Monday, February 21, 2011

Coffee Chemistry Lab

I’m always on the look-out for appealing new locations to engage in my independent research activities in astrophysics. The various environmental factors have to be just right – the correct mixture of white noise and ambiance, suitable lighting, comfortable seating with a table for writing formulae. The hang-out also should be cool (just can’t see working on numerical relativity at McDonalds).

This evening I happened by a new place that satisfies all of the above as an appropriate study-hall location: Balconi Coffee Company located in West Los Angeles at: 11301 W. Olympic Blvd, #124 near the corner with Sawtelle Blvd. The proprietor “Ray” just recently opened up after moving from a quaint, though much less stylish location, next to a Palm reading joint.

The reason why I like Balconi’s so much is the long flat wooden bar area that runs the length of the shop. The lighting and flat surface and comfortable chairs are perfect for intense study (not to mention the really nice and eclectic selection of music playing at a reasonable volume level).

But the real appeal of Balconi’s is their “siphon coffee” selections. I tried the Ethiopian and it was heavenly. The preparation of the coffee is 100% individualized and the apparatus looks like a makeshift chem lab. The only downside is that if there is a line waiting to order, you might be there a while since each cup takes about 5 or so minutes to make. All things considered, I find the wait worthwhile, and like I said, hanging around the place while scanning the light curves of some photometric binary star system is my idea of a very good time. Try Balconi’s to break open your science books and be sure to say hello to the Physics Groupie!


  1. Hey, I love Balconi too!! But I there to study my materials science homework. They have the bestest coffee anywhere. 8-)

    Sharon C.

  2. Dear GROUPIE-I tried this place today and I it was as good as you say. FYI I was reading Sky&Telescope over there. Thx!!! _sean_


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