of this is if the shop is focusing on local coffee roasting or someone who isn’t ‘corporate’.”
You can check out the Top Coffee Shops in Long Beach 2018 list here.
The Long Beach Coffee Club was born after Torres, a Tucson native, paid a visit to Lord Windsor Coffee in the Alamitos Beach neighborhood and realized “I didn’t need to add a bunch of stuff to my coffee” for it to taste great. From there he tried to learn as much as possible about the magical bean’s properties, but felt he was missing a sense of community in his endeavor.
“I remembered a website called Meetup and thought maybe people would be down to meet up and talk coffee,” Torres said. “Two years later we are at 350 members and growing. Now our main focus is consumer coffee education around Southern California.”
Torres said one goal is to create a “third place” wherever the club visits, based on sociologist Ray Oldenburg’s “Celebrating the Third Place” where he argues the importance of spaces such as coffeehouses, pubs, main streets and even post offices as neutral ground where people can gather and interact outside of home and work.
“Goal two would be teaching coffee workshops,” Torres said about the club’s plans for 2018. “Our members voted and they wanted to learn how to home roast coffee and how to do latte art. So, that’s where we will focus to start.”