With the Buddytruk app currently in beta testing (and trust me when I say this, it’s well worth the wait), it’s safe to say we’ve been spending quite a few caffeine-fueled nights in and around the office in Santa Monica.
In our quest to perfect the world’s first, and best, Social Hauling mobile application with these late night brainstorming sessions, we’ve become well acquainted with the many Santa Monica-based coffee joints. Sure, the Americano at Starbucks gets the job done and Coffee Bean has some pretty decent pastries, but there is one coffee shop that we want to single out as “The Best Coffee Spot In Los Angeles,” the inimitable Urth Caffé.
With five locations around Los Angeles (the staff at the Main Street location probably knows us too well), they consistently provide amazing service, fresh food, an open environment, and, most importantly, the best cup of coffee in the area – the Spanish Latte. There’s a pretty strong chance Buddytruk would be stuck in development forever without the help of this startup-saving latte.
We had the chance to chat with Shallom Berkman, co-founder of Urth Caffé, about coffee (duh), managing a growing company, and how they resource the best ingredients in the world.
Hi, Shallom! We’re huge fans of Urth. How did Urth Caffé get its start?
Shallom: Urth Caffé started as the first heirloom, exclusively organic coffee company in the U.S. – we started as a mail order catalogue. I am a high school dropout who dreamed of starting his own business that was health conscious and gave back to the resources he profited from. My wife has a degree in communications and was a successful retail manager with a passion for coffee.
What’s the best part about running Urth? What’s the hardest?
Shallom: The best part of Urth Caffé are all of the direct relationships that take us to Africa for coffee, Japan for tea, throughout California for organic, family-run farm-fresh produce, and even with our great staff and customers. The hardest part is dealing with burdensome government regulations and lawsuits.
What makes you guys so unique? Where does the name “Urth” come from?
Shallom: “Urth” is an old Welsh spelling of “earth” and Caffé is Italian for coffee – the name means to us “organic, natural coffee.” We are still the only coffee roaster to source exclusively heirloom, organic coffee. Heirloom is an old, non-GMO variety of coffee tree that grows sustainable and produces superior low-acid coffee. Certified organically grown coffee is grown without any chemicals, pesticides or synthetic fertilizers. Coffee is the most chemically treated food commodity – so organic coffee is healthier for the land and people.
What are your favorite items on the menu?
Shallom: I very much enjoy our Italian Cappuccino with dolce espresso – a naturally sweet espresso blend with fantastic spice and flavor complexity. I love our croissants made fresh in house with the best imported butter from grass fed cows – unbelievably flakey and buttery! We also have a Kale salad with pomegranate dressing that I eat often! It is extremely difficult to track down all the necessary ingredients.
We were considering writing the whole blog on your Spanish Latte!
Shallom: Well, the amazing thing about the Spanish Latte is that it is all about the espresso blend we use called “Urth Italia Espresso.” The espresso blend uses at [least] five different coffee origins, sometimes more. We choose coffee that is innately strong, chocolate notes, and thick crema for this blend. The drink is just a caffe latte with espresso and steamed milk, plus extra creme and sugar. The sugar acts like salt to savory dishes – the sugar causes the espresso blend’s flavors to really pop! You can taste chocolate, hazelnut, cinnamon, and cloves – these flavors come only from the natural flavors of the espresso coffee.
What does the future hold for Urth?
Shallom: We like to create one Urth at a time and make sure to do it right with lots of love and passion. We have no long term plan other than maintain quality, integrity and fun! We are working on opening our sixth branch in Laguna Beach, CA this summer.
For more information on Urth Caffé, visit them online at www.urthcaffe.com or at one of their locations in Santa Monica, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Downtown, or Pasadena.