Feature

22 Hottest Coffee Shops Around Los Angeles

By Lesley Balla  |  March 6, 2017
Credit: Blacktop Coffee

The caffeine scene is seriously percolating around Los Angeles right now, with local roasters, coffeehouses and pour-over stops popping up in every corner of town. It's so raging, in fact, that now out-of-town brands have set up shop to help keep the buzz going. Here are the coffee shops you shouldn't miss in LA, both newcomers and neighborhood stalwarts, whether it's for an espresso, cold brew or thick coffee shake.

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  • Credit: G&B

    G&B
    Kyle Glanville and Charles Babinski, the G and B, respectively, were one of the first new vendors to open at the historic Grand Central Market in downtown LA, attracting hipsters and suits, lovers of coffee and lovers of coffee milkshakes, and everyone in between. The counter sits on the edge of the market at the Hill Street entrance, making it a quick stop for perfectly pulled espressos and coffee drinks made with Ritual, 49th Parallel or Heart beans, and hop-infused carbonated iced tea.
    Must-order: The iced latte, once dubbed "the best in America" by The New York Times, made with house almond milk and espresso, is hand-shaken and served in a mason jar over special cocktail bar-style ice.
    On the side: The yeasted waffle, a G&B and Go Get Em Tiger specialty, with ricotta and fresh fruit is perfect.

    317 S. Broadway

  • Credit: Alfred Coffee

    Alfred Coffee and Kitchen
    Once a hidden cafe sitting pretty among the tiny boutiques on tree-lined Melrose Place, this brand has expanded across the Southland with outposts in Brentwood, Silver Lake and Studio City. In addition to Stumptown being poured here, the Portlandia vibe is alive and well, from the “But First, Coffee" motto to the cup sleeves emblazoned with mustaches, fangs and teeth with braces.
    Must-order: Lattes, cold brew on tap and a macchiato served in the special waffle cups with hand-dipped chocolate rims
    On the side: The original Melrose Place location serves loaded Yeastie Boys bagel sandwiches daily.

    8428 Melrose Pl.; 323-944-0811

  • Credit: Copa Vida

    Copa Vida
    The buzzy, sprawling space has window seats, benches and high-top tables filled with sipsters and noshers alike all day, every day. Like at other slick new coffee shops, the beans come from top roasters around the country, including Ritual Coffee, Verve and 49th Parallel, and there are various apparatuses for brewing, including the Hario V60 for pour-overs and pump pots where you can fill your own mug for cheap.
    Must-order: Find out what that day's single-origin espresso is and get it for your macchiato, latte or cortado. The tea selection is also tops for Old Town.
    On the side: There is a full cafe menu here, from breakfast burritos and hash in the morning to croque madames and kale salad for lunch.

    70 S. Raymond Ave.; 626-213-3952

  • Credit: Stumptown

    Stumptown Coffee Roasters
    The Portland company opened its first California roastery and retail space in the Arts District Downtown — you can see the Probat coffee roaster and a small training lab behind the glass wall behind the counter. It’s really more of a grab-and-go coffee bar with only a few seats outside, but you can pick up beans and brewing apparatuses or just a cup to go.
    Must-order: Cortados and cappuccinos, or fill a growler with cold brew and bring it back for refills, just like you would at a brewery
    On the side: Like most of the coffee bars on this list, Sugarbloom Bakery supplies this spot with baked goods like miso butterscotch cookies and Spam musubi croissants.

    806 S. Santa Fe Ave.

  • Go Get Em Tiger
    The same guys behind G&B expanded their reach with the first Go Get Em Tiger on Larchmont, and now the bigger, more food-focused cafe in Los Feliz. The original is as minimalist as it gets: plywood box stools, a few tables, a corner bench and one long counter where a couple of guys pull espresso or filtered coffee. That's it. Bags of Ritual, Heart and 49th Parallel coffee beans perch on the shelves, adding color to the room, as do the vintage-looking red light fixtures.
    Must-order: Hot days call for that iced latte, cold brew or the wonderfully thick coffee shake blended from vanilla ice cream, espresso and some coffee grounds.
    On the side: Don't miss the yeasty waffles topped with fruit or the various toast offerings.

