FAVORITES: COFFEE SHOPS TO CELEBRATE NATIONAL COFFEE DAY!

 As two recovering Seattleites, we are a duo that sure LOVES our coffee (morning, noon, and night). When we first moved to LA over 7 years ago, the coffee scene was still pretty meager, and nothing makes us more excited these days than to boast about the incredible variety of coffeeshops and coffee roasters across this glittery town.

One of our favorite things about My Best LA Day is that we get to unearth, taste-test, and even re-discover the best coffee in each and every neighborhood.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, because we have SO many others that deserve mention, but in honor of National Coffee Day, we wanted to put together a list of some of our favorite coffee shops across the neighborhoods we have covered so far.

Let us know if you have a favorite that we missed! And if you see one in here that you want to try, don’t forget to take a look at the full post for that neighborhood for tips on other things to do, see and taste after your delicious caffeine fix!

CAFECITO - Frogtown

This hipster-friendly, farmers’-market-favorite coffeeshop now has a pop-up in Frogtown — with the possibility of a more permanent space in the future. The espresso is always on point, and our iced lattes were much needed as temperatures surged past 95 degrees. In what could now be called “Frogtown-style,” the cafe has a counter in a small three-walled overhang, but the majority of seating is outdoors.

(At the intersection of Gilroy and Ripple, close to the LA River Bike Path)

MENOTTI'S - Venice Beach

Oh to the Em to the Gee! This place serves up a seriously good cup of coffee. And it’s no wonder: the lovely gentleman running the place (Christopher Abel Alameda) received his training at our favorite coffeeshop OF ALL TIME – Espresso Vivace in Seattle. Vinyl records, a community vibe, and perfectly pulled shots? Worth every penny.

(56 Windward Avenue, Venice)

TIERRA MIA - DTLA: Financial District

Coffee culture is really starting to take hold in Los Angeles, with a wave of new coffee bars springing up around town (Stumptown CoffeeCafe Vita and Handsome Coffee Roasters, to name a few). Many of them are located in and around downtown, but Tierra Mia is special, because the coffeehouse is so uniquely LA. Yes, the beans are superb, but this roaster started in the southeast Latino community of South Gate, and serves “Latin-inspired coffee.”

We ordered a Horchata Latte and a soy Coco Loco, which were both incredibly delightful and unlike anything you’d find at your average corner coffeeshop. The company also bakes all its pastry offerings, and the Tres Leches Muffin topped our list of items to try next.

(653 S. Spring Street, Los Angeles)

CONSERVATORY - Culver City

It was early, and we needed coffee stat. Thankfully, we were within walking distance of The Conservatory for Coffee, Tea & Cocoa, a locals’ coffeeshop that is serious about it’s beans and brewing. They roast all their own coffee beans, and offer a medium cup of drip for $1.70 (a latte is $2.45). Something we can stand behind. Pastries are from the nearby Essential Chocolate (another must-visit in the area).

Insider’s tip: when lines are long and all you want is a cup o’ joe, there’s a “Coffee Only” line in the back, where you can quickly get a drip.

(10117 W Washington Boulevard, Culver City)

PRIMERA TAZA COFFEE HOUSE - Boyle Heights

The sun had disappeared behind the clouds, and we could definitely feel autumn in the air on this chilly Los Angeles day. We decided to find a warm drink and a little pick-me-up at Primera Taza Coffee House. It’s a quaint little cafe, and the chatty barista recommended their “most popular” Taza de Mocha Latte (made with Mexican chocolate). We also ordered a soy pumpkin latte, and ogled the pastries from Homeboy Cafe just up in the street in Chinatown. The barista talked to us about the theater and music scenes in Boyle Heights, while we admired the colorful artwork on the walls. Yet another warm and welcoming spot with an almost-enviable community vibe.

(1850 E 1st Street, Los Angeles)

LAMILL COFFEE - Silverlake

The coffee at LAMILL is described as “magical” and as they like to say, the baristas here treat it like a fine wine. This isn’t just a coffee shop though – there’s a full menu in the cafe. The food isn’t nearly as good as the coffee, but the ambiance is lively and the pastries are stupid good. We had the brioche donut holes with raspberry jam (OMG) and the most amazing chocolate chip cookie (baked fresh every morning with two different types of chocolate chips and sea salt). A neighborhood staple.

