Thursday, April 24, 2014

Trystero Coffee: Atwater's Own Garage Roaster

There's something specific I hope to celebrate with this blog.  Well, it's a few things, but they swirl together, and to me, they're pretty inextricable.  It's what drives my obsession with outdoor spaces (why, oh why, can't we have plazas?) and motivates me to walk or take the train. It's the spirit of having a great idea, starting where you are, and using what you have to make a little magic happen.  It's that feeling you get when an opera slowly materializes around you as you walk through Union Station.  It's what attracted me to the rustlings around Frogtown and the LA River, it's the force that pushed me to organize five years of amazing bake sales, raising tens of thousands of dollars for charity and bringing an entire city together over homemade whoopie pies.  Really, it's the very thing I love the most about living on the east side.  I talk about food here, but I do so because food brings people together.  It comes down to community, and the glimmers of light that grow when people decide to bring something special to the table.

So, I'm excited about today's post, because the topic exemplifies this magical thing, maybe more than anything I've ever written about here.  Plus, this goodness I'm talking about is being generated by coffee!  After my own heart.  A few months back, I discovered Trystero Coffee:  basically a guy in Atwater Village, roasting coffee in his garage, delivering by bicycle.  Already an amazing story, right?

the esteemed roaster
Then, I tasted the coffee.  I'll just leave this here:  The city's best coffee comes from a garage in Atwater Village.  I've now tried several varieties, and across the board, coffee made from Greg Thomas's garage-roasted beans is never bitter, always rich, and balanced just right.

But there's more to Trystero than just great coffee.  Most Saturdays, Greg opens up the garage to visitors, so I went to say hello and pick up my beans in person this weekend.  He's set up the modest space like a bohemian living room: between unfinished wood walls decorated with eclectic posters and clippings, mismatched chairs and and a funky old couch make for a welcoming place to meet your neighbors over a smooth cup of joe.  And Greg creates a warm vibe between strangers -- shaking your hand as you come in, and introducing everyone to each by name.  It's pretty special.

Hospitality reigns in the Trystero garage: after we'd been sitting for a bit, Greg turned from the espresso machine and said with a smile, "Can I make you a cappuccino?"  Uh, yes.  Not surprisingly, it was awesome.  Sweet without sugar, and again, perfectly balanced.
a perfect cappuccino

On this particular day, Trystero's ad-hoc coffeehouse was host to some community organizing.  Greg had opened up the garage to a couple Atwater residents collecting signatures in favor of adding a pedestrian path to the nearby Glendale-Hyperion bridge.  I'd walked the bridge that morning to get to Trystero, and it's utterly treacherous for pedestrians in its current state (though the view of the LA River from the bridge is pretty sweet).  So, petitions were signed, and the morning's coffee klatch talked about the project, about the neighborhood, about great bars and the Portlandification of Los Angeles.

treacherous bridge, beautiful view

And in addition to coffee, Greg uses the Trystero website to organize small events surrounding other passions:  bicycle rides, loud fun music, analog photography,  good beer, and camping with friends.  So much goodness.

So, in about an hour's time, a small group of strangers shared some knowledge and some warm hospitality, worked towards improving the neighborhood, and created a major spark of community.  All because a guy decided to do a little something great.  It's amazing what can happen over an exceptional cup of coffee.

bridge still treacherous, view still beautiful

Trystero Coffee is at 2974 Glendale Blvd.  Check the website for ordering details and delivery schedule.

[Incidentally, if you're interested in signing the Hyperion Bridge petition, let me know!]

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