coffee shop.: Neat Coffee, Costa Mesa, CA

they got my number


Neat Coffee, Costa Mesa

I know what you’re thinking. Or, maybe I don’t. But, let me take a shot at it. You could be thinking, these are numbers, an address perhaps. and, so?

At first I didn’t have a follow up for my internal ‘and, so.’ These were/are numbers against stucco, that drew me in, that marked I arrived to my destination an hour drive south from LA to Costa Mesa. 

But what was it about these numbers that now seemed to want some significance, a visual placeholder in my memory.  I don’t know anyone from the year 1922, nor, is there a musical album that hints to the year, nor is there a literary reference that makes these four digits something worthy of giving me pause.

1922 is the address to a coffee shop named Neat, that I drove to on a cloudless Sunday morning so that I could have coffee. 

In honor of its namesake, you can call that Neat. Neat is a coffee shop in Costa Mesa recently relocated to this address as a stand-alone bungalow of sorts, where a lot of ideas about coffee, community and connection are playing out amidst pastel colors, a La Marzocco espresso machine and multiple roasters on bar. 

Visually, it’s appealing which you may not be able to tell from these four numbers on this stucco wall, but there’s always another opportunity to show you that or you can visit them at their handle to see. 


Neat Coffee, Costa Mesa

I believe 1922 spoke to my inner minimalist. upon entering I ended up with a seat at the bar. I ordered a one and one – espresso and a macchiato – with a bowl of breakfast granola. I sat in between two sets of guests. To my left, there were two women – one who spoke about her soon to be entrance into college and the jitters that come with firsts – first professors, first homework assignments, first tests. And to the right of me, was a woman reading Michelle Obama’s ‘On Becoming’ which matched the palette of Neat. She scooched her sweater, tote bag and form to make room for me and I was obliged. 

As I sat there, music escaped me for the chatter that filled this bungalow whose interior oat tones with accents of brown leather in seat backs made for the comfiest setting to watch the sun light that was streaming through the doorway, get disrupted as person after person walked in: that was neat.  

I don’t know how far people drove to come here or even walked, but once here they had the same Sunday morning objective as I, wanting something to drink and needed a place to do it in.  

1922 is a number of a place for those who want a little time with others and themselves: it’s a neat little coffee shop.