If you tend to linger at coffee shops long enough to order at least two drinks, or if you like the idea of comparing coffees from different countries side by side, then you'll likely enjoy a coffee flight.
Similar to a beer or wine flight, a coffee flight consists of two or more drinks assembled by the barista and served together as a set. And like a beer or wine flight, this is about as academic a tasting exercise as you want it to be: You can really study how each coffee drink in the set differs from the others, or you can simply enjoy the variety.
Three shops with especially creative coffee flights are listed below:
LaB Coffee Roasters — LaB Coffee Roasters "Mad for Caffeine" presents you with three solid coffees, 7 ounces each: two pour-over coffees made using beans from different countries, plus an Americano, all alongside sweetener and sparkling water. Perhaps unsurprisingly given the name of the shop, everything is served in thematically appropriate vessels — the coffees in tubes, the sparkling water in an Erlenmeyer flask, the sweeteners in small vials — all of which make the flight especially fun.
After you've satisfied your inner Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, note that you are in a shop nestled in the corner of the same plaza that houses Western Doma Noodles. Awesome banchan and spicy cold noodles are not bad ways to follow up your coffee-testing session. 429 N. Western Ave., Koreatown, labcoffee.com.
Cafe Demitasse — Cafe Demitasse's One Coffee, Three Ways is, as the name suggests, a select coffee — recently, one from El Salvador was on deck — brewed three different ways, namely as an espresso, as a drip brew and as a rich Kyoto-style iced coffee. Delivered on a wooden board, this is a nice, unfussy way to compare how the same coffee could differ (or not) depending on the brew method. It also will be enough caffeine to keep you powered up for quite a while. 135 S. San Pedro St., Little Tokyo and 1149 Third St., Santa Monica, cafedemitasse.com.
G&B Coffee and Go Get Em Tiger — The Full Nelson at G&B Coffee and Go Get Em Tiger is quite a gripping set of espresso drinks: an espresso, a macchiato, a cappuccino and finally (finally!) a drink of your choosing. And while you certainly can drink these all on your own, one by one by one by one, you also can consider this as the coffee equivalent of a party platter.
If, however, you want a short layover as opposed to a long flight, you'll want the set that is the Business and Pleasure, where an espresso is served first with a sparkling tea (the Business), followed by an absolutely lovely sweetened iced cappuccino (the Pleasure). G&B Coffee, 727 N. Broadway, Downtown, gandbcoffee.com; Go Get Em Tiger, 230 N. Larchmont Blvd., Larchmont Village and temporary pop-up location at 2630 Hyperion Ave., Silver Lake, ggetla.com.