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Best Coffee in LA

I'm a self-proclaimed coffee snob...probably from years of drinking coffee, working in the coffee sector, and actually working for a British commodities company..BUT..it's hard to find good coffee in L.A. I'm not talking about over-roasted and lower quality beans being passed off as quality simply because there's a cultural trend for it (you know who and what I'm talking about)...so Chowhounds, I'm throwing down the gauntlet:
Where are your favorite places in LA (from the Valley to downtown to the beaches and beyond) for coffee and why? Quality of beans, barista skills, latte art, self-roasting, ambience that makes you want to come back?

Bring it on,

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  1. As much as I hate to admit it, Urth Cafe probably has the best coffee. It's rare to see a scenester place also serve good food.

    2 Replies
    1. re: BenNLC

      I agree. URTH CAFFE has the best coffee I have found in LA. The WeHo branch is the most scenester (which I find fun for people watching). The Beverly Hills and Santa Monica ones are more subdued.

      1. re: BenNLC

        Totally agreed, especially 'scenester'. I just blogged about them here: http://www.coffeewithchuck.net/2009/0... Let me know what you think.

        Living in Pasadena, I end up visiting places more on this side. I've gotta checkout the weho one soon though.

        Urth Caffe
        2327 Main St, Santa Monica, CA 90405

      2. Admittedly, I'm no expert, but I like the coffee at Peet's.

        13 Replies
        1. re: ipsedixit

          I like Peet's too -- esp. for a chain. If you're looking for something specific to LA, I'd recommend Ground Works coffee (they have a few stores throughout the area www.lacoffee.com )

          1. re: ipsedixit

            I second the Peet's nomination! Has anybody tried the new Freddo? I had a non-fat one the other day and it was surprisingly tasty.

            Then again - this is probably not what a coffee snob is looking for

            1. re: MareZeeDotes

              For the trivia file: Peets Berkley (I believe that is the original location) was the progeniter of the Starbuck$ chain, that is where they original Starbuck$ people learned about coffee. Mr. Peet was a brilliant genius with coffee beans. I believe one of the founders of Starbuck$ split from Starbuck$ and acquired control of Peets.

              1. re: ChinoWayne

                The original Peet's -- founded by Alfred Peet -- is still alive and well on the corner of Vine & Walnut in Berkeley's "Gourmet Ghetto" (around the corner from Chez Panisse), right where it's been since 1966.

                Yes, the people who founded Starbuck$ learned at Peet's, and went north to seek fame and fortune by creating the McDonald's of Espresso.

                1. re: zin1953

                  As someone who has actually worked at Peet's, they're not THAT different -- Peet's sold out to places like ABP long ago. Speaking of Bay Area coffee, does anyone know of places in LA that stock or serve Blue Bottle?

                  1. re: a_and_w

                    Blue Bottle is my favorite coffee so far! Both at the Saturday Fairy Bldg. Farmers Mkt. and Linden St. spot! I have not been able to find it in L.A. but have ordered whole beans which they roast on Mondays and it's in my mailbox on Wednesday.


                    edit, I ment Ferry Bldg.

                    1. re: sel

                      Blue Bottle is amazing coffee. I had in San Francisco not too long ago.

                      Since you can order Blue Bottle on line, I have another great selection for coffee: Raven's Brew Coffee, roasted in Alaska! My personal favorite from Raven's Brew is Deadman's Reach (Served in bed; raises the dead -- so reads the label).

                      1. re: Golem

                        Love the Raven's Brew Deadman's Reach--I just gave some as a gift!

                    2. re: a_and_w

                      You are in luck if you live near Venice. Equator Books on Abbot Kinney just opened their cafe and now serves Blue Bottle. They had a guy down from the SF Hayes Valley Mothership to train the barristas not too long ago. You will have to judge for yourself whether they are up to snuff. Until recently, I had been satisfying myself with Urth's Italia roast and Intelligensia Coffee; otherwise, I like to brew Peet's Major Dickenson coffee in my French Press.

                      1. re: Chowista

                        This is fantastic news re: Blue Bottle, thanks for sharing!

