Coffee Talk with Soo Kim of Eightfold Coffee
Earlier today, in search of inspiration and some good old fashioned #MondayMotivation, I Googled, "happy place," and, between motivational articles and a few satirical musings, I settled on a quick, one-liner description: "A place where we are all happy and get the warm fuzzies."
Ok, so it wasn't the most academic definition, but it does accurately capture the feeling you get when sitting in one of our favorite neighborhood coffee shops, Eightfold.
You may have seen Instagram post after Instagram post after a few too many shots of espresso, but what good is a square snap when you can step inside, take a (virtual) peek, and meet the brains behind the operation, Soo Kim. Read on to hear more about the beautifully-designed coffee shop cultivating community in Echo Park.
Name, Location, Occupation
Soo Ran Kim; Eightfold Coffee; Owner & Graphic Designer
How did the idea for Eightfold Coffee come about?
I was very inspired by Hermann Hesse’s novel Siddhartha, a story about a man named Siddhartha’s spiritual journey of self-discovery. I realize understanding the true nature of reality is not simply from learning and knowing, but it is from the journey of life.
Eightfold Path is an attempt to change patterns of thought and behavior to achieve enlightenment.
I wanted to create a locally inspiring and inspired gathering space with good coffee, good people, good conversation, and good experience overall!
Eightfold is in the heart of Echo Park. Can you tell us how you’re fostering a community at the café?
I always love supporting new artists, designers, and local small businesses. I’m collaborating with AndPens Press specializing in art, design, and small press publications, so you can come enjoy good coffee and tea with art books, zines, and magazines at the shop right now. I’m happy to provide creative, unusual, and fun space with unique experience. I’m working hard on bringing more artists and designers into our shop to share with our community.
What kind of coffee and tea are you brewing? Why did you decide on these roasters?
Heart Roasters. They are very warm hearted people supporting us to make the best coffee. Ippodo Tea — I’m very proud to serve Ippodo, the best quality Green tea from Kyoto, Japan. It is owned and operated by the Watanabe family for nearly three centuries, and has upheld the culture of matcha since they began hand picking tea in 1717. The short film documenting Ippodo’s story was winner of two awards at the NYC Food Film Festival 2015. It beautifully depicts the cycle of tea from harvest all the way through to the Japanese tea ceremony.
We love the aesthetic of the coffee shop. What inspired the design for the space?
Thank you for loving the aesthetic. I got tremendous help from my friends. I graduated from Rhode Island School of Design, so many of my friends are talented artists and designers. I was constantly seeking for their help in the whole process of designing the shop. Also, I was very inspired by the Laws of Simplicity by John Maeda.
What do you like most about your job?
I love meeting creative people and it’s been fun building out the space with them. I’ll continue sharing my passion and love for art and design by hosting many exhibitions and events. Also, I found a new hobby for myself since the opening of the shop which is flower arrangement. I’m currently doing all the flower arrangements for the shop, and it’s been fun going to LA's flower district every week to pick up fresh flowers.
What do you hope to contribute to Echo Park’s coffee culture, and where do you hope the coffee scene here will be in a few years?
There are so many places in Los Angeles serving good coffee, but I would like to focus on connecting people through different experiences. Eightfold will hope to encourage people to tell their stories and share with us. I believe our desire to share will make our community grow and enrich our lives. Also, we would like to contribute in any ways to return to our community. We hosted a Hope Delivered gathering on Saturday [February 27th] creating care packages and handwritten letters for active Marines who sacrificially serving our country.
What’s your coffee order?
Just regular drip coffee. I love to keep my coffee simple. And cold brew for hot days! I’ve been drinking too much coffee, so I’m trying to drink more tea these days. Matcha shot will be my alternate for coffee. Very healthy with tons of antioxidants.
Any exciting news happening with Eightfold that we should know about?
We’re building our secret drink menu. Our very first one is one shot of espresso + one shot of matcha + sparkling water for refreshment. Also, we’re working on our food menu as well.
In Los Angeles? Visit Eightfold Coffee at 1294 W Sunset Blvd, Echo Park.
"I WANTED TO CREATE A LOCALLY INSPIRING AND INSPIRED GATHERING SPACE WITH GOOD COFFEE, GOOD PEOPLE, GOOD CONVERSATION, AND GOOD EXPERIENCE OVERALL!"
Images courtesy of Eightfold Coffee