There has never been a better time to be a coffee drinker in LA (no, 2003, just stop) thanks to an influx of awesome new caffeine-eries armed with beans from some of the best roast houses in the country. These are the 12 best of them.

TAZA. A social coffee house.

This SGV spot features the requisite reclaimed wood, a mural that riffs on "American Gothic" (coffee-style!), and a menu that's fluid, but consistently good, whether it’s the coffee lineup or pastries, which could include kimchi Spam croissants. Kimchi. Spam. Croissants.

Verve Coffee Roasters

Verve roasts beans at its HQ in Santa Cruz and then ships them down to this LA outpost, where they're used to fuel a space-age espresso machine, nitro cold brew, and drip. The interior -- done right by the people who designed Gjelina and Hinoki & the Bird -- includes living walls, myrtle wood counters, and a full outpost of Juice Served Here, which means, uh, juice is also served here.

Espresso Cielo

Santa Monica
This corner spot, just two blocks from the beach, features a glistening interior with Carrera marble and an antique clock that would make Flavor Flav's neck jealous. A strong coffee program complements the refined surroundings, including 49th Parallel beans roasted in Vancouver and Kyoto-style towers that slowly drip masterful cold brew.

Go Get Em Tiger

Larchmont Village
The pastries? Great (all of the food made in-house is). 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.


Cognoscenti Coffee

Culver City
The owner earned his bones with pop-up coffee bars around the city, which makes this place pretty special: we finally get 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 colorful chairs and a wise owl logo. Cog’s countertop coffee lineup changes depending on what’s really popping that season, though Seattle’s Kuma and San Francisco’s Ritual make frequent appearances.


G&B Coffee

The barista champs at this open-air stall at the Grand Central Market take an exacting approach, sparing no gram when pulling espresso shots or brewing cold brew. But the duo also has fun, including in their take on the Dark & Stormy, made with house ginger beer, or a powerhouse shake that uses GCM neighbor McConnell’s ice cream.


Silver Lake

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 solid given the high volume. The signature Angeleno beverage? A still-as-popular-as-ever quadruple shot of espresso shaken with milk, agave, and ice. 

Menotti’s Coffee Stop

Christopher "Nicely" Abel Alameda, a seasoned veteran who clocked time behind some of Seattle and LA’s best coffee bars, runs this quick-grab spot within shouting distance of Venice Beach’s drum circles. Four Barrel Coffee gets the star treatment, and, like those drum circles, it's worth stopping in just for the foamy tops, especially considering Nicely is a two-time winner of the Latte Art World Championship.

Dinosaur Coffee

Silver Lake
Launched by one of the Cards Against Humanitycreators and his wife, this spot serves Four Barrel coffee in a sharp space that takes over one half of an audio speaker repair shop, filling shelves with tchotchkes including, yup, a mini T-Rex.

Copa Vida


Standout West Coast roasters normally find their way into Copa Vida’s grinders and brewers, including single-origin selections from industry leaders like Ritual, Verve, and 49th Parallel. And you'll find your way in here for those, plus wares from an in-house bakeshop that helps to fuel sandwiches and plenty of coffee-friendly pastries. 

Coffee Commissary

This growing chain and its rooster logo now keep studio workers well caffeinated throughout TV, film, and radio production both here and in Hollywood proper. They rotate West Coast roasters and serve all cups with style. Bonus: the Burbank spot is the only branch of Coffee Commissary that has free range fried chicken sandwiches on a daily basis. Sooooo go to there.

Blacktop Coffee

The cousins behind Wurstkuche (prost, bro!) teamed up with a co-founder of the late, great Handsome Coffee Roasters to turn out this sleek Arts District coffee bar, lined with Douglas fir and marble and serving up high-end outta-San Francisco Sightglass Coffee and Straus milk, all made with top-of-the-line equipment to make sure the brews stay true.

Greg FrancisComment