Navigate your way through downtown’s mix of jewelry marts, parking structures, fabric warehouses, and construction sites towards the fashion district and you’ll find Verve Coffee Roasters on the fringe, standing proud at the Spring Street / Main Street split. In an improbable location, situated in a standalone, brick-front building between two parking lots–one of which we use everyday–Verve has made an indelible mark on the ever changing DTLA landscape. Walk into our office on any given day and you’ll find that at least half of us have a takeaway cup emblazoned with a black and blue “V” sitting on our desk. Some days we’ll have two (looking at you, Monday) – a cappuccino for the morning and a cold brew for those sluggish after lunch hours. Odds are if you happen to be there around 9:30 am, you’ll see us, most likely dressed the same (it’s not a uniform, it just happens) and acting surprised to see one another– as if it’s shocking to anyone.
When we think about why we love Verve so much, it’s hard to name just one reason. First and foremost, the space is amazing; designed by Studio Mai and made famous by LA’s most popular Instagrammers, all of whom flocked to the location upon opening (and continue to do so, years later). We particularly love that the lush plant wall and outdoor seating provides us with a little urban oasis; an escape from the masses of construction, noise, and craze that the streets of downtown are so famous for. We often use Verve as a satellite location, taking advantage of the expansive indoor seating area to host meetings, interviews, and brainstorm sessions. We seek refuge in the 15 minutes of calming alone time “I’m running down to Verve!” affords us, we people watch, and sometimes yes, even we take the odd picture of our latte art in front of the plant wall.
Spend 20 minutes– neigh, 5 minutes, in this shop and you’ll soon realize that we aren’t the only ones who feel this way. It’s as if Verve is a magnet for all of DTLA’s up and coming creatives. While we’re busy discussing designs and meeting with hopeful new team members, the table next to us is planning the launch of their retail space, working on a new app, or forecasting the next big thing. While your drink is being prepared, flip through the various books and magazines, pick up an Aesop hand cream, and take a look at your surroundings to really absorb the creativity in the environment; it’s hard not to.
For us, it’s also incredibly convenient, with the DTLA shop located between our parking lot and studio, not stopping in daily requires some serious willpower (which none of us have). It’s helpful for those mornings when you just don’t have time, when you don’t want to make time, when your beans have gone stale (we’re just making excuses at this point); it is perfect for a midday pick-me-up, grabbing a pastry when you’ve forgotten to eat breakfast– really, we’d be caffeine deprived and wasting away if it weren’t for our neighborhood staple.
Most importantly, the coffee is fantastic and the company supports that at every stage. Verve operates by a values-driven process they have coined the Farm Level Initiative, creating a direct trade between the farm (where the bean is grown) and the street (where the bean is brewed). They are a transparent, direct-to-consumer style coffee company, which hits pretty close to home for us.
Verve Coffee Roasters and the DTLA Verve team are part of what makes us proud to be members of the ever-shifting Downtown Los Angeles community. We’re happy to consider them an everyday essential, and we’ll see you there tomorrow morning.
(all images by Kimberly Molina for Vrai & Oro)