Shop Spotlight: Hopper & Burr
One of the goals we hope to accomplish with our blog is to highlight those in our industry and community who are doing some new and unique things and, more importantly, doing it well. In this segment, we’ll be putting a spotlight on some people that are doing some really rad things over in downtown Santa Ana.
Truman Severson and Andrew Ogden are the driving force behind DTSA’s innovating multi-roaster, Hopper & Burr. We are constantly telling our friends and patrons that their spot is one of our favorite places to have coffee outside of Daydream but we could never quite put our finger on why. Yes, they’re extremely skilled craftsmen who serve amazing coffee and specialty beverages day-in and day-out. Yes, they are only choosing to serve the freshest, best crop coffees from the most progressive roasters. But its something other than just the quality of their product that makes them our go-to. There’s something special that just makes us want to be in their space and experience what they’re about. We sat down with the two of them to get to the bottom of the phenomena that is Hopper & Burr.
After some light jokes from Andrew, a master of off-color humor with perfectly dry delivery, we got down to the nitty gritty of what sets them apart from the rest. Truman used the phrase “redeeming the neighborhood coffee shop” which we loved. He explained it somewhat as taking that old idea of the janky local shop where everyone knows your name and your order and elevating that. He described to us the unique community that DTSA provides to them. It is the only real city center or minor metropolitan area in Orange County other than Orange to a lesser extent; a business/financial district surrounded by residential areas that draw everyone to the center in a melting pot of the local Hispanic community mixing with a younger, mostly white, “hipster” population that has ben moving into the area. They talked about retaining customers from the early days when they were just a pop-up and trying to create a space that can serve that coffee nerd but also the flower lady from up the street without compromising the quality and standards of their product.
Andrew credited their success in creating this recurring base to their community-first attitude and their exuding of B.D.E. I’ll let you at home look up what that acronym actually stands for on Urban Dictionary but what it boils down to is carrying yourself and everything you do with a level of infallible confidence. Not a cockiness, but an assuredness in everything you do that convinces those around you to get psyched on it. Truman and Andrew are obviously masters of their craft that are constantly pushing the envelope of what a specialty coffee shop can be, but they never need to flaunt their skills or credentials to validate themselves to those coming into their shop. Their demeanor and poise says all of that and more. It only takes watching their café flow and customer interactions for a few minutes to recognize those things.
While those aspects of Hopper & Burr are our favorite things about it, don’t let that fool you into thinking that attention to every last detail of the craft is lacking in anyway. These guys milk their own almonds, make their own tonic and slush their own slushies. They live by the motto “if you can make it better, make it yourself.” Truman and Andrew are tight with the crew at the amazing gastropub right up the street, Playground. They guest bartend there and share ingredients and recipes. They create finely crafted beverages at the same level as the skilled bartenders at Playground but with coffee as their base. Just look at the Untitled Drink #1 or the infamous Painface Killah, a coffee take on a tiki drink. Their in-house tonic pairs perfectly with their beautiful espresso. They even bought a slushie machine to make watermelon/simcoe hops slushies and blendy sweet lattes. What was one of the biggest taboos for a specialty coffee shop, blended drinks, they turned into something all those elitist want to drink even if they won’t admit it.
Not only is their quality top-notch, but so is their flow and speed of service. Along with their rad barista team of Eric and Patrick, they cruise like a well-oiled machine through rushes, slinging some of the fastest and tastiest bevs in the west. Their bar is ergonomically designed for convenience of the barista equipped with iced coffee and milk on tap and a speed rail for additives. The bar design also serves a double purpose. No coffee is present on the bar and everything is subtle and low-key. This is to encourage conversation over coffee rather than about coffee. They’ll still nerd out about the craft if that’s what you’re looking for but they’d much rather hear about your kid’s soccer game or how your interview went last week.
And now we’ve come full circle from focus on the interactions with people, to quality and craft, and right back to the community. It’s all weaved into every bit of Hopper & Burr which is why we can’t get enough of that B.D.E. and tasty spro they serve up each day. We love what they’re about and if you love what we’re about here at daydream, we’re willing to bet you will, too.
The level of positive energy and community interaction that these guys bring is crucial to our industry. For a long time, specialty coffee was inaccessible to so many people who weren’t already in the know. Baristas were unfriendly, condescending and uninterested in the people they were supposed to be serving. Years later, we are still fighting against this stigma. We put a huge emphasis on creating positive experiences for everyone who walks into our shop and clearly so does the gang at Hopper & Burr, which is why we always feel so stoked to be there!