Cafe Corsa

Hello! As something different, this is a guest post by a friend, Abe, a physics student at USC. Enjoy.


Ceci n’est pas une blog post.

As a burgeoning physicist and writer, I’ve come to appreciate coffee quite a bit – not so much as a biological stimulant, but as an indispensable part of engaging conversations, a precursor to “writerly” urges, and an essential component of solving problems.

A mathematician is a machine for turning coffee into theorems

– Paul Erdos

And since working in the same apartment every day becomes drab pretty quickly, finding places which offer good coffee and aren’t incredibly noisy helps the creative process. This is, regrettably, not an easy combination to find around USC or even Downtown Los Angeles for that matter.  Most places with decent coffee tend to get quite crowded and aren’t conducive to any form of productive work or pleasant conversations.

Café Corsa, however, is precisely the kind of place that made coffee houses popular with scholars and artists in the early 18th century. Devoid of any unnecessary embellishments, it eschews the spirit of pretension that seems to have crept into the “coffee culture.”

It is a small, barely noticeable establishment tucked away at the far end of a strip mall on Figueroa and this lack of visibility is its only flaw. The decor is simple and focused around a marvelous not-so-little coffee machine sitting on a counter top – the Clover Coffee Machine. (Here’s a nice video demonstrating why this contraption is helping the case of brewed coffee over espresso –

We ordered the El Salvadorian (Intelligentsia) and the Panama (a local roaster in Palos Verdes), which were $3 each for 12 oz cups.
The coffee was served in whimsical red and white cups with a Ducati logo and we enjoyed it thoroughly in the comfortable wooden chairs.

The El Salvadorian was a nice medium roast and wouldn’t have required any cream or sugar but for its acidity. The Panama, while also a medium roast, was stronger, smoother, and had been brewed perfectly to avoid the burnt flavour that is usually associated with strong coffee. As my first cup of the day I would have rather had a darker roast, but either of these would be good with some cinnamon biscuits in the afternoon.

The Barista is friendly and knows his coffee. He enjoys trying different origins and blends and though he primarily serves Intelligentsia coffee, he is not averse to experimenting and playing with the Clover’s multiple settings. The place is quiet and even has a little nook with just a chair and a table for those who wish to work or enjoy their coffee in private.

It’s definitely one of the better coffee shops in Los Angeles – probably since it focuses on getting the coffee right and doesn’t try to accessorize it.

Cafe Corsa on Urbanspoon


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