John and Rany Aguirre have opened up their third Steelhead Coffee location in Bluff Park after opening their flagship location in Cal Heights over five years ago and a second location inside Steelcraft in Bixby Knolls three years ago.
Taking over a former sandwich shop—it was a bank before that; the Aguirres use the old vault as storage space—the move marks further growth for the shop and solidifies the pair as an essential part of Long Beach’s coffee scene.
That scene has expanded over the past decade, with Long Beach seeing an explosion of third-wave coffee that has managed to distinguish itself from the Los Angeles scene.
Los Angeles, in many cases, has either shrunk or flat-out pushed out locally based roasters and shops—we still miss you, Handsome Coffee—to instead welcome massive third-wave brands like Blue Bottle (bought by Nestlé), Stumptown (acquired by Peet’s Coffee), and Intelligenstia (also Peet’s Coffee).
Meanwhile, Long Beach has harvested and celebrated its local roasters—Lord Windsor, the city’s first, third-wave roaster has been followed by Rose Park, Recreational and Black Ring Coffee; all of them churning out beans with success—while also celebrating its local shops that procure beans but don’t roast: new school shops like Steelhead, Wolf’s Brew, and Confidential Coffee sit side-by-side with OGs like Portfolio, Viento y Agua, and The Library, just a few steps away from the new Steelhead location.
And, of course, Polly’s Gourmet Coffee has been producing classic European roasts since 1976.
(Though, admittedly, West Long Beach, in the never-ending tale of West Long Beach, has been entirely ignored by the coffee scene while the northside finally scored Black Ring Coffee last year.)
While there could very well be a coffee saturation point in Long Beach—the newfound love of cold brew has led to it being canned in marketplaces, while latte art no longer holds the wonder it once did—this location is a smart move by the Aguirres. This area of Belmont Heights and Bluff Park has always thrived on being walkable and, in that sense, it is limited in accessing this type and quality of coffee. The nearby Library and kinda-nearby Déjà Brew both serve run-of-the-mill brew, which makes the new Steelhead location ideal.
Steelhead in Bluff Park is located at 3350 E. Broadway.
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