With its shabby-chic decor, minimalist lighting and polished concrete flooring, Taza immediately brings to mind the great coffee houses of New York and San Francisco.
The concept of Taza is, in a word, "simplicity," and its limited food and drink menu reflects that. The shop boasts hand-crafted artisan coffee with beans supplied exclusively by local roasters: Jones in Pasadena, Intelligentsia in Los Angeles, Handsome in L.A. and Trystero in Atwater Village.
The food menu consists solely of waffles imported from Begium paired with ice cream from Fosselman's in Alhambra, and, on weekends, pastries by pastry chef Sharon Wang of Buchon Bakery fame.
The shop, which opened in October, has already garnered a devoted clientele and more than 500 likes on its Facebook page.
"It's a place to get a good cup of coffee without any pretensions, owner Sonny Mediana said. "We want (customers) to make (the shop) theirs."
A Grammy-nominated music executive who worked at Motown and BMG Records, Mediana is no stranger to life in the fast lane. In fact, he thrived on it.
Until the day he had a stroke at his Disney Studios office.
"I went into work feeling lethargic," Mediana said. At a meeting later that morning, he suddenly lost his ability to speak. "I knew what I wanted to say, but it came out all jumbled and slurred."
For six months, Mediana underwent intensive speech and physical therapy, and when he returned to his post as Executive Director of Disney's ABC Networks Group, Mediana knew he had to make a change.
And, so, four years after the stroke, Mediana finally realized his long-held dream of owning his own coffee shop. Prior to opening Taza, Mediana traveled the world sampling coffees and learning a range of brewing techniques.
"My inspiration is to have the best quality coffee around," he said.
To that end, Mediana dreamed up The Arcadia, a blend of Vietnamese coffee with sweet milk, and the Affogato, a shot of espresso over a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.
For Mediana, who first fell in love with coffee during his college days at Columbia College in Chicago, coffee is much more than a warm drink.
"It's one of the few drinks that creates a community," Mediana said. "It's a simple pleasure in life."
If You Go:
- Taza is at 11 W. Huntington Drive.
- Hours are 7 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday, 8 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday.
- Call (626) 538-2233 or visit Taza's Web site for more information.