Broadacre Ltd. Coffee
1014 10th Street, Sacramento
Words & Photos by Adam Saake
The last time we left the Elia brothers, Jake and Lucas, they had moved on from their first venture, the chic and elegant Bloom Coffee and Tea out in Roseville, and were onto their next entrepreneurial endeavor, Pause Kitchen and Lounge, which was literally a stone’s throw away from Bloom. Unfortunately, this past August saw the closing of their swanky establishment that had a focus on small plates and thoughtful spirit pairings and found the two brothers back at their drawing boards once more. Luckily for the Elias, their drawing boards are accompanied by very sharp pencils and the Crayola 64 set, if you catch my drift, and these boys wasted no time in setting out to create their next work of art.
This time, along for the ride are two of their long time employees from Bloom, Justin Kerr and Andrew Lopez, who share the Elias’ passion for finely crafted coffee and the vision of bringing it to the masses. The idea for a coffee shop was in place and the four started looking for a space in the midtown/downtown area. With a stir of perfect timing, the firmly established Temple Coffee on 10th between J and K streets was gearing up to relocate from their original location, a charming Hobbit-like structure that was once a bookstore, to a new location just around the corner. This brewed the right opportunity and the perfect space for the four partners to capitalize on their new venture–Broadacre Ltd. Coffee.
With the addition of two more opinions weighing in, decision-making could get hairy. Especially since the brothers had been calling the shots at Bloom and Pause for the past couple years. But Lucas says the addition of Kerr and Lopez is all for the better.
“We definitely saw [Justin and Andrew] as assets and as minds we thought could bring something to the table,” says Lucas. “There are definitely conversations that have been hashed out, and we argue sometimes but at the same time we end up at a better result than we would have if it was just the two of us.”
Those minds all thinking in unison have created a new and knowledgeable destination for quality brewed coffees and beans in the heart of Downtown Sacramento. The location is perfect for foot traffic and their reputations from Bloom precede them. That means those seeking a good cup of Joe know exactly where to go, and Lucas says business has been good so far.
In many respects, Broadacre is a coffee shop like any other. Tables and chairs are aligned in neat rows along the narrow corridor leading to the counter. An espresso machine hisses and gurgles, the crescendo tick of beans spilling into the grinder can be heard and the plates and cups collide to complete the symphony of a busy cafÃ©. The pastry case is full of croissants and muffins from Freeport Bakery and Doughbot Donuts to accompany your beverage. Angled walkers in stride pass briskly in the morning, some stopping in for a quick cup of coffee on their way to work–some unconcerned by what the sign reads on the outside, only interested in the almighty caffeine contained within. But there are subtleties at work that make Broadacre unique and make them a premier location in town to get premium coffee and an authentic cafÃ© experience.
It all starts with good coffee and Broadacre has got that covered.
“We just had Verve at Bloom, and so we were an exclusive account,” says Lucas. “Here it’s very dynamic, and it’s changing all the time. We have four coffee roasters and it changes once a month–one drops off and another comes on. So there are always different coffees around.”
Aside from Santa Cruz, Calif.’s Verve Coffee, which the Elias still carry, their other roasters include San Francisco’s Ritual Roasters, Chicago’s Intelligentsia Coffee and Tea and Portland’s Stumptown Roasters. With the coffees rotating so frequently, it’s important that Lucas and the rest of the team dial in the espresso and make sure the transition to the new coffee is smooth.
“It’s not an easy thing to do if you don’t have the right skill set to manage changing out coffees every day, dialing in espressos and making sure everything tastes good all the time. You need to taste it, you need to have a good palate to be able to know that the espresso you’re pulling is tasting good,” explains Lucas.
Good coffee deserves careful preparation to make sure the final product, what’s in your cup, stays consistent. Broadacre currently offers four different methods of brewing for you to choose from: Hario V60, Aeropress, French press and Chemex. All have their different qualities and can bring out different notes in the coffee or reduce oils. Each method can be explained to you if you don’t know which one best suits your tastes. It’s also prepared right before; meticulously weighed out and treated with care.
When I arrived to chat with the brothers, Jake and Lucas were behind the counter helping customers and preparing their own coffee to drink. Both dressed in clean and pressed collared shirts that were tucked into their slacks; belts and dress shoes to match. Their thick, black tufts of hair neatly combed and groomed, a mirror of their surroundings. On the left counter, the shiny and new La Marzocco Strada espresso machine that Lucas spoke fondly of. White mugs sat orderly on the top, and behind the counter two-dozen rocks glasses, each filled with weighed-out portions of fresh coffee beans, awaited the grinder. Three scales rested neatly across the counter; another necessary component for ensuring consistency with how much water is required for the perfect cup. There’s this air of fun about all the young baristas there, seen in their honest smiles and their passion for coffee and how it’s served. Their blog posts that speak to the search for great coffee are always signed off, “the broad acre boys” like they’re some kind of Wild West Robin Hoods; taking the pretentiousness out of carefully brewed coffee and giving it to the common Joe drinker to enjoy. When you walk inside Broadacre, you feel compelled to stay a while and that’s exactly how the boys like it.