(1636 Silverlake Boulevard, Los Angeles)

ESPRESSO PROFETA - Westwood

Now this is what we call a real coffee house. First of all, it is one of the few coffee shops outside of Seattle that serves coffee beans from Vivace (and, if you remember from previous posts, we are geeks for Espresso Vivace) From what we hear, one of the Espresso Profeta owners was once a barista at Vivace.

And secondly, this charming coffee shop has not only a cozy and inviting indoor area for sipping, studying and socializing, but a magical little brick patio that feels almost European. And if you are a cult follower of Vivace like we are, it’s important to note that you can order one of their famous White Velvet lattes here. See you on the patio!

(1129 Glendon Avenue, Los Angeles)

CAFFE BENE - Koreatown

Caffe Bene is K-town’s “other” coffee chain. It’s only been in Los Angeles about a year, but it’s quickly gaining popularity over Tom N Toms. The cafe has a very cool urban decor, and looks exactly like a coffee shop you might walk into in Seoul: there’s a waffle menu, quotes about love on the walls, and the welcoming “Annyeonghaseyo!” from baristas. We tried a nonfatmisugaru latte, described as a “multi-grained drink” that tastes a lot like peanut butter. Very delightful.

(3287 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles)

FOUR DAUGHTERS KITCHEN - Manhattan Beach

We were itching for some caffeine after lunch, so wandered down to Four Daughters Kitchen, a cute cafe and bistro just down the street. They had just started brewing a fresh pot, so we ordered a couple of Americanos and sat out on the front patio (right next to a little vegetable garden). Happy hour and breakfast also recommended.

(3505 Highland Ave, Manhattan Beach)

BALCONI COFFEE COMPANY - Little Osaka

The coffee just keeps getting better and better in Los Angeles, and it’s all thanks to coffeehouses like Balconi Coffee Company. It’s one of the coolest coffee shops we’ve visited, with fashionable Japanese guys watching the baristas at the counter and screenwriters chatting about Middle Eastern economics next to the front window. It’s not pretentious, though (huzzah!) and the siphon brewing is an admirable process. We enjoyed the Almond Essence Latte, which was perfectly frothy. A delightful afternoon stop.

(11301 W Olympic Boulevard, Los Angeles)

KALDI COFFEE - Atwater Village

The vibe at Kaldi Coffee is friendly and completely unpretentious, unlike many a hip coffee shop on the east side. The baristas smile wide and welcome questions, and they play a foot-tapping rotation of 60s and 70s music. It can sometimes be tough to find a spot inside, but the sunny front patio is a delight. We ordered a perfect iced soy latte, but decided we’ll be coming back for the Pirate’s Chai (matcha tea with cinnamon and cardamon).

Bonus: free wi-fi and they roast their coffee beans on site.

(3147 Glendale Blvd, Los Angeles)

LA GOCCIA ESPRESSO BAR - Glendale

It was almost 11am when we stumbled into La Goccia Espresso Bar, making us excrutiatingly late for our first cup of coffee, and cranky as all hell. We ordered an Americano (caffeine, stat), a Cookies & Cream Latte (an interesting specialty) and a vanilla-infused iced coffee (the best of the three!) Although the man behind the counter was decidedly not Italian, the illy beans were. Quiet atmosphere and a wonderful selection of teas, too.

(101 N Brand Ave, Glendale)

GO GET 'EM TIGER - Larchmont

Go Get Em Tiger is the brainchild of Kyle Glanville and Charles Babinski (the “G” and “B” of G&B Coffee in Grand Central Market) and an important new speciality coffee stop in Los Angeles.

