You're a coffee fiend keeping track of every new specialty coffee shop that opens in L.A.? With one new cafe opening after another, it's not so easy anymore. But it is a lot easier to come across a great brewed coffee or perfect pull of espresso, whether in south Santa Monica or North Hollywood, Westside or East L.A. The steady stream of new-wave coffee that began several years ago has turned into an espresso-fueled torrent.
One of the newest is Go Get Em Tiger on Larchmont, from the team behind G&B Coffee, which only just opened last month in downtown’s Grand Central Market. Some are starting to roast their own coffee beans, such as Cafe Demitasse, which also recently opened a second location. Some locals were all along: Groundwork, Jones, Tierra Mia, LA Mill. And out-of-town roasters are moving in too, such as Caffe Vita.
Each cafe has its own apparati (siphons, Steampunks, Kalita drippers, even Fetco brewers, not to mention La Marzoccos, Stradas and Synessos), quirks (no sugar, no nonfat milk) and specialty drinks (shakerato!). Here's where to find the caffeine fix that's right for, or nearest, you.
A laid-back coffee spot in the Sawtelle area in West L.A., serving coffee from local roasters, and sometimes Blue Bottle. Time slows down a little here as the traffic whizzes by on Olympic; maybe that’s because the siphon process for all of the brewed coffee requires some patience. There are espresso drinks too. The almond latte is made with espresso, milk and pulverized almonds, an intriguing, not-too-sweet alternative to the caramel Frappucinos at the Starbucks across the street.
11301 W. Olympic Blvd., Suite 124, Los Angeles, (310) 906-0267, www.balconicoffeecompany.com.
With a wave of cafes opening downtown in the last couple of years, there's no dearth of specialty coffee between the Arts District and Little Tokyo. Cafe Demitasse opened as a multi-roaster coffee purveyor, brewing individual cups via siphon or Clever dripper. Now owner Bobby Roshan is roasting his own coffee and has since opened a second location.
135 S. San Pedro St., Los Angeles, (213) 613-9300; 1149 3rd St., Santa Monica, (310) 260-6308; www.cafedemitasse.com.
A friendly Little Tokyo coffee shop that does business in bacon doughnuts and spirulina rolls, as well as cup-by-cup drip coffee, with beans from mutiple roasters. Take your standard espresso drinks or Vietnamese-style iced coffee or Hong Kong-style milk tea to a yellow-umbrella-topped patio table in the Japanese Village Plaza.
134 Japanese Village Plaza Mall, Los Angeles, (213) 346-9910, www.cafedulce.co.Cafecito Organico
Owner Angel Orozco started Cafecito Organico in 2004, working out of Mama's Hot Tamales in MacArthur Park, then started roasting and selling his coffee at farmers markets, and opened the first Cafecito on Hoover Avenue, focusing on single-origin Central American coffees. Since then he and his partners have opened several locations, still working directly with producers of sustainable coffee mainly in Guatemala, Colombia, Honduras and El Salvador for drip coffee brewed via hand-pour and espresso drinks made with local milk.
534 N. Hoover St., Los Angeles, (213) 537-8367; 710 N. Heliotrope Drive, Los Angeles, (213) 537-8367; 29169 Heathercliff Road, Unit 112, Malibu; 2930 Bristol St., Costa Mesa, (949) 791-7058; 3800 W. Alameda Blvd., Burbank; www.cafecitoorganico.com.
A Westside coffee purveyor with sleek Euro-esque cafes, such as on Montana Avenue and in the Brentwood Country Mart, where baristas pull double ristrettos of the company's signature Testa Rossa (“red head”) espresso. The beans come from Caffe Luxxe's own South Bay roasting facility.
11975 San Vicente Blvd., Los Angeles, (310) 394-2222; Brentwood Country Mart, 225 26th St., Santa Monica; 11975 San Vicente Blvd., Los Angeles; www.cafeluxxe.com.
Seattle-based heavy hitter Caffe Vita opened a branch on Sunset Boulevard next to Silver Lake in February, its mascot Neapolitan puppet, Pulcinella, painted on the wall at the corner of Sunset and Virgil Avenue next to Rudy's Barbershop and across the street from the Vista Theatre. It's a light-filled two-level decked out with siphons, for brewing its own single-origin and blend coffees roasted in Seattle.