Cafecito Organico joins Eagle Rock’s multitude of coffee shops as the new, socially conscious and cultured kid on the block. But like any new kid, the artisan coffee roaster is struggling to incorporate itself in the neighborhood and establish a relationship with the local community.
The cafe chain expanded from a farmer’s market stand in 2010 to permanent locations in Malibu, Costa Mesa, Burbank, Silver Lake and Venice. As a shop carrying such a wide variety of espresso beans from exotic origins and bearing the word “organic” in its name, the shop could be a fitting addition to the increasing gentrification of Eagle Rock. In reality, Cafecito Organico lacks the authenticity and warmth that characterizes many local businesses.
The menu is very simple. It is small and lists only basic, familiar drinks under the espresso section – latte, americano, mocha – but the coffee section alone is broken up into brew of the day, manual brew and cold brew coffee. A chalkboard by the register explains the aroma, acidity, flavor, body and finish of the brew of the day, as well as the different roasts and characteristics of the options offered for manual brew. LaPalma, for example, is a roast made from Colombian beans and has a sweet chocolate aroma, medium juicy body and lingering finish. The board describes the roast from Honduras, on the other hand, as having an earthly lemon zest flavor and a crisp finish.
Cafecito Organico focuses on pure coffee without mixing its artisan roasts with any flavored syrup combinations. Its specialty coffee section includes only two drinks: a “cafecito,” and a “global warming,” both of which consist solely of espresso or cold brew, a milk of choice and raw cane juice. When a patron walks in and orders a mocha, the barista clarifies that their version uses raw organic cacao rather than chocolate syrup and therefore is not sweetened. For those that do prefer some sweetener, the condiment bar includes bottles of agave, simple syrup, molasses and honey.
At this point, Cafecito Organico attracts customers who are on-the-go rather than those who work on their laptops or meet with friends for a drink, especially considering the complicated nature of the coffee flavors. It is missing the intimate and familiar quality of many local businesses that keeps customers coming back. Although brief glimpses of friendliness and community show when the next-door Domino’s driver delivers a pizza to the baristas, the coffee shop otherwise feels cold and sterile. Furthermore, the information offered up by the baristas sounds rehearsed, and the Top 40 music confusingly juxtaposes the artisanal selections.
With Wi-Fi and plenty of seating, the cafe has the potential to be a refuge for espresso aficionados from the other bustling Eagle Rock coffee shops. Casual cafe-goers who prize caffeine over fancy flavors should skip this new one and stick to the other cafes in the neighborhood. Cafecito Organico only carries a limited selection of vegan pastries, so alternatives with more substantial food options include Highland Cafe, Four Cafe or Swork. Those craving a sweeter fix should turn to Cafe de Leche and their espresso con horchata.
Cafecito Organico is located at 1757 Colorado Blvd, Los Angeles.