I’ve heard that a neighborhood’s tipping point can be traced to specialty coffee. If that’s true, downtown Santa Ana is well on its way. The main drag now has a Portola Coffee outpost at 4th Street Market and Hopper & Burr, a stylish new coffee bar from longtime Portola lieutenant Truman Severson, who previously operated as a pop-up at nearby Little Sparrow.
Hopper & Burr, named for two of the most important parts in a burr coffee grinder, is white from wall to wall and glass-fronted on two sides. Severson sources coffee beans from multiple roasters and origins, rotating frequently, but promises “clean, sweet and complex coffees.”
Hopper & Burr features more signature beverages than most coffee bars, including a Frozen Sweet Latte that turns to slush after two hours of churning with espresso, milk and sugar. However, I opted for Nico #2 ($4). The original Caffe Nico originated at Espresso Vivace, David Schomer’s famed Seattle coffeehouse, and consists of espresso, steamed half-and-half, orange syrup, vanilla syrup, orange zest, and cinnamon. Schomer named the drink for an “itinerant calligrapher.” Nico #2 deftly balances a double shot of Saint Frank espresso with house peach syrup, steamed half-and-half, and dusting of cinnamon. Clearly coffee is on the rise in DTSA. Now all the neighborhood needs is a calligrapher.