    230 N. Larchmont Blvd.

  • Credit: Menotti's

    Menotti’s Coffee Stop
    The owners of two Venice watering holes, Townhouse and its Del Monte Speakeasy basement bar, added Menotti's Coffee Stop to the mix for Four Barrel coffee, espresso and lattes. Named for Cesar Menotti, the original owner of the Townhouse, the shop is right next to the bar, which means you can take your coffee in to "Irish it up" with whiskey, coffee liqueur and amaro-infused whipped cream. The baristas take breaks from tamping down and pulling espresso to throw vinyl on the record player. It all works perfectly with the Boardwalk vibe that permeates this block.
    Must-order: Even if you can't really distinguish between a cortado, gibraltar or flat white, the baristas can — all three are perfect here. On balmy beach days, the espresso tonic is a go-to.
    On the side: Menotti's doesn't have food, per se, but The Yeastie Boys truck makes an appearance on the regular, and the coffeehouse has become good friends with the new Eggslut around the corner.

    56 Windward Ave.; 310-584-8631

  • Credit: Coffee Commissary

    Coffee Commissary
    There are now four locations for this local outfit, all featuring serious cups of joe made with a roster of coffees from Coava, Victrola and San Francisco's Sightglass, among others. The Fairfax location is a local's favorite; Hollywood has a grab-and-go sidewalk window; Burbank is spread out with a full menu of breakfast burritos, mini quiches, and sweet and savory baked goods; and there's now a fourth in Culver City.
    Must-order: A gibraltar, which is shorter than a latte but taller than a macchiato, is the most popular drink, or try one of the house vanilla lattes. 
    On the side: There is a serious bakery component to Commissary, so don't miss out on one of the pastries or cookies offered at all outposts.

    Multiple Locations

  • Credit: Dinosaur Coffee

    Dinosaur Coffee
    This is one of the best coffee spots in Silver Lake, especially for its welcoming vibe for laptop lingerers, chatty post-yoga meetups and coffee klatches for new moms. The sleek space is heightened by a wood sculpture hanging from the ceiling that resembles a skeleton, a helpful reminder that "things will be fine" in neon, and you may or may not see origami dinosaurs around the shop. Owned by Ben Hantoot, a co-creator of Cards Against Humanity, and wife Michelle, who spent time at Caffe Luxxe and Menotti’s to learn tips of the trade, it’s a fun communal space for Song Tea and Four Barrel coffee and espresso served in custom-made ceramic cups, and wacky events like the World’s First Worst Coffee Competition.
    Must-order: Really good, smooth cold brew is our go-to here, but the espresso drinks are top-notch.
    On the side: Baked goods are quality, but you might want to be there on Thursdays when Wes Avila parks his Guerrilla Tacos in front (10 AM–2 PM), and on Saturdays when Maury's Bagels sets up shop (9 AM–12 PM).

    4334 W. Sunset Blvd.

  • Credit: Blue Bottle

    Blue Bottle
    In 2014, the Oakland-based shop set its sights on Los Angeles, and it's now grown to seven hyper-chic locations across town, including Venice, Beverly Grove, Culver City and Echo Park, with an eighth on its way (Los Feliz). All serve BB’s coffee and espresso drinks made with a rotating selection of blends and single-origin beans, as well as milk-carton cold-brew coffees you see everywhere.
    Must-order: The New Orleans–inspired cold brew with chicory, milk and sugar is sweet and unique.
    On the side: Most of the cafes offer assorted pastries, but the Beverly Boulevard outpost features a full breakfast and lunch menu.

    Multiple Locations

  • Credit: Verve Coffee/Jiro Schneider

    Verve Coffee Roasters
    In no time at all the Santa Cruz coffee outfit went from one gorgeous coffee bar in the Fashion District, the first retail outpost for Southern California, to several around LA (newer locations are on Melrose and West Third Street). Our favorite is probably the original, which is super-chic and still welcoming — there are even some chairs with backs so you can linger past that last sip — with a great patio out front. For coffee geeks, know that Verve is involved with coffee from the buying to the roasting to the myriad brewing apparatuses available.
    Must-order: Just know you’ll get a perfect cup, whether it’s a pour-over, espresso or cold brew.
    On the side: The very fashionable Juice Served Here, with its Pantone-colored cold-pressed juices, smoothies and more, shares the space, and there are grab-and-go sandwiches, salads and pastries.

