Echo Park’s Eightfold Coffee is the stuff minimalists dream of— a barista counter made of white brick, abstract paintings scattered amidst white walls, and white marble table tops accompanied with small (white) metal stools. Everything is sharp, bright and pure. But it’s not just the clean lines that are attracting LA’s art scene to this hip jaunt. Owner, Soo Kim sought to create a space where her customers could come to connect with others through their different experiences. “Our desire to share is what makes our community grow and ultimately enriches our lives,” she says.
A graphic designer with an impressive education (Rhode Island School of Design and a master’s degree in Graphic Communications at NYU), Soo migrated from NY to LA with her husband and two kids after falling in love with the weather and diversity. “I wanted to create a locally inspiring and inspired gathering space,” says Soo, “One with good coffee, good people, good conversation and a good experience.” Motivated by John Maeda’s Laws of Simplicity, she called on her artist and designer friends for help in designing her unique vision for an LA cafe.
The name, Eightfold, she borrowed from Hermann Hesse’s novel Siddhartha, a story of a man’s spiritual journey of self-discovery. Coming from the belief that the true nature of reality is not simply learning and knowing, but rather the journey of life, she explains, “Eightfold Path is an attempt to change patterns of thought and behavior to achieve enlightenment.” She lists these eight as: 1. Understanding; 2. Thought; 3. Speech; 4. Action; 5. Livelihood; 6. Effort; 7. Mindfulness; 8. Concentration. These traits are what she hopes Eightfold embodies and what ultimately attracts her clientele.
In addition, Soo wants to carry only the most premium of products. Eightfold’s coffee is brewed exclusively from Portland’s Heart Roasters, and the tea is from Ippodo, the best quality green tea out of Kyoto, Japan. In addition to its drink selection, the hip cafe is also equally known for its local art and the publications it features. In collaboration with & Pens, they offer a variety of rare and small press books, zines and magazines.
“I’m happy to provide a creative, unusual and fun space with a unique experience,” shares Soo, who is always looking for new products to offer and different ways to contribute to the community. Through Eightfold, she plans to continue sharing her passion and love for art and design by hosting various exhibitions and events. (They are currently doing a pop-up at The 14th Factory, a monumental, multiple-media art installation located in an industrial warehouse in Lincoln Heights.)
A refreshing change from other coffee shops in LA who bank on the fact that their customers need them, Eightfold thrives on meeting creative people and it shows. Their vibe is as simple as its white exterior, they’re there to connect… they’re there eightfold.
Lindsay DeLong is the Managing Editor of The Fullest. Find her at firstname.lastname@example.org or on social media via @lindizzaster.