Go Get Em Tiger (GGET) represents the vision of cafe culture championed by Kyle Glanville and Charles Babinski, both Intelligentsia alums and US Barista Champs. Whether it’s pre-grinding for espresso, creating their own tongue-in-cheek-but-amazing house-made takes on pumpkin spice and gingerbread lattes, or ditching pour-overs in favor of batch brewers when that was (and perhaps still is) a risky move for quality-driven cafes, this duo and their all-star staff have been unafraid to challenge orthodoxies and pretensions.

When you visit, you sense that reshaping the service encounter and upending basic assumptions are at the foreground of their vision. At GGET’s Larchmont location and their affiliated G&B Coffee at Downtown’s Grand Central Market, both shops have long bars, the idea being that you find a spot and grab the attention of someone behind the counter to take your order, like you would at a bar. I’m not sure how this plays out day to day, or with antsy to-go customers, but on my visits it took some of the pressure off quickly spitting out an order to avoid the ire of a line of caffeine-deprived people behind you. Standing around the bar creates more overlapping social space for chance conversations, and lets baristas play the role of host, bringing local regulars and first-time guests together through easy-going flows of conversation. So many cafes aspire to this, but very few create the physical and social affordances to encourage it. It helps that GGET has an abnormally high number of great people working for them, too.

The coffees offered are also great, made up of a rotating selection of standouts cupped regularly from roasters across the world (like Sweet Bloom in Denver, or 49th Parallel in Vancouver). And that move to batch brewers allows more time to be spent interacting, offering tasting samples, talking about the coffee, or preparing less common or more elaborate drinks, like their turmeric almond macadamia steamed milk, fizzy hoppy tea, or the espresso dark & stormy made with espresso and house-made ginger beer I had back when I visited. Plus, it can be more consistent than manual brew methods, so it’s no wonder more cafes are taking another look at how they spend their time and resources to see if this approach is right for them. It’s becoming important to think about what really sets a great cafe apart as more cafes and chains adopt the trappings of ‘third wave coffee.’ A proliferation of pour-overs and other paraphernalia dilutes the distinction that once attended a puritanical focus on arcane brewing techniques, and makes increasingly trite the symbolic performances of pseudo-scientific brew methods that helped change how we think about coffee. I like the smart choices GGET and G&B have made to navigate this changing tide, and their shops easily rank among my short list of favorites.

The GGET vision is still evolving as their brand new Los Feliz cafe opened last week. This location adds an expanded menu by chef Ria Wilson that looks great, though unfortunately I visited the week just prior to opening so I didn’t get a chance to try anything. The Los Feliz spot has a great outdoor patio that I can’t wait to visit next time I’m in LA.

You can visit the new GGET Los Feliz location here:

 

More photos from my visit to GGET Larchmont and G&B a couple summers ago:

 

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G&B Coffee

Located in Downtown Los Angeles’ Grand Central Market, G&B Coffee has since remodeled and opened up their space even more. The market gets packed on weekends, and is rapidly changing along with the rest of DTLA.

Espresso dark & stormy

Fizzy hoppy tea


And, if you’re in the neighborhood, the Bradbury building is worth a visit (built in 1893, used as a location for Bladerunner).

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