February 4, 2019

A Specialty Coffee Shop Tour of Los Angeles, CA

Los Angeles is the second-largest city in the US, and it’s never lacked coffee shops. Whether they’re located on the idyllic stretch of beaches or in the streets of downtown, there has long been a plethora of cafés to choose from.

But what has changed in recent years is the shift towards a focus on quality. Similar to the city’s culinary renaissance, LA has slowly evolved into one of the best cities in the world for specialty coffee. Take a look at the pick of LA’s specialty coffee shops.

The retail selection at Dayglow. Credit: Dayglow

Why These Eight?

Los Angeles County is massive. The most populated county in the United States, it has 88 incorporated cities with more than 10 million inhabitants. So there are more than a few great coffee options.

You can probably find a good café in most parts of LA, but these eight are, in my opinion, the stars among stars. These coffee shops are worth making a trip to (and trust me, the traffic is as bad as they tell you).

These are the coffee shops that are leading the pack by serving coffee at the highest level. Each of these cafés has a unique voice and something special to offer.

Cold coffee at Dayglow. Credit: Dayglow

1. Dayglow

Voted Best New Cafe 2018 by Sprudge, Dayglow is more than your average coffee shop. Known for its selection of beans from the best international and domestic roasters, it’s a destination for coffee geeks from around the world.

The inviting space has accordion doors that let you spill onto the street. White, minimal decor is accented with touches of pastel pink and neon signs. The themed signature drinks are made using interesting techniques and they are what make Dayglow a notable destination. As the founder, I’m obviously biased, but I genuinely believe Dayglow is among the best coffee shops in LA.

Looking into Dayglow from the street. Credit: David Palazuelos

Where3206 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026
AtmosphereHip
Espresso MachineLa Marzocco Linea PB
GrinderMahlkonig EK43, Mahlkonig K30 Air
Coffee OfferingsEspresso-based drinks, filter coffee, signature drinks
Must-Try DrinkHotel Chevalier (a custom coffee drink featuring fresh lime, coconut cream, and grated nutmeg)
Retail OfferingsRoasted coffees from La Cabra, Coffee Collective, Little Wolf, King State, Color, Drop, Sey, Madcap, Five Elephant, Luna, and more
Food & Other DrinksVegan donuts, matcha, teas, kombucha, and shrubs
Nearby SightsSunset Junction, Echo Park Lake

Dayglow’s Hotel Chevalier custom coffee drink. Credit: David Palazuelos

2. Endorffeine

This minimalist space almost looks like an art gallery. Located in the Far East Plaza food mall in Chinatown, Endorffeine’s focused menu highlights delicate coffees and features a light-bodied espresso that is remarkably balanced. Founder Jack Benchakul’s methodical approach sets a standard that is unparalleled in Los Angeles.

Looking through the entrance into Endorffeine. Credit: James Mann

Where727 N Broadway #127, Los Angeles, CA 90012
AtmosphereCalm
Espresso MachineModbar
GrinderMazzer, Mahlkonig EK43
Coffee OfferingsEspresso-based drinks, pour over
Must-Try DrinkEspresso
Retail OfferingsRoasted beans including ones from Drop Coffee and Heart Coffee Roasters
Food & Other DrinksBottled signature drinks
Nearby SightsChinatown

Jack Benchakul at work at Endorffeine. Credit: James Mann

3. Go Get Em Tiger

Anyone who has been paying attention to the specialty coffee scene in LA will know about Charles Babinski and Kyle Glanville. The owners of notable roaster Go Get Em Tiger and G&B Coffee have been very busy opening new locations seemingly every other month. The Los Feliz café is my personal favorite. The staff here is simply wonderful and they make a mean almond macadamia cappuccino.

The patio at Go Get Em Tiger, Los Feliz. Credit: Tatiana Ernst

Where4630 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027
AtmosphereFriendly, with a cozy patio
Espresso MachineLa Marzocco Linea PB
GrinderMazzer Kold, Mahlkonig EK43
Coffee OfferingsEspresso-based drinks, batch brew
Must-Try DrinkTiger Freeze (espresso soft serve)
Retail OfferingsHouse-roasted coffee, merchandise
Food & Other DrinksBreakfast menu, pastries, turmeric lattes, Fizzy Hoppy Tea
Nearby SightsGriffith Park Observatory

4. Paramount Coffee Project

Over the past few years, a number of Australian cafés have opened in LA. My personal favorite is this gorgeous open space in the Art District’s Row DTLA development. Paramount Coffee Project has seasonal offerings and some of the best coffees in the city. The menu changes monthly but always features impressive choices from guest roasters selected by the baristas. And the team does a remarkable job preparing them.