                        1. re: Beignets

                          I did mention Equator Books/Cafe, with link, below in my Dec 06, 2009 post.

                      2. re: a_and_w

                        Barista Society, downtown. New place...only coffee that I personally can drink. does not give me a headache. They have Bluebottle.

                  2. re: MareZeeDotes

                    According to the Peet's email list - you can get a small cup of the new freddo on the house on Sat. from 2-4pm (actually they are doing this for 3 weeks, the last of which will be this Saturday)

                2. I like the plain old ordinary espresso at El Cochinito on Sunset in Silverlake. Nothing fancy about it, as a matter of fact they use La Llave coffee out of the can. But there is just something about their machine, the grind, the water, whatever that combine to make the finest cup of espresso in Los Angeles. (My girlfriend swears by their cafe con leche.) Can't get anything else fancy and coffee related there, the atmosphere is stark and plain. The roast pork is awfully good. I think it kicks butt over any of the fancy, modern, coffeecentric places I've been to.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: estone888

                    Right on! I swear by the cafe con leche there as well


                  2. Having posted on a similar subject not long ago after getting here from Seattle, the best I have found, by far, in my first couple of months in LA is Polly's Gourmet Coffee in Long Beach. Urth and Susina are perfectly good, they are good at everything, but Polly's is about the coffee, which they roast there. The owner does barista training, etc. Basic, Seattle style goodness, but to my admittedly limited experience absolutely unique in this city. If anyone who knows Polly's can recommend equivalents elsewhere (is Groundwork in Santa Monica similar caliber? Anything nearer Pasadena?), particularly with an in-store roasting component, I'd love to hear it.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: EricW

                      Pasadena Coffee Company on Walnut. They roas their own beans. I've only been there once and actually did not care that much for the coffee that I tried.


                    2. Favorites include:

                      1. Sabor Y Cultura in Hollywood (buy beans here)
                      2. Urth Caffe (good food and coffee, annoying environment)
                      3. Priscilla's in Toluca Lake
                      4. Zona Rosa in Pasadena
                      5. Novel Cafe in Westwood (good drip coffee)

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: running pig

                        Surprisingly enough, I have to second the recommendation for Novel Cafe in Westwood. Haven't tried their espresso drinks, but they do have really good basic drip coffee. They're generous with refills, there's never a wait for a table, and they let you linger and read/study/sip for as long as you want.

                        1. re: running pig

                          I second Priscilla's. Their coffee is great and the staff seems to know their stuff, especially the guys that work in the am with the commuter/studio crowd.

                          1. re: running pig

                            assuming that you are talking about the place that used to be Espresso Mi Cultura - I completely agree.
                            I'm not sure its' still the same. But, I've since moved to Long beach and I miss that place.

                            1. Mama's Tamale's off Alvarado on the south side of MacArthur Park has amazing coffee.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: mcsss

                                There is nothing better than a fresh pot of strong, hot coffee at Mama's on a weekend morning. They used to roast it on site. It really is among the richest coffees i've ever had.

                                Somecrust Bakery on Yale in Claremont has great coffee (Santa Cruz), a brew bar, and they pull a fine espresso. The mocha lattes are made with a housemade chocolate syrup and the whipped cream is fresh and delicious. And it's close to the Claremont Depot, so you can ride the Metrolink out to get your fix.

                              2. Thank you mcsss. Angel at Mama's makes amazing coffees, all fair trade/shade grown/organic/yada yada. More folks need to know about him.

                                Folks who say Peet's -- y'all need to get around a bit more!

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Bacco Mamma

                                  Haha, I should actually disclaimered that Peet's is my favorite of the big chains (Starbuck$, Coffee Bean, Gloria Jean's, etc.) -- my fave LA-only option will probably be Groundworks though.

                                2. There's an Italian barista who works at the Beverly Hills Il Fornaio (301 N Beverly Dr., (310) 550-8330), and when he's there, the lattes are exceptional. He works the machine for the restaurant, not the take out counter (which does not generally have particularly good coffee beverages), and he is not always there. But, when he's working the machine, it's really, really good. (Hard to explain, but it tastes concentrated, almost like it's condensed or something.)

