"There is something about books and coffee," Nancy Houang said as she sipped her espresso, sitting in a bright orange Janus et Cie chair inside West Hollywood Library's new coffee shop, Jones.
Houang, manager of the Weho location, speaks highly of the 15-year-old family owned Pasadena business, which was chosen from 12 contenders to move into the Johnson Favaro-designed nook on San Vicente Boulevard.
"We brought in our trifecta machine, which is a single cup brewing system, and individually made each perfect cup of coffee for the panelists," said Houang, describing how Jones beat out the competition. "It took a while, but it was a really good cup of coffee. I think it sealed it."
Jones set up shop in the library almost two months ago, and is slowly but surely building up some clientele. "We opened during the holidays," said Houang. "It's picking up now."
What makes Jones' coffee so special? Houang said it all comes down to the beans. Sixty percent are sourced from their family plantation down in Guatemala, and the rest are from all over the world.
"If you go to Starbucks, you probably wouldn't know who picked and roasted the beans," said Houang, who formerly worked in finance. Master Roaster Rafael Aguiar hand picks the beans, she said, resulting in top-grade coffee.
But don't get upset if your cup does not runneth over.
"Our sizes run a little bit smaller, because if you have a good cup of coffee, you only need a little to enjoy it," Houang said. "Our smalls are 8 ounces versus the 12 ounces from Starbucks."
Their standard coffee menu includes espressos for $2 and cappuccinos ranging from $3 to $4.50, plus loose-leaf teas, sodas and hot chocolate for the non-coffee people.
Pastries are from Susina Bakery on Beverly Boulevard—$2.75 on average, with cookies and macarons at $1.50 and a mouth-watering berry bread pudding for $5.
Sandwiches are picked up from the Pasadena location for now until they can find another supplier in Weho to reach out to. "There's a demand for cheap deli sandwiches. Everything else around here is pretty pricey," Houang said.
Weho is Jones' second location, with the orginal warehouse situated in an industrial part of Pasadena. Plans are underway for a book club and live performances in the West Hollywood space.
"It's a family. It's just a group of people that have been around for a long time," said Houang of Jones. "We don't have aggressive expansion plans. It's just low-key and small, and we want to keep it that way."