Precision and quality are the pillars upon which Balconi Coffee Company stands, and they do not disappoint, even to the most persnickety of coffee-drinkers.
Balconi Coffee Company is one of the few Los Angeles coffee houses who use the siphon method of brewing, and they are perhaps the original of such brewers in the area. The siphon method is a full-immersion process in which all of the water comes into contact with all of the coffee grounds, similar to a French press. However, the technique is more consistent because no pouring water over the coffee occurs, but rather water is forced from a bulb into a cup with the coffee grounds, and when the heat is taken away from the apparatus, the brewed coffee returns to the bulb. It’s a process that is as fun to watch as it is to learn about.
Balconi Coffee, located at 11301 Olympic Boulevard #124, has been brewing with the method since 1997, and it is their dedicated technique of brewing coffee. Order coffee in six- or twelve-ounce servings, and it is presented in a white coffee mug and saucer with a small biscuit to cleanse your palette, or feel free to take the coffee in a to-go cup.
Since the brewing process takes some time, so take a seat at the bar or in a cozy chair surrounded by red walls adorned with local art. The shop opens at 10:00 a.m. to hopefully avoid the morning rush of caffeine addicts just trying to quickly get their fix, and the style is better suited for those who like to sit and savor the coffee.
Balconi offers a selection of coffees from local roasteries, and the beans are measured to even a tenth of a gram to ensure the perfect cup. The Costa Rica is a medium-bodied roast like the quintessential cup of morning coffee. The Ethopia Limu is more acidic with a light blueberry scent but with a slight nutty overtone. The Yemen Mokha embodies, of course, a chocolaty tone, while the Brazilian lacks the acidity of most coffees and leaves you with an incredibly smooth cup. Lattes are also available.
The brewing and results are absolute perfection, and Balconi wouldn’t have it any other way. The service is excellent, and owner Ray Sato and coffee master Peter Molignano are both knowledgeable and have the siphon brewing down to a science. The only complaints they have received are their lack of Wi-Fi or outlets for computers. According to Peter, Balconi wants to “focus on the social aspect — people getting together and talking.” Leave your computer at home and come in for a cup of coffee that is nothing short of amazing.
Balconi Coffee Company is located on Olympic Boulevard by Sawtelle Boulevard and is open from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., seven days a week. Parking is available in the street or in a nearby parking garage.