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: David Kahn

                                    Somehow I can't get my mind to embrace the term "barista", it always seems like a cloying Starbuck$ marketing ploy. Now "barrister" I can handle. ;-)

                                  2. Javatinis, on Main Street, off PCH, in Old Town Seal Beach. They roast their own daily, and will custom roast a pound at a time for you in about 20 minutes, from a selection of about half a dozen beans (~$12-13/lb). IMHO it's much better than Polly's in Long Beach, and far superior to the chains. And you have the beach just a block away.

                                    1. Thanks for all of the responses, and keep 'em coming. I'm pretty familiar with all of the places mentioned thus far, with the exception of Novel Cafe...and I have to disagree about the quality of Urth Cafe. It is a scene, for sure, which attracts some. There's a few definite pluses about Urth, depending on the barista, such as the latte art, but overall, I find the quality of their drip coffee to be over-extracted, and kept in circulation for too long. In addition, they expose their espresso beans to air and light for too long which a)causes a reduction in the quality of the crema and b)degrades the overall quality of the bean by exposing it to other aromas/flavors etc. inherent in that environment. That is of course, my opinion.
                                      Angel is a great barista and is passionate about coffee at Mama's Hot Tamales, and Zona Rosa is great too.
                                      Peet's, well if you have to go somewhere corporate and relatively insipid, I guess that's the least of the evils.
                                      Thanks all.

                                      17 Replies
                                      1. re: peanut112

                                        To many of us, Graffeo in Beverly Hills provides the best coffee, yet you will not be able to judge by walking into the store, in that they only roast light roast, dark roast, and decaf, and only sell the beans, ground or whole, period! Not in the drinking business. Yet they have been around for many decades, are based in SF, and truly put out a fine product, which is used by oh so many restaurants both here in California as well as many other places in the country, as they ship overnight.
                                        Buy some, and use your own method of preparation and see how it compares.

                                        1. re: carter

                                          We too drink Graffeo which is excellent. The Whole Foods on Fairfax and Santa Monica gets a weekly shipment as well.

                                          1. re: carter

                                            Graffeo has been my favorite place in S. Cal. to pick up beans for a long time. I pay my 99% CH inspired AmEx bill a couple of doors down in the office partly as an excuse to grab beans - only tried Dark Roast though.

                                            1. re: sel

                                              Perfect selection. I will make the drive from Sherman Oaks to get Graffeo dark roast, yet I can walk two blocks to Coffee Roaster!

                                              1. re: sel

                                                While most of this post is about 3 or so years old, I just want to mention that Graffeo in Beverly Hills is now out of business. Closed last month - lack of business!

                                              2. re: carter

                                                I agree with Graffeo in Beverly Hills as some of the best beans in Los Angeles. If you are in the Los Feliz or Siverlake area Psychobabble Coffee House of Vermont and Franklin brews only that and on the West Side, Clementine in Century City.

                                                1. re: carter

                                                  The Problem with Graffeo is the Beans. Irregular Size beans make for Roasting issues, small ones roast faster than larger ones.
                                                  Premium Beans like LA MILL uses are far superior and all the same size! There is no better cup of coffee in LA than Providence's which comes in a French Press and is LA MILL beans, unbeatable! $7-

                                                2. re: peanut112

                                                  Would you say that overextraction causes coffee to taste too "strong" or bitter? I hate to judge Urth from one visit when I had a cold drink, but the coffee tasted overpoweringly strong and dark.

                                                  I love all kinds of coffee, but felt like Urth was overcompensating for serving mediocre coffee by brewing a big strong dose of it. As if people would just say "Yee haw, this is good and strong" without realizing that the coffee itself didn't have any aroma, flavor, nuances, fragrance, or subtelty. Its only characteristic was strong.

                                                  Like I said, that's just from one visit, but I'm curious what you think since you seem to know your coffee. Or what blends at Urth are people's favorites.

                                                  If Graffeo is as good as it is in SF, it's definitely worth a visit.

