Every great day starts with great coffee and a great bike ride, right? If it doesn’t it should. This one sure did. To be totally honest, the great coffee didn’t happen until later in the day but the great beginning was due to the fantastic bike ride Alex and I experienced as we blasted across LA for a great cup of coffee at Primo Passo Coffee in Santa Monica.
I have a really good friend named Katie O’Shea. Katie loves coffee. I would dub her a legit coffee nerd and I know she would proudly agree. I met her at Intelligentsia Pasadena a while back and got the opportunity to see her life evolve and her path lead her to where she currently is, working as the educator at Primo Passo Coffee in Santa Monica. The only thing I know Katie loves as much as coffee is cycling. So I thought to myself, what a better way to celebrate her new position then for Alex and me to ride our bikes to see what kind of coffee alchemy Katie has been brought to the shop.
The ride was a beautiful one. Alex and I rode from BNIB to the Sunset Junction, hit Santa Monica Blvd, and took it all the way to Santa Monica. Right on 7th, down a few blocks and there we were at Primo Passo Coffee on 7th and Montana.
The first thing I noticed was the design of the space. Simplicity on the outside matched with similar simplicity on the inside. To me this created a comfortable balance between what I saw as soon as we rolled up on our bikes and what I experienced as entered the cafe. What I really liked was that the only colors in the whole place were white, black, brown, and copper. Copper and brown being so similar that they basically blended into one color when contrasted against the black and white. There was only one piece of art in the whole place, that being the giant print of the man in the chair with the massive beard. The design was super important to me because I have come across so many specialty coffee shops in the past few years with design so overdone that I found myself feeling claustrophobic and distracted so that I was not paying attention to the baristas working as hard as they do on my coffee. It was explained to me by the owners, Stewart and his wife Kara, that the concept behind the simple design of Primo Passo was to focus one’s attention on the baristas, making them the star of the show. What this does is really makes the consumer feel that there is a huge amount of care and passion put into their drinks. This came across perfectly and it was definitely how I felt as I watched my drinks being made.
What made and continues to make Primo Passo stand out for me was and is not only the design but also the relationship between that and the fantastic coffee. They have an account with Stumptown Coffee. Stumptown has always been a driving force for progression in the specialty coffee world, at least from the consumer standpoint. They simply make the beans I like to drink. I have come across a few cafés and coffee shops in LA that serve Stumptown, but none with the skill and precision that I found from the finely tuned coffee wizards Katie helped train at Primo Passo. There may be others that do it like Primo Passo does but I just haven’t found them yet so for now it looks like it’s the two wheeled mash along the Santa Monica route for me and Alex whenever we want our Stumptown done right.
A big thanks to Stewart, Kara, and Katie for being so hospitable to us. I can’t wait to get back there and see how Primo Passo evolves.
Primo Passo Coffee 702 Montana Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90403. Go there now.