Something big is brewing in Valencia, something that has been a long time coming.
For the past few years, Undergrounds has quietly existed in the basement of Real Life Church, and in all that time they have honed their skills, fine tuned their mission, and now they are ready to emerge and take over the previously vacant spaces facing Newhall Ranch Road.
Initially the plan was to simply take over the long vacant Red Mango space (it was a cafe/froyo shop for a few seconds), but just as plans were falling into place, the Cuvee spot became available, and well, that brings us to the present. After many delays and an overhaul of the spaces, Undergrounds Coffeehouse is on the verge of opening, with an official Grand Opening date of December 8. We got an exclusive look at the space today, and it is absolutely stunning.
There is a feeling of community here, and I want to make it clear, this space? This gorgeous coffee shop? It is for EVERYONE. It is not just for church members (good because I’m not a member), and essentially they believe that coffee changes lives (#coffeechangeslives). Be good, do good, and serve good coffee, is what it comes down to.
The revenue from the coffee shop will go towards operating costs associated with the space, including 8 employees on staff. However they do have a goal of raising $9,000 by June 30, 2017 to a designated mission that is outlined on their wall when you walk in. In addition to having 8 employees, this coffee shop has 40 volunteers on staff that while are not on payroll, still received the same intense training provided by Copa Vida (a fantastic cafe and roaster in Pasadena). They opted to carry Copa Vida beans because of the support, guidance, and parallel values (plus their beans are really great).
The goal is to cultivate community, with the main cafe on one end, and a rentable space on the other. The room to the left is available for classes, meetings, and has even been used by film crews. The coffee shop space has plenty of seating, outlets (and USB plugs too), and even a custom made community table with a deep sink that will be used for cuppings.
Janie (pictured above) managed Undergrounds at the original basement location, and she knew that it could be something more. It was meant for more. And, credit where credit is due, because she has really worked tirelessly to make this new Undergrounds into what it is today.
She is joined by Katie (assistant manager) who will be the one greeting you at 6am! Along with Janie, they have worked hand in hand in getting Undergrounds up and running. These ladies are passionate about coffee, and in preparation they have gone through intensive training, traveled to countless shops (LA, San Francisco, Santa Cruz to name a few), and have really learned as much as they can (geek level) about the craft. It sounds silly to write, but the reality is there are people in this town (myself and my friends included) that geek out about specialty coffee and have been desperately longing for a coffee shop on this side of town that really gets it. We had a taste of it with House Roots, and now, we have it again with Undergrounds.
They have really dreamed big with the equipment, starting with an Alpha Dominche Steampunk they are using for tea.
It uses vacuum steam pressure to heat the hot water and they are able to control the temperature. There’s more to it, I’m sure, but just watching the process is fun too. They are serving The Art of Tea, and if coffee isn’t your thing, then you will be thrilled by the tea service they are providing here.
And now, the moment of truth. On the counter you will see the gorgeous La Marzocco Strada AV, and not only is it absolutely stunning, but they definitely know how to use it.
I mentioned above that everyone on staff (even the volunteers) underwent intense training to learn how to use this beautiful piece of machinery. Ensuring that no matter who is on bar, you’ll always get a perfect drink.
For those of you missing the cold brew from House Roots (my empty growler is still displayed on a shelf at home), I’m happy to report that Undergrounds will have cold brew available, although you may want to pre-order as soon as they open.
For now, they have a permanent menu posted on the wall, along with seasonal items that will change accordingly.
As far as the possibility of adding food items, for now they are sticking with pastries by Betsy from Bake in the Day. I didn’t get to try any yet, but everyone around me was raving about the selection.
Although Undergrounds had been open for years, many people had no idea, or maybe never got to visit. Now that they have moved above ground, and are on a prominent street, the hope is that they can continue to provide a sense of community, and perhaps more people will give them a try.
Yes, it is a coffee shop that is tied to Real Life Church. I’m fully aware that the connection alone will stop certain people from wanting to try it. Personally, I’m not a member and I certainly don’t attend service there, but my friends and I had a good time at Undergrounds 1.0, and it was always a welcoming space. And now with Undergrounds 2.0, I know we will be regulars because we like good coffee, it is close to home, and the space is gorgeous.
And for those of you wondering, no one will be preaching at you, there are no crosses or bibles, it is simply a community coffee shop. A gorgeous one.
Undergounds is located at 23841 Newhall Ranch Road in Valencia (Bridgeport Marketplace, near the Walgreens entrance).