                                                  1. re: peanut112

                                                    Riddle me this, peanut. Does the form of business entity or the nature of ownership directly affect the taste of coffee?

                                                    I started drinking Peet's when I attended high school in the Berkeley/Oakland Hills and we could just manage to zip to their Domingo St. location by the Claremont between 2nd and 3rd periods once one of us got a drivers license. I think that back then they had a total of five stores, all in the Bay Area. Among their best coffees then was the Major Dickason's blend, although the Arabian Mocha - Java was pretty darn good too. And I mean coffee, brewed, black, maybe sugar, not frou-frou drinks.

                                                    As I got older, went off to college, etc., I couldn't find anyplace with comparably flavorful beans, with the sole exception of Coffee Connection in Cambridge/Boston. So I ordered Peets by mail order.

                                                    Fast forward 15 years. In the interim, Starbucks happened. Peets stayed a regional player and then decided, apparently, that they needed to grow or die at the hands of the aforementioned bohemoth (and presumably some of the owners wanted to cash out via IPO, can you blame them?). And thank god, because otherwise I wouldn't be able to get their beans in SoCal. I continue to buy my beans from Peets and brew it myself because IMHO their single origin beans and their blends remain the best, and their roast brings forward the flavors I enjoy from flavorful beans. The Major Dickason's and Mocha-Java blends remain the same quality wise as when they were a privately owned, 5 shop operation, and they've added good new ones (e.g. Sierra Dorado). So, while Peets is now "corporate" I don't believe the quality of what I buy has suffered a bit, which is why I buy it. If you find their product "insipid" I would respectfully suggest that you may be brewing it wrong. That is, if you brew your own coffee at all.

                                                    1. re: DonnyMac

                                                      Well put, DonnyMac. I'll be the broken record and say that Peet's coffee is delicious if and only if you can find a store with high turnover on whole beans. This is true even in the Bay Area, where I know of some diehard 'hounds who will drive an extra few miles to go to the busiest Peet's. I've had bad Peet's coffee, but only when the beans have been allowed to sit around too long.

                                                      Starbuck's, on the other hand, is never good no matter where you buy the means--or when. Always overroasted, always burnt tasting. Even old Peet's beans taste better than supposedly fresh Starbuck's beans. Come to think of it, does Starbuck's even aftertise the roast dates on their coffee? I think not. Peet's always clearly labels their coffee so you don't have to buy something old.

                                                      I'm also a fan of the Major Dickinson, and of some of the fair trade (Cinco Hermanas comes to mind, light smooth coffee from a farm run by women in South America). There was also one interesting blend that was advertised as being aftertaste-free. I don't know if that's really desirable in a coffee, but it could come in handy at the office! And it did taste good; anyone remember the name?

                                                      Pei, formerly nooodles

                                                      1. re: DonnyMac

                                                        I like Peet's too. I don't care if it doesn't have "small coffee shop" cred.

                                                        In Pasadena, there's a place on Raymond between California and Del Mar that roasts their own coffee beans. Don't remember the name.

                                                        1. re: bfez

                                                          It's Jones Coffee Roaster's, and its very good. The LA Times food section today apparently enjoyed their french roast. They brew good espresso there, as well supplying beans for purchase. Not much of a hang, more of a warehouse, but great product.

                                                          1. re: CulverJack

                                                            Have to schedule an early meeting soon in Pasadena. Would Jones Coffee Roaster be a place to get a good cup of coffee and be comfortable enough to talk business in a very casual way? Do they do specialty drinks, meaning at least lattes or caps, just the basic brewed coffee and espresso? Don't need a Starbux environment, just some tables and chairs would work.

                                                            1. re: carter

                                                              It's very bare bones - they have a few benches and a table or two. They have adapted some of their warehouse space to a little sitting area, basically. If your discussions were to be completely casual, and not all that private, it may work. They do specialty drinks, including iced drinks.

                                                              They don't have air conditioning, as I recall. In Pasadena in September, that may indeed be a deal killer for you! I'd consider Europane or Lovebirds in the same area, or Equator if you want somewhere funkier. Coffee is best at Jones, but that's probably about it.

