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Normally, I don't go for mid-afternoon coffee, even though it's my favorite time of day to drink the stuff. I go to bed early, and a caffeine buzz will trash my sleep cycle.

But today is different. Today I have a lot of writing to do and I need something to kick the brain into high gear. The deadline on a short story contest is fast approaching, and my production thus far has been nil.

So, off to Industrial Grind Coffee.

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Just north of University Avenue on Park Boulevard and set back across a broad sidewalk, Industrial Grind is easy to miss. But in this corner of Hillcrest/University Heights, the coffee-shop quotient is underrepresented and Industrial Grind deserves a better look from passersby. Because I live nearby, the shops up the hill near Park and Adams are a bit far for walking with baggage. Filter is always overcrowded and Starbucks is, well, Starbucks.

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Ti (she says it's "Ti, like the rapper," but I can only think of the rare metal), the barista, pours me a double shot of espresso from the be-hearted machine and makes a hot chocolate to go, which better get my creative juices flowing. She responds to my overburdened writer's tale of woe with the tidbit that she's an active writer, too, and directs me to her blog.

The espresso is on the longer side, but has enough crema and is on par with the competition's. I'll order it ristretto next time, since that's more my style. Still, this was a better shot of coffee than I've had at lots of places in town.

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The list of specialty lattes is absolutely extensive and there are some novel items on there that I haven't seen on others' menus. A "salted caramel latte" piques my curiosity, but I had to go with plain espresso to get an unadulterated feel for the coffee at Industrial Grind. Right now, there's a "3 at 3" special whereby all 16oz lattes are $3 from 3-6 PM.

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The shop looks minuscule from the outside, but it runs deep and there is a lot of seating. WiFi is available, and the inside/outside design (sort of like Java Jungle in O.B. but much cozier) will be killer for sitting and writing on a warm afternoon.

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Industrial Grind is a bit of a hidden gem at this point due to the camouflaged location, but I think I'll make a return trip next time I need to get some work done and I want to avoid the crowds at the more mainstream shops.

Industrial Grind
3922 1/2 Park Boulevard
M-F 7-6
Weekends & Holidays 8-1

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Comments

GwGorham Jan. 27, 2012 @ 6:46 p.m.

"I'll order it ristretto next time, since that's more my style. " A ristretto is a drink in and of itself. Do you mean in the style of or a more concentrated brew?

Either way, Industrial Grind sounds like a great find. Those hidden gems are always good to keep in your back pocket so to speak.

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Ian Pike Jan. 27, 2012 @ 7:21 p.m.

My Italian's nonexistent, but I believe that "ristretto" translates as "restricted," more or less? When I'm pulling shots, I prefer a firmer tamping down of the grinds (as opposed to a finer grind) for sending the water a bit more slowly through the coffee and producing a more concentrated shot, with which I like a little sugar. That's prolly ristretto to some, normal to others, gross to half and delighful to the other half, jajaja.

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richzombie Jan. 27, 2012 @ 8:39 p.m.

thanks for the info ...i have phased into drinking coffee instead of beer in the afternoon ( so much more productive )and this place does sound like a gem and i will definately try it out-soon...i do like java jungle but if in ob you have to try lazy hummingbird / 4876 santa monica ...think it's been open about 6 months with wonderful folks working there - it is for me a hidden gem,also.

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Ian Pike Jan. 28, 2012 @ 7:17 a.m.

Lazy Hummingbird is a killer name for a coffee shop.

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