Now here’s the skinny: don’t come here if you’re in a rush. We stopped by at 2pm and saddled up to the bar, where we waited over 10 minutes for an iced coffee and an iced latte. The process is compelling – baristas use cocktail shakers to create drinks – and we did get to enjoy a sample of sparkling tea while we waited. The iced coffee was too bitter for our taste, although the iced latte with house-made almond milk was quite delicious. Because of our love for G&B Coffee and its commitment to quality espresso, we’ll probably be back to give GGET another go.

(230 N Larchmont Boulevard)

STORIES BOOKS & CAFE - Echo Park

Stories is quite possibly one of our favorite places in Los Angeles, if not the world. Bold statement, we understand, but if you go – you’ll know. Located in the thick of the neighborhood, right on Sunset Boulevard, this shop sells records and books (both used and new). And the records and books are GREAT, not just old paperbacks by authors nobody has ever heard of. There’s also a lovely little café with good coffee and yummy café fare like sandwiches and bagels. On this particularly hot day, we ordered a Mojito Iced Coffee (which sounds strange and possibly disgusting, but was actually deliciously refreshing). There’s also an outdoor area in the back.

(1716 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles)

THE CORNER STORE - San Pedro

First things first: we were in need of coffee. We stopped off at The Corner Store, a quaint cafe and corner store in a residential neighborhood and ordered a Bacon Breakfast Sandwich on a bagel (for $3.95!) and two cups of coffee. The coffee was a little weak, but the breakfast sandwich – with cheese, egg, bacon and tomato – was stellar, and the patio was the perfect spot to sit in the sun with a friend and catch-up. Be sure to check out their Ciabatta Pub Burgers.

(1118 W 37th Street, San Pedro)

JONES COFFEE ROASTERS - WeHo

It was a perfect, 75-degrees-and-sunny day in Los Angeles, so we opted for iced drinks at Jones Coffee Roasters: a soy iced coffee and iced almond latte. The baristas put a lot of work into their lattes, which are recommended over the regular drip. The space is small and modern, with orange metal chairs and concrete floors, and an attached seating area and patio. With so many people working on laptops, it was a little too quiet for our taste…so continued on to our next stop, coffee in hand.

(625 N San Vicente Boulevard, West Hollywood)

FLOWERS BY FELICIA - Playa del Rey

Flowers by Felicia is a family-owned coffeeshop and florist, and gosh, it’s just the cutest thing ever. The left-side of the space is dedicated to flowers and a quirky gift shop, where you can find items like popcorn socks, flasks of the original LA farmers market, and Dammit Dolls.

The cafe serves normal coffee fare, but the variety of baked goods is really good: rustic cherry tarts, s’mores bars, pumpkin cupcakes with cinnamon and cloves baked into the cake. So delicious.
Insider’s tip: $5 minimum on credit cards.

(8428 Pershing Drive, Playa del Rey)

SHAKY ALIBI - Fairfax

We make stops at Shaky Alibi on the regular, just for their soy pistachio latte. Unfortunately, it’s “not in season” at the moment, but we happily sipped on a pumpkin spiced latte instead and looked over their waffle menu. There’s a choice of sweet or savory, but we couldn’t pass up “The Elvis:” a waffle topped with peanut butter, crumbled bacon, bananas and drizzled with honey. If you’re drooling reading that sentence, just imagine EATING it. Elvis had the right idea, guys. Peanut butter and bacon together is genius. End. Of. Story.

(7401 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles)

BON APPETEA CAFE - Alhambra

We didn’t know how badly we needed a basket of popcorn chicken and a thai tea boba until we walked through the doors of Bon Appetea Cafe. This cozy spot features a dizzying array of milk teas, flavored teas, yogurt drinks, and more. They manage to fuse aspects of a traditional Asian tea house with the hip factor of a modern coffeeshop, and they throw in some tasty snacks, too. The boba teas come in mason jars (cuz, duh) and are under $4. Our green tea with boba tasted a bit like perfume, but the thai tea was creamy and delicious.

Insider’s tip: order from the “Munchies” menu because the portions are huge. The popcorn chicken and the garlic fries are a must.