                                                            2. re: CulverJack

                                                              Jones alert. Excellent coffee. Please note however if you are going to buy 5 pounds of beans the price online is about one-half the price instore!

                                                          2. re: DonnyMac

                                                            Us Peet's drinkers are a very loyal bunch. Peet's even markets that fact in their advertising.

                                                            I started drinking it in college at Berkeley and had to mail order it for almost a decade after returning to L.A.! They have been extemely consistent in their quality all these 30 years and I sometimes wonder if they inadvertantly "ruined" my ability to like anybody else's coffee! I mean I've had good and great cups of coffee in the U.S. and Europe, but it's always Peets I crave first thing in the morning.

                                                          3. re: peanut112

                                                            Cafe Balcony on Santa Monica at Rochester. This place knows coffee. Beans selected with care and locally roasted in small batches. Each cup individually siphon brewed to exacting standards. Of course, you have to go when the owner is there (which is often, thankfully), as some of his managers can't tell coffee from motor oil.

                                                            Cafe Balcony is truly a great cup of joe. And they do latte art.

                                                            Another stand out is Kaffa, down in Orange. I know it isn't LA proper, but its greater LA. They do latte art here too, by the way.

                                                            Sabor y Cultura in Hollywood is very good.

                                                            Of the other places mentioned so far in this thread. Peet's is pretty darn good for a regional chain. It's better than Urth (good for tea, coffee's not bad), Priscilla's, Coffee Roaster (I've tried to like it, but I don't).

                                                          4. Yesterday, I had one of the best lattes I've had in a LONG time at Portos in Glendale. The "kid" working the machine took great care with every drink, the milk was heated/foamed perfectly and the coffee flavor was wonderful. I know it must have been good because I used half as much sugar as I normally do.

                                                            I had a decent coffee drink at Kaldi in Atwater Village this morning, but that might have been the coconut syrup talking (I know I know...but it was good!)

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: annalulu

                                                              YES! I just told someone in another thread that the espresso at Portos is surprisingly good (I order cafe Cubano). Unexpected for a busy bakery.

                                                            2. Of the ones not posted here, try Antigua Cultural Coffee House in El Sereno. They get their beans from a family plantation in Guatemala and they sell lighter roasts which is probably what you are looking for.

                                                              1. I tend to like non-chain coffee shops and I think the coffee at Cafe Americano (http://www.cafeamericano.net/index.htm) is pretty good. It has a unique but subtle taste and the atmosphere of the shop is cute and friendly.

                                                                It's near Koreatown on Wilshire and Wilton.

                                                                1. Coffee Roaster in Sherman Oaks roasts their own coffee & makes excellent lattes. Good espresso.
                                                                  And on the Westside, Coffee Conservatory in Culver City (on Washington across fr: Sony Studios) takes great pride in their hand-roasted beans. Also excellent lattes & espresso, I think.

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: archer

                                                                    Have never tried the latte or espresso at Coffee Roaster in Sherman Oaks, but their standard cup of black coffee you order when you walk in the front door is one of the worst cups I have ever had, and that was as recently as a week ago last Sunday when Pane Dolce diagonally across the street was not open yet. It was so bad I had to throw half of it in the gutter and finally get across the street once Pane Dolce opened to get a real cup, not a real good cup, of coffee, but light years better than the roaster's. God, McD's and Denny's have better.

                                                                    1. re: archer

                                                                      Rocky Roasters in Canoga Park (on Canoga Avenue north of Vanowen) is also an independent coffee roaster. Some of their roasts are better than others, but the store is beginning to find "its voice," and I think anyone willing to try out something new and slightly different try this place.

                                                                    2. For the most part, I brew my coffee at home. This - because I am both cheap and picky.

                                                                      I like plain, black coffee. Nary an almond, hazlenut, vanilla frappaccino passes my lips. Sure the occasional latte is delicious but mainly, I just want a good cup of joe.
                                                                      And believe it or not, it is truly hard to find an actual, good cup of brewed coffee at most coffehouses I've tried. The one exception I have found is Groundworks.

