LA’s coffee scene is booooooooooooooming with homegrown coffee roasters and café owners being joined by an influx of high-profile bean pushers from coffee meccas like the Bay Area, Portland, and Chicago. And while driving all over LA trying the latest and greatest in coffee-age sounds fun and all, what you REALLY want is to drive to the absolute best coffee shop in whatever neighborhood you’ll actually be in anyway.
TAZA. A social coffee house. (address and info)
SGV’s best coffee shop has both the requisite reclaimed wood/mural that riffs on “American Gothic” (complete drawings of the peacocks at the nearby LA botanical gardens) AND a fluid roster of roasters. This shop always puts quality at a premium, whether it’s the coffee program or pastry lineup (which could include Sugarbloom’s killer kimchi Spam croissants, or Donut Snob’s magical rings).
Caffe Luxxe (address and info)
Mark Wain and Gary Chau started their caffeinated efforts in nearby Santa Monica, with latte artistry as a lynchpin, and have since expanded to three Westside cafes. Brentwood houses their most casual outpost, with outdoor tables in front of what was once Dutton's Books, back when bookstores were still a thing (RIP, guys).
Coffee Commissary (address and info)
Tyler King’s growing chain (you might remember it from the Instagram-friendly tile everyone keeps... Instagramming) now has a Valley location where it's rotating West Coast roasters and serving all its cups with a Bennigan’s-level amount of flair. Most importantly though: this is the only branch of Coffee Commissary that has Free Range fried chicken sandwiches on the regular. Second most important though: the breakfast burritos and house-baked pastries are also impressive.
10 Speed Coffee (address and info)
The West Valley doesn’t get much love, but Calabasas, which stands at the gateway to the Santa Monica Mountains, has more than enough to share thanks to 10 Speed Coffee. This coffee bar, which expanded from Hood River, Oregon and occupies the back of Pedalers Fork restaurant, uses premium equipment to roast coffee literally right upstairs. Coolest part though? The back patio faces a creek and features a bike shop, in case you want to get a tune-up while fueling up.
Endorffeine (address and info)
Endorffeine’s minimalist space features a stainless steel-topped Modbar with built-in equipment, Heart Coffee, and a commitment to endorphins and caffeine (Endorffeine!). Menu-wise its got standard espresso fare, plus pour-over and specialty lattes like makrut lime malbec, vanilla pandan, and palm sugar whiskey with Willett rye reduction, ensuring it can solve your caffeine and alcohol withdrawals AT THE SAME TIME.
Cognoscenti Coffee (address and info)
Considering Yeekai Lim earned his bones with pop-up coffee bars around the city, it’s nice to see a fully realized take on his vision. The barista in charge is also an architect, and he’s built a beautiful indoor-outdoor space amidst Culver City’s art galleries, complete with a wise owl logo. Some days, Cog might have five different roasters in its countertop lineup, and it knows what to do with each and every bean.
G&B Coffee (address and info)
Even in this group, there’s something about Kyle Glanville and Charles Babinski’s open-air Grand Central Market stall that stands out. Sure, the award-winning baristas take an exacting approach, sparing no gram when pulling espresso shots or brewing cold brew. But the duo also has fun. Just look at their take on the dark & stormy, made with house ginger beer, or the powerhouse shake made with fresh-pulled espresso, ground espresso, and silky scoops of ice cream from GCM neighbor McConnell’s.
Found Coffee (address and info)
This strip-mall space features wood banquette seating, communal tables, vivid turquoise chairs, and art-lined walls -- along with a yellow La Marzocco espresso machine and glass pour-over set-up that produces exercises in coffee-cup perfection (typically from a local roaster like Demitasse or Peri). Found drops conventional espresso and coffee drinks, along with a bourbon vanilla Latte featuring syrup made in-house with, uh, “fancy pants” vanilla. Tux yeah.
Woodcat Coffee Bar (address and info)
Bay Area darling Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters is the main event in a space that’s quickly -- and unsurprisingly -- becoming a neighborhood hangout, thanks to hipster-friendly reclaimed wood, boxy stools at counters and tables, and a bright-red wall that casts a demonic glow on anybody that sits nearby. Woodcat also serves Sugarbloom pastries all week, plus serious donuts from Campfire Confections on weekends.
