Over the weekend, I noticed that Hidden House Coffee, long a favorite stop when anywhere near San Juan Capistrano, was making itself much more accessible—to me, and to everybody else.
The indie microroaster has had a single, very charming location in the city’s Los Rios Historic District since 2010, but is breaking out in a big way, quadrupling its size in a very short period of time. Two new locations are already up and running, in fact, the result of last month’s acquisition of ChocXO coffee shops in Costa Mesa and Lake Forest. And a downtown Santa Ana location, in the works for 10 months, is due to open in May.
Expanding quickly to four locations will undoubtedly be a little bit of a shock to the system of the very hands-on coffee company. Owner Ben Briggs says, “We are all about quality versus quantity. The hardest challenge for the existing cafes is the fact that we are a ‘new’ business going into a business that locals loved. We really just want the opportunity to gain the previous customers’ loyalty.”
All the Hidden House locations will carry ChocXO retail chocolate products, and the ganache-like liquid chocolate that makes luscious mocha drinks remains, thank goodness—only now, of course, mixed with Hidden House’s superior, hand-roasted coffee, and strategically available in four different corners of Orange County. (Well, three corners, until DTSA opens next month.) Seriously, how often does something that’s already good get even better?