                                                                      As I was ordering a frothy-foamy item at Groundworks (across the street from my office), I was bemoaning the lack of good brewed coffee anywhere. The guys who run the Groundworks told me that the acrid/burned drip coffee at Starbucks, Peets and CBTL is intentionally undrinkable. It makes the consumer order an espresso drink for far more money than a simple brewed coffee. They invited me to try theirs - and it is actually good.

                                                                      For my homebrew, I buy Peet's beans. They have an excellent selection of beans and offer at least one fair trade option. Peet's also makes a great foamy frothy concotion - but their brewed coffee is acrid swill.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: bodie

                                                                        The guy who told you this at Groundworks is full of it. No one at Peet's is making their coffee intentionally undrinkable.

                                                                      2. Hello, speaking as another vet of kaffee-arbeit and presently roasting at home, I suggest Laguna Coffee Co., old school small batch artisan roasted from high quality sources, on the PCH in Laguna Beach, if your peregrinations take you down there. cheers

                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                        1. re: moto

                                                                          I like ordering my beans from Jones Coffee Roasters in Pasadena. Good selection and you can order via the Internet, and since they are local, usually I will receive my order the next day.


                                                                          1. re: ChinoWayne

                                                                            THANK YOU!!!!! I like to brew my own coffee at home as well, but whenever I need to get a cup of coffee, I like Europane. Owner said she bought her beans at Jones. I have been trying to find the address or website until now. Thanks ChinoWayne!

                                                                            1. re: ktla97

                                                                              Oh, thank you, you just made my day.

                                                                              1. re: ktla97

                                                                                Actually, as I understand it Europane's excellent coffee is a 50/50 blend of a Jones Roast and some organic roast that I think they have shipped to the store or something. Regardless, it's good.

                                                                          2. Cafe Balcony in West LA brews the best coffee. Every cup is made to order, using a siphon coffee brewer, a device invented in the 1830s.


                                                                            From the Cafe Balcony website:

                                                                            "Café Balcony is passionate about coffee. The "regular coffee" is made in a rarely-sighted "siphon" pot: filtered water is heated over an open flame, forced through freshly ground beans of your choice, and then pulled back through them with gentle vacuum force - the 19th century way. Of course, the Café has all those espresso drinks you know and love . . . but probably made better than you've ever had."


                                                                            Beans from Kenya, Bolivia, Columbia, Brazil, India, Sumatra and Guatemala are available this week, and they also have a house blend and Illy espresso.

                                                                            Above all the owner has a passion for coffee and truly cares about the quality of his brew.

                                                                            Cafe balcony
                                                                            12431 Rochester Ave
                                                                            Los Angeles, CA 90025

                                                                            3 1 0 . 8 2 0 . 6 9 1 6

                                                                            H O U R S:
                                                                            Noon to Midnight

                                                                            1. I like Marie et cie in Studio City On Riverside. Little cafe/coffee shop with a beautiful patio of flowering vines, pottery and fountains. Lovely to sit outside with a very nice cup of coffee or latte. Coffee is consistently good and the servers are always very gracious.

                                                                              1. Suddenly, I'm hearing a lot about LA mill. We had it at Hatfield's and it was delicious. Otherwise, I'm a Peet's guy.


                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                1. re: cvc

                                                                                  I think LAMill makes blends for a couple of restaurants, wihch blends may be available only at those restaurants - such as Providence's LAMill blend. I am curious whether Hatfield's LAMill blend is likewise only available at Hatfield's.

                                                                                  1. re: Chowista

                                                                                    At least Blue Bottle sells some of their excellent restaurant blends.


                                                                                2. I've been an Urth Caffe customer since they were in a place the size of a closet in Manhattan Beach 15 years ago. I brew mostly at home.

                                                                                  I have never found equal coffee - at ANY price. I like the Antigua Sumatra JavaTM and also the slightly less expensive Guatemalan Four EstatesTM. Sometimes I get a 5 lb bag and save 10%, also save the bags and get a free pound with 10 bags.

                                                                                  You can spend as much or more and not get this quality and taste!!

