A strong cuppa at Taza’s Coffee House

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Tucked away like a hidden gem, a tiny coffee shop named Taza Social Coffee House lies in the center of a cluster of many well-known Taiwanese restaurants in Arcadia.  Though the shop can be easily overlooked because it isn’t located in a plaza, it is the perfect place to go grab a taza de café and enjoy the sun in the park across the street.

I was raised in the heart of San Francisco, where coffee shops like Sight Glass, Ritual Coffee Roasters, Blue Bottle Coffee, Phil’s Coffee, and Four Barrels that serve a good cup of dark liquid caffeine are a stone’s throw away. Luckily for SoCal residents, Taza serves an assortment of coffee sourced from San Francisco and other upper regions of the west coast for that taste of NorCal coffee.

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 Taza brews coffee from an assortment of coffee beans from, but not limited to Sight Glass, Blue Bottle, Ritual, and Stumptown (from Oregon).  The owner rotates it throughout the month to allow customers experience a different flavor of coffee every time, even if they order the same drink.  For me, I think that’s the draw of the shop. Who can say no to a good cup of coffee, especially those who feel nostalgic about San Francisco? The coffee shop is an escape from the city; just one cup can make you say, “Dorothy, I don’t think we’re in Arcadia anymore.”

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I came by on a Thursday afternoon after lunch at Sinbalas hoping for a quick caffeine fix prior to heading to LA for a whole night of drinking adventures.  The barista was very friendly, striking up an easy conversation and providing recommendations. It’s good to go to a local coffee shop away from the major corporate coffee chains once in a while.  The shop is decorated with a range of eclectic pieces.  An old cupboard desk leans against the wall, its light blue paint faded and peeling to reveal the copper wood underneath.  Colorful snowboards with Andy Warhol’s colorful interpretation of Marilyn Monroe and Campbell soup hang against a pale silver wall while small bags of “Handsome” coffee sit on the bright red counter, waiting for the next customer to take them home.

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 I ordered the Arcadia while my friend ordered the Americano, and we decided to order the affogato to share. We waited a short while for the powerful machines to brew our perfect cup.  The Arcadia was made with creamy sweet milk and tasted much like a heavy latte, but I enjoyed it very much. The sweet milk balanced the strong flavor of the coffee.

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 The affogato, made with a scoop of Fosselman’s vanilla ice cream and a shot of espresso, was a match made in heaven.  Coffee and ice cream?  Yes yes yes.  I’ve always wanted to try Fosselman’s ice cream as it’s a popular brand in SoCal served in many other shops and restaurants, but never had the chance to until now.  Unlike the usual variety of plan, bland vanilla ice cream, every scoop was creamy, rich Madagascar Bourbon goodness, perfect with the shot of bitter espresso.  Each spoonful was a hot and cold battle—a warm first taste before the tingly chill seeps in.  After trying Fosselman for the first time, I plan to visit their shop in the near future for all the other monthly rotating flavors.

This is definitely a cute little hipster place, which I absolutely love! It’s different from the ordinary hole-in-the-wall coffee shop, but still a perfect space to while away the afternoon with a book, a cup of steaming coffee, and their Belgium waffles with ice cream.

-Bernice

Taza
11 W Huntington Drive
Arcadia, CA 91007

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