The bar at Paramount Coffee Project. Credit: Paramount Coffee Project

Where1320 E 7th St #100, Los Angeles, CA 90021
AtmosphereInviting, open
Espresso MachineLa Marzocco Linea PB
GrinderMazzer, Mahlkonig EK43
Coffee OfferingsEspresso based-drinks, batch brew
Must-Try DrinkIced filter coffee
Retail OfferingsHouse-roasted beans, as well as ones from Parlor, Hidden House, and Slate
Food & Other DrinksBreakfast and lunch menus, baked goods, beer and wine
Nearby SightsThe Arts District including design and food destination Row DTLA and Smorgasburg weekly market

5. Maru

One of the most refreshing cafés in LA, Maru focuses on refinement. Owners Jacob Park and Joonmo Kim have filled a warehouse space in an unassuming part of the Arts District with a vision of tranquility. Natural light and soft tones create a pleasant spot to enjoy a thoughtfully presented coffee.

The warm interior of Maru. Credit: Andy Heart

Where1019 S Santa Fe Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90021
AtmosphereTranquil
Espresso MachineSlayer Steam
GrinderMythos, Mahlkonig EK43
Coffee OfferingsEspresso-based drinks, pour over, signature drinks
Must-Try DrinkCream Top signature drink
Retail OfferingsRoasted beans from Sweet Bloom, Camber Coffee, Oddly Correct
Food & Other DrinksPastries, teas, matcha
Nearby SightsArts District

6. Hopper & Burr

This café is not technically in LA. Instead, it’s located in Santa Ana. But it’s one of the most compelling cafés in southern California, so it’s worth the trip. Owner Truman Severson is an industry leader in beverage development. He innovates fun ways to adapt café classics into something remarkable. And then he serves them in this clean, minimalist space. It’s definitely a gem that’s worth making an effort to drive out to.

The Frozen Sweet Latte at Hopper & Burr. Credit: Foodbeast

Where202 W 4th St, Santa Ana, CA 92701
AtmosphereMinimalist
Espresso MachineLa Marzocco Linea Classic
GrinderMahlkonig K30 Air, Mahlkonig EK43
Coffee OfferingsEspresso-based drinks, batch brew, signature drinks
Must-Try DrinkFrozen Sweet Latte (only available in summer)
Retail OfferingsRoasted beans from Madcap, Case, Color, Saint Frank
Food & Other DrinksToasts, seasonal signature drinks
Nearby SightsConvenient to the SCA headquarters and Disneyland

Owner Truman Severson behind the bar at Hopper & Burr. Credit: Tim Wright

7. Menotti’s Coffee Stop

Tourists visiting the Venice Beach boardwalk are treated with the best café on the west side. Run by famed barista Christopher ‘Nicely’ Alameda, Menotti’s has been setting a high standard for coffee since 2013. What sets this place apart is a dedicated staff of talented baristas who know how to make perfectly balanced espresso-based drinks.

There’s a chalkboard menu for all to choose from, but there’s also a secret menu of specialty drinks for those who can find it.

Inside Menotti’s Coffee Stop. Credit: Lavender Lines

Where56 Windward Ave, Venice, CA 90291
AtmosphereLaidback and old-school
Espresso MachineLa Marzocco Linea PB
GrinderMazzer
Coffee OfferingsEspresso-based drinks
Must-Try DrinkCafe Rico (a signature drink based around a double shot of single-origin espresso, orange zest, and vanilla syrup)
Retail OfferingsRoasted beans from Cat & Cloud
Food & Other DrinksPastries
Nearby SightsVenice Beach and its boardwalk

8. Giorgiporgi

This mysterious cave of a café in an undeveloped block in downtown LA is my biggest design crush. Owners Giorgia Cirillo and Christopher Grotjahn have almost created an art piece in this fascinating space. Beautiful modern ceramics are paired with an Italian-inspired coffee program. It’s a great place to meet new people, unplug, and enjoy the strange and compelling surroundings.

The interior of Giorgiporgi. Credit: Tatiana Ernst

Where137 E 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90013
AtmosphereModern and loud
Espresso MachineLa Marzocco FB70
GrinderMazzer
Coffee OfferingsEspresso-based drinks, pour over
Must-Try DrinkCustom drinks made to order
Food & Other DrinksMatcha, teas
Nearby SightsDowntown LA

Bar seating at Giorgiporgi. Credit: Tatiana Ernst

Wherever your visit takes you in sunny Los Angeles, great coffee should be a part of your itinerary. Use this list as a starting point to the fast-growing coffee scene here. You won’t be disappointed with a drink from any one of these options.

Enjoyed this? Check out A Specialty Coffee Shop Tour of San Diego, CAFeature photo:  The Life Aquatic custom coffee drink at Dayglow. Feature photo credit: Dayglow

All views within this opinion piece belong to the guest writer, who is a local of Los Angeles, and do not reflect Perfect Daily Grind’s stance.

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