                                                                                  The owners are very nice people. I am so glad their business has flourished and continues to. They also bring infrastructure into the areas they buy their coffee from in very poor places, no pesticides is good for the taste too!

                                                                                  I see Chowhounders bash Urth Caffe from time to time on the board but I think their coffee is the best quality you can get. Their food is very good, great desserts. They are almost always busy, we are not a patient group here in LA when we have to wait. I think this is where the issue lies.

                                                                                  1. Nobody has mentioned Kings Road Cafe. They make a terrific cappucino.

                                                                                    1. Kelly's Coffee & Fudge in Arcadia, for both coffee and iced tea!

                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: calabasas_trafalgar

                                                                                        If you mean Kelly's in the strip center on Huntington Drive, just west of the 210 overpass, they have been gone for about a year.

                                                                                        1. re: ChinoWayne

                                                                                          No, the one in the Santa Anita mall, next to JC Penney. iwas just there yesterday!

                                                                                          1. re: calabasas_trafalgar

                                                                                            Ah hah, got you. The wife commutes from Chino to Glendale every day and she used to like to stop at the Kelly's on Huntington Drive, I think the mall location would be a little too far out of her way, unless of course the 210 is a parking lot. She did like their coffee (and probably the chocolate too.)

                                                                                      2. I get my beans from two local sources:
                                                                                        1. Peet's - the SoCal locations get their shipments once a week, so you can call ahead and inquire as to the roast date of the bean you are interested in. This way, you can get beans as quick as two days after roast.
                                                                                        2. Supreme Bean - they have several excellent espresso blends (Del Norte, Abruzzo, Bella Luna) and the 1lb bags are the nifty ziploc type with one-way valves and have received good reviews on coffeereview.com. Based in NoHo but Coffee Attic in Redondo Beach is a supplier.

                                                                                        I brew my own coffee because I have full control over the variables. There are just too many variables when you order from a cafe - bean freshness, equipment cleanliness, barista skills, etc. that I've pretty much given up. If you do find a particular barista who knows his/her stuff, stick with them. Still, there are a few places that have been well received by the coffeegeek community. They are:

                                                                                        REDCAT (mentioned below)
                                                                                        Tao Organic, near REDCAT at 300 S. Grand
                                                                                        Coffee Klatch in San Dimas is probably the best known, as one of their baristas was a U.S. Barista competition champ. One of the very few places that does latte art (i.e., they know how to make microfoam).

                                                                                        The SCAA (Specialty Coffee Association) has an upcoming free consumer seminar at their HQ in Long Beach for the coffee fanatics out there. Should be a lot of fun and a good opportunity to learn more.

                                                                                        1. You know, there was an earlier thread on this and an odd place was getting props (yo!) from a lot of folks, so I went and checked it out. It's REDCAT at Disney Hall downtown, and the espresso, and cappucino, are indeed killer. Can't speak for the drip. It's well worth a try, and a neat to place to visit and look around.

                                                                                          They supposedly use beans from Vivace in Seattle, which is a mecca of sorts in a town that takes things like warming liquids seriously.

                                                                                          Groundwork is also really good, as is Coffee Conservatory in good old Culver City, which is where I usually buy beans.

                                                                                          1. Il Fornaio, at least the one in Beverly Hills, has great coffee. Their brewed American style coffee is perfect. To my taste, better than Urth.

                                                                                            Their espresso at the bar is also exemplary. Unfortunately, I've bought their beans and have not been able to duplicate their quality at home. Don't know why.

                                                                                            BTW, I'm only recommending their coffee; their breakfasts are very uneven.

                                                                                            1. I forgot to mention that Trader Joes has a very fine coffee that is rather pricey for them, but worth every penny. It's I think, called Yemen Mocha. It's $9.49 for 13 oz. Most of their machines grind way too coarsely, so set it for the finest grind possible for your standard drip machine. It's excellent and, to my taste, better than Graffeo but actually pricier per pound!

