Ask the Experts: Kyle Glanville, G&B Coffee

by Jessica on October 25, 2012

Good coffee is a big part of our household, but it’s nothing compared to Kyle Glanville’s. A familiar face to Intelligentsia Silver Lake regulars, the father of two very young kids just joined forces with business partner/fellow Intelli macher Charles Babinksi to open G&B Coffee at Sqirl on Virgil in East Hollywood. (Read more about it, and I would encourage anyone who finds Sqirl goods and can splurge on them to spoil your children rotten with Jessica Koslow’s amazing jams and other preserved goodies.) The cozy space has become a place to run into neighborhood people and fellow coffee & tea nerds over breakfast, lunch, or a quick refueling. Its clever design and standing room only bar set-up is conducive to conversation with the friendly super knowledgable dudes making the drinks, and maybe some new folks, too. It’s also always lovely to talk with Jessica, although she’s often too busy, you know, actually cooking preserves and the food she now serves. There’s not much room for kids in there, but for what it’s worth, Kyle’s own can be seen hanging out under the coffee bar (or for the other, in the baby sling). Kyle chatted with me — coincidentally on his son’s fourth birthday! — about managing the grind of being at the forefront of the coffee/tea business while having a family.

Do you think working in the coffee industry is well suited to being a parent?

It is. The one thing is we are part of a coop preschool, so I don’t get to experience much of that. But I get done here ideally at 4:00, and I can take my work home and have a whole night with the kids and do the wind-down thing. So that’s nice. And also my wife and I are approximately on the same schedule. Well, I wake up at 5:00.

You wake up first?

I do by necessity to do this thing. I wake up before anybody. It’s great. They can come here and spend time so I can see my kids here. It’s a blessing because I have the energy.

How was the transition when your first one came along?

Well, I had a very secure job with paid time off and all of that. We were opening the Venice café at the same time when he was just a baby. That project nearly killed me! Towards the end it was 6:00 in the morning ’til midnight. I think the hardship is that I’ve always had very involved jobs that are not 40 hours. And when I was overseeing retail at Intelligentsia, those stores are open 16 hours a day, 7 days a week. The only days when I could reasonably feel like I was taking a break were Thanksgiving and Christmas. And then I decided to keep us open on Thanksgiving. With this and also there [Intelligentsia] where you’re always on the clock, you always have to be ready to take a call, and that messes with you a little bit as a parent. It’s definitely not a 9-to-5 situation.

Also you traveled.

I traveled a LOT. There was a year when I was 33% of the time on the road.

And your wife was in the coffee business too, right? Tell me how you met.

So, we met over the espresso machine. We went to the same school, we were in the same program in Seattle, which was an acting program. The first show that I saw was her senior project. She was so great, I always admired her. She came into a coffee bar I was working at [Seattle’s Victrola] and she had three kids on her arm because she was a nanny. We began an over-the-espresso machine flirtation/courtship. She went from the nanny gig to this little bakery to Vivace, and she became the best barista anywhere.

That’s no joke, working at Vivace.

Vivace is a place where people have been making coffee for 20 years. They have their rules, they’re an institution. They’re relied upon. That was my introduction to this new coffee thing.

Do you let your son taste coffee?

All the time.

What does he like?

He likes any coffee where it’s like that much [gestures a small amount] and all milk. So he doesn’t really have a preference except that there be lots of milk. When he was 2 and he started to perceive everything that was happening around him, he started to play “coffee bar” in the house. He’d pull this little table out, put cups on it, and say, “Come to my coffee bar, Papa!” That was not my doing. He went off on that on his own.

Sqirl with G&B Coffee 

720 N. Virgil Ave., East Hollywood
(213) 394-6526

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