Nick Griffith

Entrepreneur

Los Angeles

Nick Griffith has worn just about every hat in the coffee business — barista, café owner, specialty roaster, sales representative and food service consultant. And after being in the industry for more than a decade, it’s no surprise that Griffith is well known in both the coffee and restaurant communities for his attention to design, innovative menus and specialty beverages. As a co-founder of Tonx, a coffee sourcing, roasting and subscription service dedicated to the at-home customer, Griffith focuses on developing the e-commerce subscription business while trying to find new ways to introduce people to great coffee. Prior to joining the team at Tonx, Griffith was working on Intelligentsia’s project in Los Angeles.

  • On April 8, 2013
  • On April 8, 2013
    Jennifer Kester is now following Nick Griffith
  • On April 8, 2013
    Nick Griffith answered the question: Nick Griffith

    What are the best things to see and do in Los Angeles?

    My picks for best things to do in Los Angeles are:

    1. Hike through Griffith Park.
    2. Visit the farmers markets.
    3. Go to any of the amazing museums.
    4. Eat authentic food from nearly every culture.
    5. Relax.
  • On April 8, 2013
    Nick Griffith answered the question: Nick Griffith

    What are the best coffee shops in Los Angeles?

    If you are looking for the best coffee shops in Los Angeles, Intelligentsia is always very consistent, as well as Proof Bakery. Cognoscenti Coffee in Culver City is great. And I’d probably add Sqirl Kitchen to the list.
  • On April 8, 2013
    Nick Griffith answered the question: Nick Griffith

    What are Nick Griffith’s favorite restaurants?

    Gary Menes is my favorite chef — period. His restaurant Le Comptoir has been “popping up” in small spaces that seat around 12 to 14 people for just over a year. He and his sous chef, Wesley Avila, prepare everything right in front of you, omakase. Showcasing ingredients is their specialty. There’s no dress code, no pretense; just some of the best food in L.A.

    Few people in L.A. pull off modern cuisine the way Michael Voltaggio does at Ink. The technique never overshadows the ingredients or the flavor, and every dish is like a mini adventure full of unexpected surprises. It has great wines and a solid cocktail program.

    If you took recipes from The French Laundry and spliced them into a Vietnamese cookbook, and then used a modern architecture textbook as inspiration for the plating, you still wouldn’t cook as well as Jordan Kahn at Red Medicine. Jordan treats vegetables with the respect commonly reserved for precious stones. Get the Brussels sprouts, seasonal legumes and the banh mi. Wines and cocktails are always on point here.
  • On April 8, 2013
    Nick Griffith answered the question: Nick Griffith

    What does Nick Griffith always travel with?

    I can’t live without my Filson Sportsman duffel. It’s a perfect weekend bag. I’ve managed to pack for 10 days with it. I also always travel with an AWS pocket gram scale, sample bags of coffee, Altoids, Field Notes and a Tonx travel kid for making coffee.
  • On April 8, 2013
    Nick Griffith answered the question: Nick Griffith

    What’s the best trip Nick Griffith has ever taken?

    Last year, my wife and I took our girls on vacation to San Francisco. We walked Fisherman’s Wharf and Ghirardelli Square, but we had the most fun at the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park. With walking paths and gardens at every turn — including a large dahlia garden — there was a lot to see and plenty of meadows to discover. Having the family together and seeing my girls so happy makes it easily the best trip I’ve ever taken.
  • On April 8, 2013
    Nick Griffith answered the question: Nick Griffith

    How did Nick Griffith get into the coffee world?

    I got a job at a café the day after I graduated high school. I fell in love with the service part of the job before I did the coffee part. A year later and at a different café, I started to notice the differences in the coffee we were serving. It was no looking back after that. I owned a café for just over two years, roasted for almost a year then signed on with Intelligentsia’s project in L.A.
  • On April 8, 2013
    Nick Griffith answered the question: Nick Griffith

    What’s the best coffee Nick Griffith has ever had?

    The 2009 Finca La Maravilla from Guatemala. That particular year produced the sweetest, most versatile coffee I’ve ever had. No matter the brew method, flavors of muscovado sugar and orange Creamsicle were present with a clarity I’d never experienced before.
  • On April 8, 2013
    Nick Griffith answered the question: Nick Griffith

    What is Nick Griffith working on in 2013?

    We’re keeping most of our business moves extremely quiet. Business-wise, we’re revamping our website to a pretty large degree. Our customers will have a lot more activities and a lot more to play with on our site. We’ll probably be a little bit more public facing and interactive as well.
  • On April 8, 2013
    Nick Griffith answered the question: Nick Griffith

    How does Nick Griffith stay ahead of his competition?

    What’s funny is our competition, for the most part, ignores what we’re trying to do. I think most people think of our competition as everybody else in coffee. For the most part, everybody else in coffee is focusing retail or wholesale. We really kind of want nothing to do with that. Our focus is just consumers at home. That really sets us apart. So everything we do is going to be somewhat new and innovative for our industry because nobody’s really doing that.
  • On April 8, 2013
    Nick Griffith answered the question: Nick Griffith

    What makes a successful entrepreneur to Nick Griffith?

    It’s a combination of things. Tenacity, for sure. Having a clear vision of where you want your business to go; but also being flexible and recognizing what part does not and will not work, and being able to adapt and change so that it will. Most successful companies started off trying to do and be something else. That is, until they realized that there was a different market that was actually viable and a different business needed to be created to adapt to that market, and that’s when they became giants.
  • On April 8, 2013
    Nick Griffith answered the question: Nick Griffith

    What is Nick Griffith’s most proud of in his career?

    Probably not burning any bridges. Coffee is a pretty incestuous industry. I always tell people that specialty coffee is very small and all 40 of us know each other. I think trying to go from position to position and company to company while maintaining friendships and close contacts is tough. Obviously, there will always be egos involved and there will always be disagreements, but maintaining those close friendships is extremely important.
  • On April 8, 2013
    Nick Griffith answered the question: Nick Griffith

    What are Nick Griffith’s tips for young entrepreneurs?

    Read a lot of books. Reading lots of books on what other entrepreneurs have done is very insightful. Have a clear focus and keep true to your vision, but do not be so married to it that when your vision isn’t a possibility, you go down with the ship. Make sure that you can adapt and change — I think that’s kind of the life and death of a young entrepreneur right there.
  • On April 8, 2013
    Nick Griffith answered the question: Nick Griffith

    What are some struggles that Nick Griffith overcame along the way?

    Tonx originally did not set out to be what we are right now, so we’ve already had to adapt and change just in the small year and a half that we’ve been in existence. And that’ll probably happen again. For us, because everyone on my team is fairly young — we’re all in our 30s — and this is really the biggest project that we’ve probably been working on together, we all have skin in the game. This is truly our company. We’re not working for somebody else. So dropping our egos, staying open, but still maintaining a vision and staying strong when we truly believe in something, and having respect for one another, that’s been kind of a challenge. But that’s what makes us pretty amazing.