Written by Jordan Michelman.

Sometimes a coffee bar just jumps out at you, immediately establishing itself as urgent and essential. In late 2023 I found myself walking into just such a cafe: File Systems of Coffee, the new Los Angeles coffee bar from founder Royce Rollins. He’s a decades-long design and tech veteran whose CV spans the worlds of fashion, art, and major media companies, from Disney to Flight Club to Yahoo. The feeling inside File Systems is deceptively soft and quietly futuristic but with a conceptual alien-industrial element that settles in over the course of your pour-over. It is also distinctly and utterly Los Angeles, filtering design elements from film, international travel (in particular Japan), and the city’s endlessly multi-national multicultural overlap of communities, languages, ideas, and expressions. 

Simply put, this is one of the most exciting new coffee bars in America today. We talked to Royce Rollins to learn more. 

Tell me how you describe what this place is to someone who might be unfamiliar.

Royce Rollins: My team is trained to keep things simplistic. We don’t hit you over the head with our concept; we want you to explore this space, and discover the rabbit hole of references at your own leisure. One way to explain what we do is we’re an internet cafe with a straight face. We’re the new internet cafe. And that means many different things.  

You serve roasters from London, from Northern Europe, from across America. How do you curate those choices? And how does this express your ethos?

We’re looking for alignment. We like to choose coffees that create affinity. I like to straddle both mass and scarce in everything I do. There’s a streetwear aspect to that. Ikea is cool, but so is a really bespoke furniture piece. We want to offer more accessible coffees, but also Geshas. For us, it’s about philosophy and approach. 

I was the original remote worker. Pre-pandemic, I learned being a corporate cubicle was not for me. There weren’t many prototypes for that when I was young. I used to work for Yahoo way back in the day when it was the most popular internet company in the world, and being a young Black kid back then, there weren’t many frames of reference for what I was doing. I was also into fashion and music. I was building early algorithms and crude versions of AI. Remote working allowed me to travel the world and discover coffee.

Japan has a huge influence on me. I started traveling and living there in the early 2000s, which was a very important time for Japanese design, fashion, and architecture. Going to cafes that combined art, music, architecture, and design in Tokyo led me to a ten-year journey of studying coffee. This is how we got here. 

What does working with La Marzocco mean to you? 

You notice what’s special about our Linea PB? We never unpacked it. The tape you see on the machine is the original stuff from the box. 

That’s wild. I have never seen that in a cafe.

Some people see it and freak out. But people I know from my background, where I come from in the art and design and tech world, they see it and love it.

Working with a La Marzocco speaks to that same idea of being simultaneously mass access and bespoke. I do not want to change something that’s not broke. The Linea is a workhorse. It is classic design. It’s reliable. I’m an all-or-nothing person; I am always wearing something that is simultaneously bespoke and mass. And I want to give people something new that is also something old. It’s like Star Wars; it’s futuristic but then you learn the Millennium Falcon is an old ship. The designs in Blade Runner and Alien are like that too. It’s far away in the future, and yet relatable. Something about it is alien, and something about it is familiar. That’s File Systems of Coffee in a nutshell: new and far away, but relatable, too. A future worn in. 

Visit File System of Coffee’s official website and follow them on Instagram