When you think of places with a booming coffee culture, Los Angeles might not top your list.
We, on the other hand, think that some of the best coffee bars in the nation can be found here, nestled along some of the most famous streets in the world.
These are only ten of our favorites in the LA area, (with one added from Venice, because we couldn’t resist).
The criteria for our coffee guide is straightforward.
- High standards for the coffee they serve
- Super skilled and knowledgeable staff
- Atmosphere that adds to the experience
- Something that makes them stand out from the rest
With that, we present to you our LA liquid gold coffee guide.
Balconi Coffee Company
11301 W Olympic Blvd #124, LA
Balconi Coffee Company is a coffee alchemist’s dream.
What do we mean by that?
Coffee goes through an incredible transformation. From bean, roast and brew to your cup.
You can tell that Balconi Coffee Company is a master alchemist of this process as soon as you walk through their door.
They specialize in using the siphon method, and their counter top and shelves are lined with beautiful siphons, looking like something straight out of a scientist’s dream. When you step into this establishment you know that you are about to have an entirely new experience.
The siphon method brings out a mellow smoothness and layers of flavor notes that other brewing methods glaze over. The baristas are artists at their craft and as a result, you can expect an amazing brew.
We know it isn’t just about the method, but also the beans.
Balconi Coffee Company offers a rotating selection of exceptional beans. A description straight from their menu describes one of the Kenyan selections:
“Tastes like strawberry taffy and cherry candy with an elegant refined fruit tartness”
Sign us up!
5629 N Figueroa Street, LA
With humble beginnings as a pop up espresso service in LA, Civil Coffee gets that great coffee doesn’t just happen, it takes work.
And their hard work is obvious.
There isn’t anything too fancy or pretentious about Civil Coffee. They offer straight forward, classic espresso and filter brewed single origin coffees.
They honestly don’t need anything more.
Their coffee is a clean and inspirational as the atmosphere at the Figueroa Street location.
Civil Coffee also acts civil towards families, a niche market that many other coffee bars in the area choose to miss out on.
135 S. San Pedro Street, LA
The siphon method is big in LA coffee culture, and no LA coffee guide would be complete without a nod to one of the pioneers in the area.
Demitasse was one of the first coffee bars in LA to take the siphon method to the forefront of the industry.
At Demitasse, the atmosphere is a blend of Little Tokyo and a steampunk vibe.
There is no question that the atmosphere appeals to our inner (and outer) coffee geek, but let’s get down to the nuts, bolts and beans.
One of the reasons that we feel that Demitasse deserves a spot on our A list is that they respect coffee and get the concept that it all starts with the farmer.
They make coffee a personal experience by going out and meeting the farmers that grow the beans they brew in their shops. Demitasse is committed to forming and maintaining relationships with coffee farmers.
This is coffee that you can feel good about.
868 S. Olive St, LA
There are couple of things that we really like about Cognoscenti Coffee.
The first is of course the coffee, but we will get to that in a minute.
Cognoscenti Coffee started small with pop up coffee bars around LA, and transformed itself into one of the most elegant cups of java you will find in the area.
Can you tell that we have a soft spot for humble beginnings?
The design of Cognoscenti Coffee is fashionable, sleek and modern. The coffee is equally fashionable and modern in its quality and simplicity.
The coffee here has clean lines and a seamless finish. The menu features drip brews, pour over, cold brew and nitro coffee, along with a few exceptionally crafted specialty drinks.
The rotating line up of coffee choices at Cognoscenti changes in response to current trends in the coffee industry.
This is the go to place when you want an entirely different level of a coffee experience.
G & B Coffee
317 S Broadway #6, LA
G & B Coffee is an eclectic blend of a sleek LA coffee bar and your local pub.
The vibe here is warm, welcoming and a bit come hither. The baristas welcome you to cozy up to the bar, order your favorite caffeinated brew and become part of the atmosphere.
One thing you might instantly notice when looking at the menu is that they have a thing for almond macadamia, with offerings like an almond macadamia cappuccino, latte and tea.
