The long-anticipated Graffiti Coffee shop held a “soft grand opening” Saturday, Nov. 11, at their location directly off state Route 371 next to Phil’s Barbershop.
The buzz was in more than a cup of joe; it was all over social media and the town of Anza. Early morning commuters and housewives alike were anticipating the opening of the specialty coffee shop. They served everything from frothy flavored lattes to decadent blended drinks, all made from locally roasted, organic coffee beans and provided to the customer through one of two convenient drive-thru windows.
Graffiti Coffee serves a menu of coffees, teas, lattes, espressos, mochas, cappuccinos, hot chocolates, frappes and smoothies. It even features kid-friendly drinks, such as a blended frozen hot chocolate topped with whipped cream and a beverage called the “Frozen Cotton Candy,” vanilla frappe with raspberry flavoring, topped with whipped cream.
Their operating hours will be 4 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
The name Graffiti Coffee surmises the theme of the entire endeavor. Certain graffiti artists’ work is featured all over the shop, decorating and adding an eclectic flair to the tiny little kitchen’s decor and signage. Artist Fernando Valdez Mensoone is the highlighted artist, having been inspired by gang graffiti and prison art tattoos that he was exposed to as a youth. He expresses his art with flair and confidence, tackling social issues and creating art pieces for clients such as Disney, Adidas, Dreamworks and Universal. He said he wishes to inspire youth by leaving a positive impression on society through his art.
“Life is a journey, and here at Graffiti Coffee we aim to connect and be a big part of your journey through life, one cup at a time,” part owner and manager Sarah Tinsley said. “I really love working with people, and I feel this sums up what my goal is when working with each customer.”
The friendly character of the baristas, a person whose job involves preparing and serving different types of coffee, immediately became quite apparent as they cheerfully handed delicious drinks out of the drive-thru window all morning.
Co-owner and assistant manager Elizabeth Leash was incredibly busy, filling orders and organizing the bustling kitchen area in the tiny building. She explained the different beverages to customers and suggested certain choices, while answering questions about pricing, hours of operation and availability with ease.
The guests found the prices affordable and the portions generous. They liked the convenience of driving up to order their specialty drinks and snacks, especially since the shop has one drive-thru window on each side of the structure.
“I think that the coffee shop is a much welcome addition to the community,” customer Denise Squires, who ordered a caramel latte that morning, said.
In addition to the drinks, many mouth-watering goodies were also available, and the menu is anticipated to expand in time. Warm cinnamon rolls were on hand at the soft grand opening event, and the scent of the fragrant pastries wafted from the open windows, enticing customers to try one.
“We went to Graffiti Coffee this morning, and I have to say it was amazing. Coffee was awesome, prices were good and the service was great. I found my new Starbucks,” Beth Pollock said on social media that morning.
Tinsley said her family had been discussing opening a local business for some time.
“The idea originated with our family when we got together nearly 8 to 10 years ago and wanted to start a family business together,” Tinsley said. “For those that know the Leash family, we’re a tight-knit family, and we felt a business venture in our hometown just made sense. We realized that many of us commuted off the ‘hill’ to work and wanted to bring something different and special to the community, so our sister threw out the idea of a coffee shop and it just made sense to everyone. We began to pursue the planning to do so. We really wanted a lounge-type setting for people to get together, so we wish to grow to encompass that.”
Quality is a recurring theme as well, and it shows. Besides excellent ingredients for the beverages, Graffiti Coffee works with an exclusive coffee bean roaster, local to the mountain communities.
“Working with Idyllwild Roasters has been wonderful,” Tinsley said. “We established a relationship nearly two years ago, when we first expressed to Mimi, the owner, of our concepts. She immediately jumped on board and was enthusiastic for us two locals to collaborate. What I think is incredibly special about their roasting is that they’re certified organic. Their decaf blend uses the Swiss water process and no chemicals, which is great. They also do small-batch roasting which means we get individualized attention, and most of the reason why our coffee tastes so delicious. Our relationship gives us the advantage that if we order today it’s freshly roasted and delivered next day, which is awesome.”
The shop has an army of baristas are ready to serve patrons with a smile and deft hands creating the flavorful creations.
For more information, visit at https://www.graffiticoffee.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pg/graffiticoffee371/about/?ref=page_internal.