    833 S. Spring St.; 213-455-5991

  • Credit: Blacktop Coffee

    Blacktop Coffee
    Tyler Wells, one of the founders of the now defunct Handsome Coffee Roasters, teamed up with the guys from Wurstkuche to open this coffee bar near the sausage shop in the Arts District neighborhood Downtown. Sleek and friendly, it's not much more than a walk-up counter with seats and hunks of tree trunks for tables out front. Wells uses Sightglass coffee and Straus milk for all the drinks, which are minimal and perfectly made.
    Must-order: We love the cold brew on nitro here. Plain, no milk, just icy smoothness.
    On the side: There are an array of toasts and pastries on offer daily.

    826 E. Third St.

  • Credit: Bar Nine

    Bar Nine
    Zayde Naquib and Jereme Pitts’ goal is to make the coffee process completely transparent, from the roasting to extraction. Their space in the Hayden Tract area of Culver City is hidden, minimalist by design with low-slung counters and Modbar espresso systems.
    Must-order: There is one coffee featured daily (out of three they roast every season), and the latte with housemade hazelnut milk is the bomb.
    On the side: A few cookies and pastries here, but if you're grabbing lunch at Destroyer a few blocks away, this is a great stop.

    3515 Helms Ave.; 310-837-7815

  • Credit: Lavender & Honey

    Lavender & Honey
    At this charming cafe in a fairly residential enclave of Pasadena, there’s locally sourced Klatch Coffee for drip, pour-over and espresso drinks. The long and narrow space has just enough tables inside, with a great patio (and tons of free parking). It’s a great addition to a neighborhood that really needed it.
    Must-order: The cold brew is as good as it gets, lattes are pretty stellar too. The pour-over is great when you have the patience for it.
    On the side: Regulars are addicted to the smothered toasts and ham-and-butter sandwiches.

    1383 E. Washington Blvd.; 626-529-5571

  • Credit: Intelligentsia

    Intelligentsia
    Doug Zell opened the Chicago-based company's first West Coast roasting facility in Glassell Park so that as the company expanded, especially on this side of the country, the freshly roasted coffee would be closer to its destinations. There are three shops around the greater LA area: in Silver Lake’s Sunset Junction, in Pasadena’s Old Town and on Abbot Kinney in Venice. Each has its own distinctive style, but all serve the coffees that have been carefully selected from small farms that follow sustainable practices and that are made via various brewing apparatuses.
    Must-order: Whatever the lineup has in season, usually coffee that you get a mere nine months from the time the beans are harvested, single-origin coffees, blends and the Black Cat espresso
    On the side: The Pasadena location has a full beer and wine bar in addition to coffees and pastries.

    Multiple locations

  • LAMILL
    Craig Min, who’s been obsessing over coffee since he was a tween, took over his father’s company in 1998 and began to approach high-end restaurants like Bastide and Providence to sell his blends and locally roasted beans. The Silver Lake “coffee boutique” has been a stalwart on a stretch of Silver Lake Boulevard for years, blending a chic design with LAMILL’s cool branding.
    Must-order: A barista or server can help figure out which way (Chemex, Eva Solo, French press, Clover) is best to have which coffee — there are many from which to choose. Or try something like the signature orange-infused latte or the Blanco y Negro, coffee granita with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
    On the side: The cafe menu has morphed and changed over the years, but you can still get toast in the AM, sandwiches and salads for lunch, light fare in the early evenings — and hot donut holes anytime.

    1636 Silver Lake Blvd.; 323-663-4441

  • Credit: Cafe Luxxe

    Caffe Luxxe
    Since opening their first coffeehouse in Santa Monica in 2006, owners Gary Chau and Mark Wain are now roasting their own beans and making really delicious blends that change seasonally. The Italian-style espresso — rich, thick and dark with subtle chocolate and caramel notes — is sold and used in its two Westside locations. 
    Must-order: The lattes are smooth, just the right temperature and come with superb foam art. A straightforward espresso is also excellent, served as a double “ristretto,” meaning it’s pulled short so as not to water down the blend.
    On the side: Milo + Olive baked goods like buttery, flaky croissants. The location at the Brentwood Country Mart is next to Sweet Rose Creamery, so there could be ice cream in your post-caffeine future.

