Equator Coffees Opens First Time in L.A

Equator Coffee at Ivy Station

Famous Bay Area Coffee Company arrives in Los Angeles

Equator Coffees, the sustainable B Corp coffee roasting company that is known for its third wave coffee services, has opened it first-ever Southern California cafe in Culver City at Ivy Station. Founded by partners Helen Russell and Brooke McDonnell, the company has been craft roasting in the Bay Area for over 25 years, known for their award-winning roasts and sustainability within the field of coffee. This beautiful location is 1400 square feet, 50+ seat indoor-outdoor cafe joins Equator Coffees’ ten beloved Northern California outposts. Their focus on quality, sustainability and social responsibility makes them a welcome addition to the Los Angeles area, and the thriving community of Culver City. .

Helen Russell, Co-founder and CEO of Equator Coffees & Teas

In 1995, Equator Founders Helen Russell and Brooke McDonnell began their path to roasting delicious coffee in a garage at Marin County. They both possess 25+ years of having the obsessive commitment  to green coffee sourcing and quality roasting expertise, creating sustainable & fair trade coffee practices all in the name of a remarkable coffee experience for consumers. So today I am lucky to say that I had the chance to speak to Helen Russell, who really gave us a good insight to what makes Equator Coffee so special within the Coffee Industry.

Helen Russell

What got you started with Equator Coffee?

“We came down to the Bay Area and opened two coffee shops called Europa. That’s where we learned to choose our roaster, choose our equipment, coffee equipment, where we were behind the bar for two years. My partner Brooke wanted to know everything from the type of soil coffee grew in, what’s the elevation… She wanted to know everything. So she was buying green coffee from New York, where she would start roasting it and tasting it, understanding the different roasts/blends. That is where the name Equator came from, because coffee grows along the Equator. I came in and started to sell different coffee equipment and brewing equipment, helping new coffee shops set up. Built the business through Whole Sale.”

When did you all open your first Coffee Shop?

“We opened up our first shop in a little surf shop, within Marin. I spent 1.5 years running the shop and Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter, came in and loved the place. The next thing you know, it became the polo lounge for tech people to hang out in. Then the Head of Global Food Service from LinkedIn came in tried the coffee and loved the coffee so much that they ended up opening our cafes through out the LinkedIn Site!”

Now Equator is in L.A, what is the aim?

“We want to create a special community with our customers. You just don’t sell coffee, you have to tell a story about the farmer. What we call the Chain of Wellbeing. Our first harvest we won the Good Food Awards, it was all about respecting where coffee comes from, the chain of people who have brought that very drink to our cup. I think coffee has been good to us, as a people. We started out from that garage, we are able to take care of our people, where good coffee leads to very good things. We want to continue that and grow from there.”

Interior Design of Equator

Equator Coffees, pursuit of the Good Cup and Well Being

Thanks to Helen and her wonderful insights about Equator, it shows that she is passionate about more than just expanding the company. That Equator Coffee is all about inspiring others to do good, while enjoying that delicious cup, that everything we do has a responsibility that follows it. What makes Equator Coffee special is because of that pursuit of quality and care, so that in itself is inspiring.

Equator Coffees collaborated with Kellie Patry Design to create a cafe inspired by the California topography and the metro line which runs parallel to the Ivy Station location and seamlessly flows into the building’s adjacent public greenspace. The streamlined interior is imbued with color, futurism, and playfulness, and the design connects the interior and patio with curving white oak benches, offering a subtle homage to metro design. The cafe features details like a tile mural by Thomas Williams mimicking ocean waves, and Louis Poulsen’s pendants wash light over the dining room. On designing the new cafe, Patry reflects: “Forward-thinking, Helen and Brooke’s journey along the Equator is at the core of my inspiration. Equator Coffees is a tireless savvy welcoming company led by equally stirring women. I think of the cafe as Flapper Chrome morphed into Espresso Futurism, at a metro stop in Culver City.”

So come visit today! Equator Coffees is a retail and wholesale coffee roaster & coffee farm owner with ten retail cafes throughout Northern California. They just opened their first Southern California shop, in Culver City, Los Angeles. Throughout the years, Equator Coffees has been one of the leaders on industry-leading sourcing and roasting practices, and has forged progressive partnerships with Michelin-starred chefs, specialty grocers, tech campuses, and more! Also, they are Women-owned, LGBTQ-founded and an early adopter of Fair Trade certification, plus Equator Coffees is the first California coffee roaster to achieve B-Corp Certification, which makes them even more special in the world of coffee.

Espresso Shot

Daily, 7:30 am – 3:30 pm.

8900 Venice Blvd. #105, Culver City


Photo courtesy of Equator Coffees


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