Business Spotlight: Recreational Coffee
Recreational Coffee began as a recreational pastime for recreational therapist Bobby Hernandez. That’s how Bobby and his wife Correne got the name.
For all of the time Bobby worked as a recreational therapist, his passion for specialty coffee was working on him. At home, he got into brewing and experimenting with how changing the blend of coffee beans, the grind, and the amount of coffee used would change the flavor profile of the coffee.
He invited family members and friends over to taste his experiments. Then, he started taking his blends to farmer’s markets and opening pop-up shops in different parts of Los Angeles. In 2015, he quit his job and opened a cafe in Long Beach.
The business started as a multi-roaster café that featured coffee from several different roasters, but Bobby saw the breweries in the area creating their own brews. He wanted his cafe to have its own roasts. He started the transition with the espressos. Now, Bobby is the head roaster. He works with an assistant roaster and one of the cafe managers. They look for sweet, complex, balanced profiles. Correne designs the packaging and labels and also handles the financial operations.
The cafe offers two ordering options. You can come in where you might see Bobby and Correne, sit at a table, and enjoy your food and the lively atmosphere influenced by Bobby’s love of hip hop and punk rock. You can also order online and pick up your food.
They have a large selection of drink choices. They offer espressos, cappuccinos, cortado, lattes, mocha, iced coffee, espresso shakes, slow coffee (pour-over), and sea salt affogato among their coffees and drinks. You can also get an iced coffee growler and bags of whole bean coffee.
Their food selections include a sausage egg muffin, bacon and egg sandwich, bagels, vegan donuts, croissants, hummus cucumber toast, avocado toast, and hazelnut strawberry toast. These items are perfect accompaniments to their coffee.
You can purchase bags of Bobby’s roasts to enjoy at home in the shop, or you can order online.
The café shop and the website offer four different roasts available in 12-ounce and 5-pound bags. The roasts include Therapy Blend, Darn Good, and Flavorful (D.G.A.F.) Decaf - Colombia Huila, Guatemala Hunapu, and Ethiopia Gora Kone.
Therapy Blend, the house espresso, uses cane sugar, milk chocolate, and toasted almond. It tastes like dark chocolate, orange, and baking spices.
The D.G.A.F. Decaf has the flavor of orange, nutmeg, and black tea. It’s decaffeinated using ethyl acetate (fermented sugar cane).
The Guatemala Hunapu profile blends the flavors of strawberry, peaches, and raw honey.
The Ethiopia Gora Kone tastes like pineapple, lemongrass, and peach iced tea.
Give yourself a surprise with a Roaster's Choice subscription. You’ll have a 12-ounce or 5-pound bag of a roast mailed to you on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis. The café ships orders on Mondays. Order by midnight on Sunday and your coffee will be roasted and shipped on Monday.
You can also purchase t-shirts, hats, and phone cases online.
Other coffee shops and cafes can order wholesale.
As a roaster, Recreational Coffee supplies other coffee shops. Going above and beyond, they also offer those shops advice and help. Bobby and the roasting team provide tips if a shop is having trouble brewing any type of coffee.
If a shop is having trouble finding equipment, Bobby and the crew will partner in the search. They will also help shops create blends and provide samples of their own blends.
As they say on their website, Bobby and Correne love people. In fact, they carry their love of people into their relationships with the farmers who supply their coffee beans.
Coffee Bean and Dairy Sources
Roasters have a choice. They can source their beans online from a catalog, or they can travel from country to country and meet the farmers. When they travel, they see the farms where the beans are grown and try the coffee produced from the beans on-site. When roasters travel to the farms, they make their deals directly with the farmers. They eliminate the middle people, the warehouse and the catalog producer, and both the roaster and the farmer achieve a better deal.
Roasters with Fair-Trade certification must start at the Fair-Trade price as the minimum they pay. Roasters who source their beans through direct trade with the farmers often pay more.
When roasters travel, they also see the impoverished local communities around the farms. These roasters become involved. They listen, and they bring their resources into partnership with the communities. They help the communities find ways to improve the water supply, access to medical care, schools, and other concerns that need addressing to improve the people's lives in the area.
Bobby deals directly with farmers using the direct trade method of sourcing his coffee beans, and he pays two to three times the Fair-Trade price.
In addition, the café further supports sustainability and environmental concerns by sourcing their organic almond milk and organic dairy products locally.
If Bobby and Correne care about these details, then you know they care about your cup of coffee. You can understand why they are among the best coffee shops in Long Beach.
Location and Hours of Operation
They are located at 237 Long Beach Boulevard, Suite A in Long Beach. They are open Monday through Friday from 7 am to 7 pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 7 am to 8 pm.