What happens when you combine a coffee shop together with a cute Santa Monica apartment? You get Apt. 1 Coffee, a popular new coffee apartment house that has manifested in the Santa Monica neighborhood. If there’s one thing caffeine drinkers can all chime in on is how much coffee puts us all in a better mood.
In midst of social distancing, isolation, and lack of human connection, Apt. 1 Coffee is the newly opened shop that is giving is that warm loving feeling we’ve been missing.
Yes, Apt. 1 Coffee House is located in an apartment complex. The baristas, Danielle and Matt serve from a window, where they’ve set up a Covid-safe patio area where neighbors stop by and bring fruit and home made pastries to support this business.
Additionally, they write inspiration notes on your coffee cup and attach some baby’s breath that’s unique and endearing. There’s an ‘at home’ feeling, and the hospitality makes you miss hanging out at coffee shops pre-pandemic, even for a brief moment enjoying the experience of decadent coffee outdoors.
Tell us how you started Apt. 1 Coffee, what inspired you to go after this idea?
We always talked about opening a shop where people could come hang out for a coffee, a glass of wine, maybe a pizza. COVID hit, and we were making a lot of coffee at home….and thought… “this is pretty good” why not do it here? Building the shop (the art, wood sign, designing the patio) became our favorite project and things just fell into place.
We didn’t know if anyone would actually show up — we thought it might just be us, sitting in our kitchen, getting cracked out on coffee. When people came, we realized this could be really cool.
How have you been handling and working around Covid-19 restrictions?
Our shop was created with COVID-19 front of mind – all guests stay outside and all drinks are served through the window and placed on a table. With our “pay whatever you want” system (and the beauty of Venmo) there’s almost never a situation where we need to make change so we never physically interact with any customers.
Everyone is always masked and we periodically post reminders on Instagram to be mindful of keeping space when coming to the shop.
What’s the most memorable moment of having your own coffee shop, something you don’t think you would be able to experience if this were ‘normal times?’
When we started this, it was just the two of us, making pour over and writing little quotes to our friends. We had no idea that the coffee shop would turn in to a community effort – from day 1 we had an outpouring of people wanting to contribute.
Everything from our espresso machine to the cookies and muffins we serve have been donated and baked by friends of the shop. We’re even in talks with local poets who want to contribute to our cups with their writing. When we think about it now, we never wanted to open a place for people to pick up their morning coffee, we wanted a community – and that’s what we happened to create.
In “normal times” people often go to coffee shops for a quick cup and a place to park their laptop. This past year, more than ever, people are looking for ways to connect with each other. Apt. 1 gives them that safe outlet.
What do the messages on the coffee cups represent and why?
We always thought that there was something really sweet, funny and playful about a typed out note on a cup. The hope is that when you see your cup and see that there’s a note, it makes you think or feel something.
Maybe it’s something you needed to hear or maybe it’s just a little joy or a little laugh, but the idea of sharing little messages from us to you, is as much a part of Apt. 1 as the coffee.
The quotes are also a way for us to be creative. We are storytellers — the sleeves presented a unique way for us to print and share our writing weekly. We also see this evolving, to include the poetry and stories of local writers, as another way to connect people to community voices.
Share an important message you want your viewers to know about your new coffee shop?
We’re just a couple of normal’s serving coffee and good vibes out of our apartment window. It’s for the neighborhood.
Apt. 1 is open every Saturday morning from 9 AM to 1 PM. Their IG @Apt.1coffee
Jessica Velle reports on entertainment, politics, social media and stories relevant to the Latinx community. She can be reached at [email protected].