We had the good fortune of connecting with Bobak Roshan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Bobak, can you tell us about a book that has had a meaningful impact on you?
I recently read Deep Work by Cal Newport. It’s nominally about work, but I think the lessons about cutting out distractions, being present and having actionable ways of achieving those things, extend to all facets of life. It was an eye opener and a book I probably need to re-read a few more times. We live in this hyperconnected world where literally every device we carry with us is trying to get our attention. At the same time, the ability to think deeply and be present is more valuable than ever. I really think everyone should read this book.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
We are a specialty coffee microroastery with two cafes in the area. I actually think it’s always hard to distinguish ourselves from the ever expanding list of specialty coffee shops in the city. But I think what makes us different is a commitment to some creativity – we always have a seasonal latte that you’ve probably never had and would never find anywhere else. Our baristas are tasked with coming up with their own signature drinks that you can only order when they are working. We also pay more than lip service to environmentalism. As I mentioned before, we really committed ourselves in the past year or so to eliminating waste, getting our green business certification and are now looking to expand on those efforts in different directions by, for example, getting our wholesale partners to adopt some of our customer-facing programs to eliminate waste on their end as well. We also really believe in supporting other local businesses.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
My go-to move (pre-COVID) was to pick-up sandwiches from Bay Cities and head over to the Getty Museum and eat lunch in their gorgeous garden and then go roam the museum. I’d also take visitors downtown, but the stop there for me was to go down by USC to the Mercado a la Paloma and get fish tacos at Holbox and then head over to Bunker Hill. Disney Hall and the Broad are both worth checking out and then from there I’d take my visitor over to Grand Central for a snack. I’d spend another day in Venice, roaming the boardwalk and the beach. Abbott Kinney from the boardwalk and then to the canals. Food-wise Gjelina or GTA. I’d spend another day in Santa Monica, starting out at my shop, down the Promenade and then over to Tongva Park (somehow a totally underrated park) and then down the Pier because…tourism. Dinner would be at Cassia. The last day I’d go out to the Hollyhock house and then swing into Eagle Rock and head over to Found Coffee…only a little out of your way, but well worth it.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Great question. There are two people who pop into my mind. First, my wife, especially those early days when we were really slow and I was losing my mind. She would take me on walks to keep my sanity in tact. She also got her hands dirty during construction and helped do little things like put cushions together for our benches. Keeper! The second is Stephen Leighton over at HasBean. He (probably unwittingly and regretfully) took me down to El Salvador a few years back and taught me a lot about “direct trade” coffee and has been (again, probably unwittingly) a mentor to me on all things coffee sourcing. I don’t know that I would have ever made the leap to direct sourcing and going down to origin without him. And lots of recognition should go to all our wholesale partners, like Found, Highlight, Rocketship and the rest who have put their trust in a small local roaster and haven’t jumped on the “we’re only buying coffee from Norway” bandwagon.