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We love caffeinated beverages but are frankly amateurs in the whole cult of coffee. Slow pour, shade grown, moka pot--it takes a glossary to keep up. Expert knowledge aside, we want to know where we can go to get a dependably great cup of joe.

We've found the source downtown at Handsome Coffee Roasters. It's the dream café of the titular three men--including a 2010 World Barista Champion--who for the past year have wowed Angelenos with their carefully roasted coffee served at restaurants like Coffee Bar and Red Medicine and from their catering van.

The shop has shiny subway tiles, a dropped copper ceiling and a glassed-in room displaying the UG-22 Probat roaster, a refurbished 1956 steel machine from Belgium. Laptops are discouraged to facilitate chitchat among communally seated guests.

A short espresso costs $3, while an espresso and milk is $4 for 5 oz. and $5 for 10 oz.; clients requiring sugar or artificial sweeteners will have to bring their own. At first, the no-computer, no-sweetener policies made us panic, but then we found ourselves admiring the shop's sleek architecture, grinning at fellow patrons and enjoying our coffee's creamy finish and such handsome surroundings.

Handsome Coffee Roasters, 582 Mateo St.; 323-606-3593 or

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