Scapegoat (address and info)
Pier Ave is more of a playpen for fraternity post-grads, so Scapegoat -- which serves up Stumptown hot and cold brew on draft -- stands out even more than it would in other neighborhoods. It doesn’t have any seats, but the pier and beach are nearby and both serve as coffee-/Instagram-friendly backdrops.
Café de Leche (address and info)
You’ll recognize the first specialty coffeehouse to hit Highland Park from its constant appearances on Maron, and Marc’s addiction to its Stumptown pours makes total sense. Also: parents will be happy to find a children’s play area in back, so kids can get loose while they load up on caffeine.
Tiago Coffee Bar + Kitchen (address and info)
Yes, this stretch of Hollywood Blvd is better known for flocks of tourists (since the Hollywood Walk of Fame is right outside Tiago’s door), but Santiago Garfunkel has somehow carved out a niche for specialty coffee, with a multi-roaster attack that means your favorite coffee might change from week to week, but you can always trust what lands in your cup.
Document Coffee Bar (address and info)
Korean coffee chains have been multiplying at a ridiculous clip in Koreatown, but none of them can match the quality level of Document Coffee Bar, which features a white façade and walls, communal wood tables and counters, and utilitarian chandeliers crafted from work buckets. The bar features beans from multiple roasters, including Supersonic from Berkeley, PT’s from Topeka, and Temple from Sacramento. The espresso machine and Kyoto cold-brew towers work wonders, including the Document Cold, a signature coffee beverage that combines cold brew, chicory, milk, and Grade A maple syrup from Howrigan Family Farms.
Go Get Em Tiger (address and info)
This similarly precise coffee bar from Misters G and B in Larchmont Village may be even more ambitious, with pastries and food made in-house, indoor seating, and a hand-painted astronaut who looks like he’s floating across the wall. Willing to risk a trip to the heart doctor? Consider the Full Nelson, a flight of coffee drinks named for a regular customer that includes an espresso, macchiato, cappuccino, and that phenomenal G&B shake.
Lord Windsor Roasters (address and info)
Lord Windsor roasts green coffee on a green Diedrich roaster in back that makes its way onto a menu that’s misleadingly simple, with espresso drinks prepared with precision, plus iced coffee and pour-over. Yes, it ALSO has Instagram-friendly tile floors, but in vintage black-and-white checkerboards instead of some nouveau chic pattern plucked from a design catalog.
Copa Vida (address and info)
This multifaceted café has managed to stand out in Old Pasadena, a neighborhood that has seen a glut of coffee concepts in recent years. Three West Coast roasters normally find their way into Copa Vida’s grinders and brewers, and the shop also bakes in-house, which yields bread that helps to fuel killer sandwiches -- and plenty of coffee-friendly pastries.
Espresso Cielo (address and info)
This corner spot, just two blocks from the beach, features Carrara marble and an antique clock that would make Flavor Flav jealous. An obviously strong coffee program complements the refined surroundings, including 49th Parallel coffee beans roasted in Vancouver and Kyoto-style towers that slowly drip masterful cold brew.
Intelligentsia (address and info)
The dream team that opened this Sunset Junction coffee bar in 2007 has long since disbanded, but Intelligentsia’s first LA branch remains a juggernaut. The coffee is roasted in nearby Glassell Park, quality remains good given the high volume, and the signature Angeleno beverage is as popular as ever, featuring a quadruple shot of espresso shaken with milk, agave, and ice. Happy sleeping!
Tierra Mia Coffee (address and info)
With eight LA locations in spots as far reaching as Huntington Park and Santa Fe Springs, founder Ulysses Romero 1) already dominates South LA specialty coffee, 2) has been expanding to central LA and the Bay Area, and 3) is slowly filling the gaps in between. For the LA branches, the chain roasts coffee in Pico Rivera and bakes in Huntington Park, and the shops crush it when it comes to infusing Latin flavors, whether it’s with a Mexican mocha espresso drink or a horchata latte cupcake.
Red Window Coffee (address and info)
Since Studio City can’t live on sushi alone, two couples -- music producers from Australia -- opened this brick coffee kiosk with a red-framed window in a parking lot earlier this year. They more or less mirrored the Blue Bottle Coffee menu, including New Orleans cold brew that’s steeped with chicory for 16 hours and served on ice with a choice of milk.
