19 cafes that make L.A. a world-class coffee destination
What is the best place for coffee in Los Angeles? It’s the one most convenient to your home, or the one where the barista remembers your name, or the one with a calm, sunlit room that helps you disappear into your workflow. Taste in coffee — and coffee shops — is fiercely personal. I wouldn’t dare steer you away from a local haunt.
Find the best cafes, freshest brews and your favorite beans in the coffee-shop capital of the world.
But I do have some strong opinions about who in Los Angeles is making outstanding coffee: espressos that delight rather than burn as they go down, pour-overs that express flavors like elegantly made wines, inventive drinks that respect the essence of the brew. These are 19 of my favorites. Some are multiroaster cafes while others are run by baristas and entrepreneurs who started out making and selling coffee from the world’s most skilled roasters and then moved into roasting themselves.
The emphasis here is on independent coffee bars. Anyone with a passing interest in the subject knows names like Intelligentsia, and probably California-based operators like Verve and Tierra Mia as well. I’d rather point you to some forward-thinking aces making Los Angeles a global leader for coffee culture. There isn’t much talk of food — maybe mention of a breakfast burrito here and there — though I do love exceptional tea as well and point out a few cases where the tea programs stand equal to the excellent coffee.
Bloom & Plume Coffee
Cognoscenti Coffee Bar
Other locations: 1118 San Julian St. and 868 S. Olive St., both downtown.
After stints at serious coffee bars, including the now-closed Little Tokyo location of Cafe Demitasse, Benchakul opened Endorffeine in 2015. He differentiates his technique by drawing on his science background: He uses different water filtration “recipes” for espressos and cold brews. He‘s earned such a deserved reputation for mastery of pour-overs that he’s teaching classes on the subject. When weekend crowds descend on the shop there can be a bit of a wait, but Benchakul‘s calm, steady demeanor rarely wavers.
Go Get Em Tiger
Mandarin Coffee Stand
Sip & Sonder
Thank You Coffee
Two Guns Espresso
It's a date
Get our L.A. Goes Out newsletter, with the week's best events, to help you explore and experience our city.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.