A Deluxe Coffee Experience in Santa Monica

Funnel Mill Coffee and cafe
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Having missed my morning coffee before going on an audition, I asked Siri to find a local coffee shop. The closest one, with good reviews, that popped up was Funnel Mill on Broadway Avenue near 10th Street in Santa Monica.

Not knowing what to expect, I found a welcoming, warm entrance. Off to the right from the entrance is a sitting area, with low, wide leather chairs with armrests, mixed in among wooden tables and chairs. The sitting area is separated somewhat from the rest of the shop by curtains.

The main part of the shop is long and narrow, with the coffee prep station on the left, with a dark brown wood bar where patrons can sit and watch their lattes and cappuccinos being prepared. More tables and chair filled the right. And decorating the back wall is a coffee syphon station, with long glass tubes that slowly drips custom coffee for a pricey cup.

Confused by the menu at first (a woman standing next to me was not sure about the menu offerings as well) I ordered a cafe latte ($5.75), sat at the wood counter and watched while the espresso for my latte was carefully pressed, the milk steamed and frothed, and an artful mounding of the foam took place. Watching it being made was perhaps more pleasurable than the drink itself, which was very fine by coffee standards. My standards, anyway.

The Funnel Mill sells and brews what they state on their website as “rare single estates of coffee beans and tea.”

My spinach croissant, was basic. But as I noted, watching the activity and care of those making these coffee delicacies, was more interesting than my fare.

Whether $9 (for single-estate biodynamic syphon brewed coffee) is worth a cup of Joe, is up to the palate of the coffee drinker.

Funnel Mill Address: 930 Broadway, Ste A, Santa Monica, CA 90401

Canoga Park’s Parisian Delight

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Craving a delicious café latte one late Saturday morning, a friend introduced me to a jewel in the middle of Canoga Park.

Pastries by Edie has been located on Sherman Way near Owensmouth for 14 years, but I have never noticed it. Tucked away in a dark recess, it is located directly across from another favorite of mine, Henri’s restaurant  and bar.

Entering the pastry shop and café, tables and chairs are surrounded by dark blue walls on one side and on the other, painted images of Parisians streets. Continue reading “Canoga Park’s Parisian Delight”

Alternatives to Coffee

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I gave up coffee about three months ago without planning to. The three-day headache that resulted from not drinking my daily one or two cups hardened my resolve to stay off coffee, more specifically the caffeine. However, I miss the morning ritual of a hot cup of coffee with the aroma, the cream and sugar, and quite truthfully, the taste of coffee.

So I’ve been looking for a substitute. Tea is not my thing, and I’m hesitant about decaffeinated coffee.

There are several methods in the process to remove caffeine from coffee beans: one in which the beans are soaked in water, which removes the caffeine and the flavoring oils. Ethyl acetate is added to the water and the caffeine binds to the chemical. When the water is heated, the chemical and the caffeine evaporates. The beans are then soaked in the remaining water that now contains only the oils. While ethyl acetate is a naturally occurring substance in fruits (it’s responsible for their aroma), it is considered a “flammable liquid and vapor”  and, in addition to causing irritation of the eyes,  “prolonged or repeated contact causes defatting of the skin with irritation, dryness, and cracking.” (Mayo Clinic).

“Defatting of the skin”? My skin is dry enough already, I’d like to keep some of that moisturizing fat…

So, while realistically drinking what is called “naturally decaffeinated” coffee may not defat my skin and cause other problems, I’d rather be safe than sorry.

There is the Swiss Water process that uses no solvents or chemicals to decaffeinate coffee. The water that beans are soaked in to remove the caffeine processed through a carbon filtering system. This kind of coffee I might try. The prices don’t seem too outrageous, from $16 for a 1 lb. bag of Organic Decaf Peru to $31 for 30 oz. from Jeremiah’s Pick (it’s organic too).

In the meantime, I found in my pantry shelves, from a long ago trade show, a small envelope of Caffeine-Free Herbal Coffee from Teeccino. It’s not really coffee, but a blend of herbs, grains, fruits and nuts that  taste surprisingly close enough to it, and has a dark rich color, like coffee! The flavor I am drinking now, Almond Amaretto, is made with roasted carob, barely, chicory root, dates, almonds, figs and natural Amaretto flavor. The price range is decent as well–a 1 lb. can of its French Roast Herbal Coffee is $13.50.

I’m more used to spending $5 to $7 for a can of supermarket-bought coffee, like Don Francisco’s, but as in my quest to healthier eating, having to pay more for organic produce, I have to consider what’s more important–my health or a new pair of shoes.

 

Sources:

Mayo Clinic

International Coffee Organization

U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Swiss Water