Menotti’s Coffee Stop (address and info)
This quick-grab spot from a longtime vet is within shouting distance of Venice Beach’s drum circles, so caffeine up before... getting your pound on? Something like that. Four Barrel Coffee gets the star treatment here, and latte art is some of the city’s best. It also has a secret menu (!!!), which you can find behind the framed photo of shop namesake Cesar Menotti, and features drinks like the Short Stack, a superlative bevvie loaded with espresso... and maple syrup.
Verve Coffee Roasters (address and info)
Santa Cruz-based co-founders Colby Barr and Ryan O’Donovan started their LA expansion of Verve in DTLA’s Fashion District, and that bar’s a beauty, but the concept stands out even more in West Hollywood. The space features fashionable wood chevron flooring, a copper bar, a plant-lined patio with colorful tile work, and a shiny silver Kees van der Westen espresso machine that looks like it might set off for outer space. It also has a new killer sig drink: a tres leches cappuccino made with a Juice Served Here blend of almond, hazelnut, and cashew milks plus coconut water.
1. TAZA. A social coffee house.11 W Huntington Dr, Arcadia
2. Caffe Luxxe11975 San Vicente Blvd, Brentwood
3. Coffee Commissary3121 W Olive Ave, Burbank
4. 10 Speed Coffee23504 Calabasas Rd, Calabasas
5. Endorffeine727 N Broadway, Los Angeles
6. Cognoscenti Coffee6114 W Washington Blvd, Culver City
7. G&B Coffee at Grand CentralC-19, 317 S Broadway, Los Angeles
8. Found Coffee1355 Colorado Blvd, Los Angeles
9. Woodcat Coffee Bar1532 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles
10. Scapegoat27 Pier Ave, Hermosa Beach
11. Café de Leche5000 York Blvd, Los Angeles
12. Tiago Coffee Bar + Kitchen7080 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles
13. Document Coffee Bar3850 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles
14. Go Get Em Tiger230 N Larchmont Blvd, Los Angeles
15. Lord Windsor Roasters1101 E 3rd St, Long Beach
16. Copa Vida70 S Raymond Ave, Pasadena
17. Espresso Cielo3101 Main Street, Santa Monica
18. Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea3922 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles
19. Tierra Mia Coffee4914 Firestone Blvd, South Gate
20. Red Window Coffee12953 Ventura Blvd, Studio City
21. Menotti’s Coffee Stop56 Windward Ave, Venice
22. Verve Coffee Roasters8925 Melrose Ave, West Hollywood
Deep in the San Gabriel Valley, Taza is outfitted with all the things that make a coffee shop cooler than cool: skateboards hanging from the wall, reclaimed wood, and a mural (this one in particular is a riff on "American Gothic.") The coffee is consistently good, and though the menu changes often, you can always expect a lineup of classic lattes, sweet and savory pastries (kimchi Spam croissant, say what?), and donuts.
With handcrafted artisanal espresso, single origin brewed coffee, and organic teas, this upscale shop is bringing European caffe culture to the West Coast.
The Burbank outpost of LA mini-chain Coffee Commissary is outfitted with a full kitchen, meaning that besides coffee any way you want it, the menu includes breakfast and lunch dishes like breakfast burritos, fried chicken sandwiches, and kale salad. The cafe features a rotating selection of West Coast roasters, so you'll find anything from Coava to Madcap Coffee on offer.
Small-batch roasting allows this small coffee chain to achieve fresh, quality cups that pack a flavorful punch. In addition to being in the java business, the guys at 10 Speed are loyal cycling fans and the official coffee sponsor of the Amgen Tour of California.
Helmed by a bonafide coffee scientist, Endorffeine is a third-wave coffee bar in Chinatown equipped with a stainless steel Modbar. Expect outrageously strong espresso and pour-over coffee, plus speciality drinks like iced lattes with palm-sugar whiskey and vanilla pandan.
Before opening his first solo spot, Cognoscenti Coffee's owner earned his bones with pop-up coffee bars around the city. The barista-in-charge is also an architect, and he built a beautiful indoor-outdoor space complete with colorful chairs and a wise owl logo. Cog’s countertop coffee line-up changes depending on the season, though Seattle’s Kuma and San Franciso’s Ritual make frequent appearances.