    925 Montana Ave., Santa Monica; 310-394-2222

  • Credit: Paramount Coffee Project

    Paramount Coffee Project
    This Australian outfit, a direct import from Sydney, features roasts from around the world served as batch brewed, single-cup, cold brew and espresso. The sleek, narrow space has tables and a small open area in the back, which is a great place to hole up for a morning with your laptop.
    Must-order: A flat white, of course. It's the real deal.
    On the side: There's an open kitchen that sends out dishes like Gjusta toast with seasonal jam, granola with sheep’s milk or cashew nut yogurt, scrambled egg breakfast sandwiches, baked beans with eggs and braised lamb, and short-rib “toasties,” or toast.

    456 N. Fairfax Ave.; 323-746-5480

  • Credit: Paper or Plastik

    Paper or Plastik
    This friendly neighborhood cafe is where you go for a caffeine jolt on a stretch of Pico that’s relatively underserved in the good coffee department. Connected to the Mimoda dance studio, it’s funky and eclectic, with big windows on all sides, lots of light during the day and a small mezzanine for a bird’s-eye view of the bustle (and the activity inside the studio).
    Must-order: It’s strictly pour-over brews made with single-origin, eco-friendly beans roasted by places like Intelligentsia, Coava, Black Oak and Nossa Familia.
    On the side: There’s a solid rotation of pastries for the mornings, plus a robust lunch and dinner menu; there are even cocktails, beer and wine. 

    5772 W. Pico Blvd.; 323-935-0268

  • Credit: Coffee Tomo

    Coffee Tomo
    This super-friendly cafe in Sawtelle Japantown roasts its own beans on premises — the small roaster is right there in the front of the shop — and specializes in espresso, pour-over coffee and slow, drip-drip-drip cold brews.
    Must-order: The baristas specialize in hand-drip coffee via Kalita, Kono and Hario apparatuses. Even the cold brew is done with a very special dripper that's showcased at the front of the counter.
    On the side: If you're not getting ramen or sushi in the 'hood, you can get hot, made-to-order pretzels, huge crown-shaped things twisted and stuffed with sweet potato purée and cheese, among other fillings. It’s not your everyday muffin, but it works.

    11309 Mississippi Ave.; 310-444-9390

  • Credit: Caffe Vita

    Caffe Vita
    In Seattle, this company pioneered the farm-direct movement, sourcing coffee from growers in more than 11 countries. It opened its first and, as of now, only LA spot in 2013, taking up a corner of Silver Lake that needed a good cuppa. The Italian puppet, Pulcinella, is a mascot, which you’ll see everywhere — outside the two-level space, on the mugs and other swag. There’s free Wi-Fi for customers, which makes this a great place for bouts of work, meetings or just catching up over a great espresso.
    Must-order: Don’t miss the frozen espresso granita, best during the hottest LA days.
    On the side: Your typical pastries, cookies and muffins from local bakeries

    4459 W. Sunset Blvd.; 323-663-6340

  • Credit: Andante

    Andante Coffee Roasters
    The original Beverly Boulevard location attracts a trifecta of customers: Busy Grove shoppers looking for a good cup of coffee, the laptop set in need of a good table and outlets and coffee nerds searching for great espresso and perfect pour-overs made with beans roasted in-house. It's also incredibly dog-friendly, which is good for this residential part of town. There are now also shops in Echo Park and Downtown’s South Park neighborhood.
    Must-order: The pour-over is the thing to get, but many herald the cold brew as the best in town. 
    On the side: A few noshy things, like quesadillas, breakfast burritos and sandwiches

    7623 Beverly Blvd.; 323-525-0355

  • Credit: Civil Coffee

    Civil Coffee
    Brothers Alex and Alan Morales worked with Handsome Coffee Roasters before giving a jolt to the coffee scene with a mobile cart. At their extremely stylish Highland Park coffee stop with high ceilings, beautiful Mexican tiled floors, blue wainscoting and a walnut-topped bar, they feature single-origin beans from Coava, Heart and others.
    Must-order: Yes, a simple espresso or cold brew is great, but The Figueroa, made with espresso, condensed milk and cinnamon, is just what the neighborhood ordered.
    On the side: Plenty of toasts with myriad toppings, salads, sandwiches and sweets

    5629 N. Figueroa St.