(7 South 2nd Street, Alhambra)

SWEET ROSE CREAMERY - Santa Monica

Josh Loeb and Zoe Nathan are Santa Monica heroes: the couple who were both born and raised in Santa Monica, and slowly and thoughtfully opened a handful of restaurants, bakeries and café’s (mostly along Wilshire Boulevard) throughout the neighborhood, capitalizing on local ingredients, handmade products, and delicious ideas. You can’t really go wrong with any of their spots (Milo and Olive is one of our favorites in the entire city for pizza), but Sweet Rose is our place for coffee. This small and bright café is barely more than a walk-up, with seasonal ice-cream offerings and coffee drinks written on giant chalk wall behind the counter. We ordered two iced versions of the cold-brew with homemade vanilla syrup and a splash of cream, and then ogled the pastries (the strawberry walnut scone in particular).

(826 Pico Boulevard, Santa Monica)

RED WINDOW COFFEE - Studio City

Red Window Coffee is a walk-up coffee bar serving up some crazy good coffee. They use Blue Bottle, and are known for their delicious Flat Whites (get it “Aussie Style” for a little extra sweetness). Because we were contending with 90-degree plus heat, we opted for the cold brew and an iced soy latte, both of which were silky AND strong. You should probably stop by.

(12953 Venture Boulevard, Studio City)

CAFE DE LECHE - Highland Park

This quant cafe is the perfect neighborhood coffeeshop, with a Highland Park twist: comfy couches, a play area for kids, and some perfectly-pulled shots…and the interior is brightly painted in the happiest of colors and you can have horchata in your coffee. We ordered a skinny latte, a soy chai, an horchata con espresso (a definite favorite!), and one drip coffee. Compliments to the barista all around.

(5000 York Boulevard, Highland Park)

GREEN ROAST COFFEE - Redondo Beach

This incongruous coffeeshop – located inside a strip mall along the main road – has loads of character and charm once you walk through the front door. It’s owned by a sweet older couple who roast the coffee beans every morning, and bake all the pastries from scratch.

The organic house pours include Ethiopian, Guatemalan and Peruvian blends, as well as a 100% Kona brew. We tried the vegan brownie, flourless peanut butter chocolate chip bite, and peanut butter fudge (definite favorite!). They also serve paleo cookies, sandwiches, smoothies and shave ice.

(1300 Pacific Coast Highway, Redondo Beach)

PAPER OR PLASTIK CAFE - Mid-City

Paper or Plastik Cafe is a cool and cozy neighborhood joint, family-owned and brimming with artists, writers, dancers, and regular ol’ locals jonesing for their (excellently sourced) coffee drinks. They also offer REALLY tasty bites (all local and seasonal ingredients, of course) – we just about died over our brunch special of Shakshuka with its perfect eggs and flavorful tomato sauce. We settled in with our food and several chai lattes (one with soy milk, the other with almond milk – both equally delicious) and took in the exposed brick, the community tables, the hanging plants and the industrial lighting. We can’t wait to head back for their new soju cocktails!

(5772 W Pico Boulevard, Los Angeles)

THE TRAILS CAFE - Los Feliz

Looking for a yummy snack post-hike or want to feel like you’re camping without ever leaving the city? This rustic cafe in Griffith Park offers outdoor seating that resembles our dining area at Girl Scout summer camp, but with food that is so much better. We ordered several iced coffee drinks (the chai was on the sweeter-side), and ogled the pastry cases full of vegan peach pie and vanilla lavender shortbread. The avocado sandwich (with soy bacon bits and alfalfa sprouts) is also a favorite.

(2333 Fern Dell Drive, Los Angeles)

DEMITASSE CAFE - Little Tokyo

This trendy coffeehouse has an unparalleled list of signature drinks, and takes its dedication to caffeinated beverages very seriously. The cafe boasts a beautiful (and aromatic!) coffee bar – with daily selections on display in front of the friendly baristas pulling shots (each barista has his or her own signature drink too – ours was offering his Dark Chocolate Mocha with Sriracha).

