It’s kind of hard to find Skidrokyo’s latest coffee cave but you’ll know you’ve arrived when you spot the tattoo parlor and barbershop that flank GiorgiPorgi. Next thing you know you’re walking through a moss tunnel that opens up to a modern minimalist concrete design dream. You won’t find any tables or WiFi in here just a long concrete bar with acrylic stools which means you won’t see people zoned out on their laptops. Wait is it even legal to sell coffee without WiFi? Yes and that’s the way the owners, Giorgia Cirillo and Christopher Grotjahn, want it. They’re here to stir up DTLA’s coffee culture.
“For me, it was weird drinking coffee where everyone is sitting in a chair and using a computer. We don’t drink coffee like that in Italy. It’s like a bar, you walk in you get your espresso, you shoot it, you leave or you stay there for an hour in conversation,” says 21-year-old, Milan-born Cirillo. She may be young but she’s already lived all over the world in places like England, Kenya, and India. She’s whip-smart, friendly and knows exactly what she wants your experience at her coffee bar to be: You’re here to listen to the day’s playlist, talk — not type — with other humans and grab a legit cup of coffee.
“I’m Italian. I grew up with my grandma drinking 12 espressos a day and this is not a joke. When I was three or four my mom used to get angry at grandma because she used to give me a biberon (bottle) with a little coffee, sugar, and water,” says Cirillo. She knows her coffee and you’ll taste it after drinking her popular Shakerato, a classic Italian afternoon pick-me-up. It’s simply espresso on ice, shaken, not stirred with a little milk if you want and then topped off with a pocky stick. Cirillo says she’s all about educating people on how to drink a cup of quality coffee, not coffee drowning in too much milk or too much sugar. Grotjahn says their mission is to simply strip coffee culture down to what matters, “Stay true to coffee, introducing coffee like it should.” Good coffee doesn’t need a disguise.
Cirillo and Grotjahn are quick to credit their coffee sources for their top-notch pours — DTLA’s Coffee Colab and Napa Valley’s Flying Goat. But their attention to detail doesn’t end with the relationships they’ve nurtured, you’ll also spot it in their cups. They co-designed the much fawned over tilted cups they serve their coffee in — a collaboration with local ceramicist Eunbi Cho. Their espresso cups alone are a neat lesson in how design can adjust your experience of a classic. The cup is a conical ceramic cup that creates a mini-vortex that swirls all the elements of a good espresso — sourness, bitterness, and sweetness — into one sip, unlike a regular espresso cup where you taste the layers in separate stages.
“I want this place to make you escape if it’s one minute, five minutes, an hour,” Cirillo suggests you go and have your first cup of coffee elsewhere if you need to get some work done and then when you’re ready to relax — come on over to GiorgiPorgi — she‘ll be waiting for you.
Written by Linda Hosmer
Photographed by Stephen LaMarche