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Dining Review: Modern Coffee Commissary fills an old-school niche

March 31, 2014|By Lisa Dupuy
  • Coffee Commissary's barista Matt Donofree makes drinks at the 3100 block of W. Olive Ave. location in Burbank on Thursday, March 27, 2014.
Coffee Commissary's barista Matt Donofree makes… (Raul Roa / Staff…)

Back when I worked in television, I was always on the lookout for a place to get a quick breakfast that wasn’t made of sugar and white flour. Those early morning shoots required more substance. If Coffee Commissary had been around, it would’ve been my go-to spot. It’s no coincidence then that this modern cafe opened its third location right across from the NBC Burbank Studios and within walking distance of Warner Bros. and Disney.

Sad but true, they took the place of Choza Mama, a beloved Peruvian restaurant. But Coffee Commissary fills a need in this landscape, a need for amazing coffee and hearty bites aimed squarely at young professionals. It is so tempting to use the word “hipsters” but that term, like “foodie,” is hackneyed. I prefer to call the well-dressed, quick-thinking young men behind the counter “snappies.” Their snappy vests and fedoras, their neatly trimmed beards seem to put them in a professional, efficient mood which makes ordering a breeze. Watching them make artfully crafted coffee drinks is also a pleasure. This is not your standard Echo Park coffee house where they sometimes ignore or even scorn customers.

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They do an excellent pour-over here ($4), a method of slow-dripping off-the-boil water over medium-ground coffee beans to extract the most flavor (e.g. citrus-y or chocolate-y) and create the least bitterness. It takes patience and wrist-circling skills. Don’t get this if you’re in a hurry. The house brew is perfectly delicious. They offer a variety of complex, balanced coffee beans roasted by small roasters from towns that know roasting best: Portland, Seattle, San Francisco and Sacramento. If you want a shot of courage, try the Gibraltar, strong Brazilian Monteverde espresso in a small rocks glass with creamy steamed milk on top ($3.50).

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