Not ones to shy away from something new, we tried it and completely understand the fascination.
What about the quality of the coffee that is used in their almond macadamia concoctions? Each origin or blend is thoughtfully chosen through a laborious testing and sampling process
For the coffee purist?
For the coffee enthusiast?
727 N. Broadway #127, LA
We have been known on occasion to refer to coffee as a science.
Given that Endorffeine was built by a former biochemist, we now feel validated in that statement.
All you need to understand what is so great about Endorffeine is found in the name.
Endorphins + Caffeine = one of our favorite coffee experience in the LA area.
Each drink in this coffee brewhouse is crafted with care and precision. The result is a drink that practically lifts you out of yourself.
Endorffeine sources its coffee mainly from Oregon based Heart Coffee Roasters, with additional alternating selections that reflect the best coffees in the industry.
3922 West Sunset Blvd, LA
Intelligentsia operates on a larger scale than most of the other coffee bars on our favorites list. The brand has branched out into other areas of California, as well as having several locations in the Chicago area.
They are more than just a coffee joint. Intelligentsia is immersed in every bit of coffee culture.
Intelligentsia was at the forefront of the direct trade concept, realizing that great coffee farmers needed to thrive to continue providing great coffee.
Their Sunset Blvd location embraces warmth and a community spirit. Despite offering specialty craft coffee, this place feels as comfortable and welcoming as your own home.
Intelligentsia knows that knowledge is power and offers regular events and classes to build up your coffee expertise resume.
Menotti’s Coffee Shop
56 Windward Avenue, Venice
Ok, we know that we stepped out of the LA city limits here, but trust us, we have good reasons.
The coffee at Menotti’s Coffee Shop is about as famous as the Venice Beach boardwalk that it is just a shout away from.
This is a coffee bar that offers all the standard fare. The standouts at Menotti’s are their signature crafted drinks.
Before the first time we headed in, we realized that just about every great review of this place mentioned some type drink made with milk.
When in Rome Venice ... so, we ordered a latte.
Guess what? It was the best we’ve ever had.
Smooth, creamy and perfectly balanced so that the character of the espresso comes through.
Did we mention that you can expect a work of art? Literally.
Menotti’s has won awards for their latte art. We can honestly say this place is a beautiful coffee experience.
Rubies + Diamonds
6115 W. Sunset Blvd Suite 150, LA
At first glance Rubies + Diamonds is all about Hollywood shine and decadence. But, nothing about this coffee is just for show.
The crew at Rubies + Diamonds are coffee experts, and that is a title that we don’t take lightly.
They serve great drip brews and craft coffee drinks that have a magically quality about them.
They offer a 100% Robusta brew, which is something we don’t see every day. Mostly because finding a really great robusta bean that will appeal to a larger customer base is no easy task. Thiers is earthy, full bodies and gorgeously smooth.
We like the added touch of the caffeine ranking system that lets you choose your brew on the based in the jolt that comes with it.
In the mood for something a little more glamorous? Try their Vanilla Rose Latte or the Smoked Chile Mocha Latte.
Sorry, but we need to go now. That Robusta is calling our names.
Woodcat Coffee Bar
1532 W Sunset Blvd, LA
Los Angeles is equally chill and overwhelming at the same time.
Sometimes you just need to know there is someplace that you can escape into and shrug off the uptight aspects of LA culture.
Woodcat Coffee Bar is that place.
The red walls and modernly rustic wood accents give this place an instantly warm and welcoming vibe.
Here, what you will find is just really good coffee, no matter what your choice of caffeine fix.
Woodcat also earns a place on our list because they support their community by sourcing their beans from locally based Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters.
Atmosphere, quality and locally minded. That’s the trifecta of a great coffee bar.
Go Get Caffeinated!
The next time you are in the LA area, add a few of these to your list of must-go-to stops. If you are an LA native, we hope that you take advantage of the brewing coffee culture and enjoy the quality and experience that each of our picks offers.
What are your favorite caffeine hubs in LA?