Inside DTLA's Grand Central Market, G&B's coffee bar stall is helmed by baristas who take a calculated but fun approach to espresso. Aside from supplying your regular caffeine fixes, G&B whips up speciality drinks like house-made chai and an eponymous shake made with vanilla ice cream, two shots of espresso, and whole milk. There's also a small but mighty selection of yeast waffles topped with maple syrup, ricotta, or house-made jam.
Serving speciality tea, locally-sourced coffee, and pastries, Found Coffee is a casual, vibrant cafe dedicated to providing a space for customers to relax and socialize. This coffee shop also boasts plenty of parking and seating.
This quiet and chill coffee shop in the heart of Echo Park gets its name from the song "Woodcat" by the British band Tunng -- and the Scottish word for hare, which explains the shop's rabbit-eared logo. Woodcat partners with Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters, Sugarbloom Bakery, and Sugarbird Sweets & Teas to deliver expertly roasted coffee and daily-made pastries.
At this Hermosa Beach hideaway, customers can enjoy a Stumptown Coffee or Madcap Roasters cold brew nitro or detoxifying juice. This small cafe has no chairs or tables, so everything is takeout.
A favorite of WTF host/comedian Marc Maron, this Highland Park staple brews Stumptown Coffee and serves speciality lattes. The horchata espresso is a must have.
Situated on Hollywood Boulevard amid dozens of tourist traps, Tiago's is an oddly quiet cafe with outdoor seating, lots of art, and great breakfast and lunch selections.
This former art gallery is known among locals for their Document Cold Brew, which is made with maple syrup. The cafe also offers espresso drinks, pour-overs, and Kyoto-style slow-drop coffee.
The pastries? Great. Indoor seating? Also great. Hand-painted astronaut who looks like he’s floating across the wall? Yup, great. The greatest great though? The Full Nelson, a flight of coffee drinks named after one of the shop's regulars that includes an espresso, macchiato, cappuccino, and that phenomenal G&B shake.
Lord Windsor's passion for coffee and the community is evident with its farm-to-cup, small-batch roasted coffee and bottled cold brews that can be taken to go.
Pasadena has seen its fair share of coffee shops over the years, but Copa Vida in Old Pasadena stands out for its multi-faceted approach to cafe culture. The shop puts an emphasis on West Coast roasters, so single-origin coffee from industry leaders like Ritual, Verve, and 49th Parallel are usually on tap, and there's an extensive selection of steeped-leaf tea. Copa Vida bakes pastries in-house, and it has a full breakfast and lunch menu featuring breakfast burritos, three-cheese sandwiches, and eggs-any-way.
On the border of Santa Monica and Venice, Espresso Cielo serves European-style coffee drinks plus third-wave creations, like a Blue Bottle-inspired Gibaltrar (a double shot of espresso with lightly-steamed milk). The shop partnered with nearby Hotcakes Bakes to serve a rotating food menu of quiche, macarons, and other pastries.
The dream team that opened this Sunset Junction coffee bar in 2007 has long since disbanded, but Intelligentsia’s first LA branch remains a juggernaut. The coffee is roasted in nearby Glassell Park, and the quality remains strong given the high volume. The signature Angeleno beverage? A popular-as-ever quadruple shot of espresso shaken with milk, agave, and ice.
Tierra Mia Coffee is a small chain with locations in LA and the Bay Area. The menu features handcrafted brews, baked goods, and south-of-the-border inspired signature drinks. The mocha Mexicana, horchata latte, and mojito mint tea lemonade are customer favorites.
Red Window Coffee is exactly that—a small window attached to a kiosk. This very hole-in-the-wall, walk-up cafe sells Blue Bottle coffee alongside speciality brews.
Christopher "Nicely" Abel Alameda, a seasoned barista who's clocked time behind some of Seattle and LA’s best coffee bars, runs this quick-grab cafe that's within shouting distance of Venice Beach’s drum circles. Nicely is a two-time winner of the Latte Art World Championship, so you better believe his Four Barrel Coffee drinks are topped with intricate foam designs.
This airy, Santa Cruz-based cafe "bridges the gap from farm level to street level" with cold-brew, cold-pressed, and probiotic drinks, along with sweets from Short Cake and salads from Belcampo Meat Co.