Behind the Bar: Hidden House Coffee Roasters


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Center Bar at Hidden House Coffee Roasters. Photo by Stefan Junir

[O]pening in March of 2017, Hidden House Coffee Roasters’ Santa Ana location builds upon owner Ben Briggs’ dreams of having a mom-and-pop café that caters to its community. Hidden House opened in its namesake location, a 120-year-old house tucked under a canopy of trees in the historic district of San Juan Capistrano, in 2010. Briggs has since seen many changes to his business, including the opening and closing of other locations, and the addition of “Roasters” to its name in 2013 with the installation of said equipment. But one thing that’s always been there is the owner’s commitment to a high-quality customer experience.

Photo by Stefan Junir

“I have always wanted to create a space that people want to hang out in. Something warm, something that feels like our customers can belong too,” says Briggs. “With this store, we kept that in mind: creating a space [where] we can provide great coffee with a great experience.”

An American flag proudly hangs over the door in homage to Briggs’ status as a Marine Corps veteran.

The 2,400-square-foot warehouse space, which dates back to 1914, in downtown Santa Ana welcomes customers with its industrial-yet-warm aesthetics, which include brick walls, cheery greenery, and a roll-up garage door that leads out to a spacious back patio, while the center bar enables easy conversation between baristas and customers. An 18-kilo roaster and full-size kitchen ensure freshly roasted coffee and homemade pastries are ready to entice patrons at any given moment.

Hidden House uses a Curtis Seraphim for pour-over brewing (left). Roaster Jon Dail weighs green beans before roasting (right).

“We picked this space for a couple reasons, but the main reasons were to find a space that we could incorporate all of the aspects that make Hidden House: roasting, coffee bar, and bakery,” says Briggs. “We also wanted a space that was unique and different than most retail places you see in Orange County.”

Hidden House sources its coffee from companies including Caravela Coffee, Collaborative Coffee Source, and Bodhi Leaf Coffee Traders, as well as directly with producers. Along with coffee and espresso offerings, the café serves matcha lattes, tea, and kombucha and cold brew on tap. Soon, customers will even be able to take home growlers filled with Hidden House’s cold brew.

Apple cinnamon scones (left) and cold brew on tap (right).

Fresh pastries are baked in-house daily; the extensive offerings include croissants, biscuits, muffins, bagel bombs, banana bread, cinnamon rolls, and more. Jack-o-lantern cupcakes, pumpkin pie, gingerbread men cookies, and other festive items make an appearance throughout the year as well.

“We want to be able to provide excellent products,” says Briggs, “but overall provide an experience that makes our customers want to be here versus us needing them to be here.”

Hidden House Coffee Roasters
511 E Santa Ana Blvd. Santa Ana, CA 92701
Mon.–Fri., 6:30 a.m.–6 p.m.; Sat.–Sun., 7:30 a.m.–6 p.m.

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Caitlin Carter

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