We both ordered from the signature drink list: a Black Sesame Lemongrass Latte (with black sesame paste, lemongrass extract, and almond milk) and an Iced Minty Cubano (iced latte with muddled mint and raw sugar). The drinks were strange and delicious, and we ogled the pastry case with its kimchi spam musubi croissant and blueberry lemon cornmeal biscuit (all baked goods come from Sugarbloom Bakery). Perfection.

(135 S San Pedro Street, Los Angeles)

JAVISTA COFFEE - Hollywood

This place is fairly simple and straight-forward, and that’s NOT a bad thing. You’re going to come here for some fabulous coffee and scrumptious sandwiches – this is not Starbucks, and you won’t be getting a slightly burnt latte and a pre-packaged, soggy sammie. Think perfectly pulled shots, one of the only places around with hemp milk (it’s SO good in espresso drinks), and fresh bread and pastries.

(6707 Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood)

ALFRED COFFEE - Brentwood

Just like most everywhere else in Brentwood, Alfred Coffee is a stylish and pretty place (think $10 lattes and a space right next to trainer-to-the-stars Tracy Anderson’s fitness studio). But the coffee is damn delicious – we ordered an almond milk latte, an iced dirty chai latte, and a nitro-cold brew with no ice (as recommended by our trusty barista). The chocolate scone was also yummy, and we loved the non-chain atmosphere.

(11908 San Vicente Boulevard, Los Angeles)

VIENTO Y AGUA COFFEEHOUSE - Long Beach: Belmont Shores

This funky coffeehouse is also an art gallery and live entertainment venue, and serves up some of the best coffee in the area. We admired the colorful drawings of childhood imaginary friends, and started chatting with a group of peace activists who regularly use the coffeeshop as a home base. It had just started to rain, and so we ordered a mug of Mexican mocha with almond milk (the chocolate in the drink was blended BEFORE they steamed the milk), and settled into a comfy couch. The calendar of events had something interesting at least twice a week for the next few months – can’t wait to return!

(4007 E 4th Street, Long Beach)

FOUND COFFEE - Eagle Rock

This modern coffeeshop opened less than a year ago, but it feels like it’s been a neighborhood gathering spot for much longer. The space is bright and open, with lots of seating (and parking!) Beans are from Demitasse, and the soy chai latte and cappuccino we ordered were both on point. From what we hear, the neighborhood isn’t exactly brimming with good coffee joints yet, so this one is extra special.

(1355 Colorado Boulevard, Los Angeles)

PARADOCS COFFEE AND TEA - Little Ethiopia

Blink and you might miss it, but this cozy space brews up the kind of great coffee you can only find in an independent café. We ordered a Soy Masala Chai Latte (a specialty!), and an Iced Matcha Latte with Almond Milk (one of the best we’ve had).

They offer your standard espresso drinks, as well as more interesting concoctions like iced blueberry matcha, and an array of sandwiches made on freshly-baked focaccia bread each morning. Most of the pastries were sold out by the time we arrived in early afternoon, but the matcha brownie and blueberry cream cheese sconut (that’s right, sconut – we were told it’s softer than a scone) sounded dizzyingly scrumptious.

(1032 S Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles)

VENICE GRIND - Mar Vista

This spot is always a favorite on Sundays, offering strong espresso and a breezy garden patio a few feet from the farmers’ market. It has a relaxed neighborhood vibe, with local art on the walls, an open mic night, and knowledgeable baristas. We ordered a few iced cold brews and an iced latte, and headed out to the picnic tables with newspaper in hand.

(12224 Venice Boulevard, Los Angeles)

BLACKTOP COFFEE - DTLA: Arts District

This tiny coffeeshop is really more a sidewalk cafe, built with the intention of people spilling out onto the street. One of the guys behind well-known Handsome Roasters started Blacktop a few years ago, looking for a way to bring community back into coffee-making (Handsome sold to Blue Bottle Coffee in 2014). The menu is simple: Whites (espresso drinks with milk), Blacks (straight-up espresso) and Chocolates (mochas). The coffee is good, and sipping outside on a wooden crate is quite perfect on those days under 90 degrees.

(826 3rd Street, Los Angeles)

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  • Char

    I really wish there were more arectlis like this on the web.