                                                                                              1. Ristretto and Culver Jack, thanks for the REDCAT shout out, I'll have to check it out. I must've been by it a million times, but never noticed.
                                                                                                The Klatch in San Dimas does indeed have a former US champion from 2003, Heather Perry, who I believe won the Western Regional three times in a row, possibly more...she teaches espresso classes, manages more than one Klatch location and last I heard was married, raising a step son and applying to law school....and she's only 24. WOW! Having seen and read articles about some of the concoctions created by Heather and other competitors at the competitions, I think that a show/special is definitely deserved on the Food Network.
                                                                                                Perhaps Alton Brown is a Chowhound and will take up the challenge

                                                                                                1. King's Road Cafe on Beverly Blvd. has amazing coffee and beautiful lattes. It's a great way to start the morning. Also, Peet's is wonderful as so many have already noted.

                                                                                                  1. Keep your eyes out for Intelligentsia Coffee. http://www.intelligentsiacoffee.com/ They're only in Chicago now but they're planning on opening one in L.A. soon. It's the best coffee I've ever had with the exception of Jack's Stir Brewed in N.Y. http://www.jacksstirbrew.com/

                                                                                                    Here's an article on Intelligentsia's obsessive coffee fanatacism.


                                                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: neogomer

                                                                                                      If that's true, it would be excellent news. Whole Foods has carried some of their blends for awhile now, but their weeks old roast dates seem to indicate slow turnover.

                                                                                                      Edit - saw an article in today's LA Times' Food section on Intelligentsia - they are planning to open in Silverlake by year's end - lucky Silverlakers!

                                                                                                      1. re: neogomer

                                                                                                        right now, you can buy intelligensia at pazzo gelato in silver lake. the only retail outlet i've heard of in l.a. they gave me a taster of the house french press...nice. the black cat espresso is the bomb.

                                                                                                        1. re: neogomer

                                                                                                          Here's a blog about the opening of Intelligentsia in Silver Lake. Looks promising!


                                                                                                          1. re: neogomer

                                                                                                            Ditto on Intelligentsia.

                                                                                                            Nook happens to serve it. I had coffee there a couple weeks ago not knowing who their supplier was, and the quality was apparent with my first sip. Very good stuff. Not sure if all their coffees are at this level, but the blend which they serve is definitely tasty.

                                                                                                            1. re: dynamike

                                                                                                              Joe's in Venice serves Intelligentsia as well...

                                                                                                            2. re: neogomer

                                                                                                              I spoke to the Intelligentsia naional sales manager Paul in Chicago in charge of opening the LA place, and he says August. They picked a really weird location, 3922 Sunset Boulevard
                                                                                                              Los Angeles, CA 90029. Perhaps they're hoping to build a bean delivery business serving both downtown and the West Side and picked a place in the middle.

                                                                                                            3. Another vote for Groundworks. I find their El Salvador organic to be particularly delicious. And their prices for bulk coffee are very good. Plus, since you are scooping the beans out of the bulk bin yourself, you can eyeball and sniff the goods before you buy.

                                                                                                              I also like the vibe at the branches I visit (Rose Ave in Venice; Main St. in SaMo). Funky and earthy. I find the barristas to be interesting cats as well (and they get to choose the music coming outta the boombox -- no endless loop of corporate soundtracks!)

                                                                                                              They also have teas (and mate) in bulk, as well as interesting candy and suchlike.

                                                                                                              1. I do like the vibe at Groundworks a lot...they always have a friendly crowd and it's more inviting than some of the other larger chains.
                                                                                                                I do have a problem with coffee bins, however, since oxygen and light are enemies of coffee and since the consumer is scooping out themselves, I think that can compromise the integrity...

                                                                                                                Intel is indeed on their way to LA to try and penetrate the market but I know the LA based companies, such as Groundworks, who truly value their clientele and passion will fight hard against that :)

                                                                                                                1. well I was called "silttooth" for many years because I drank strong silty coffee that I made, and constantly. Had to give that up and now primarily drink tea, BUT i do love a cup of coffee once a month or so, and the BEST I have had in LA is at the Banyan indonesian restaurant in redondo beach on the PCH.
                                                                                                                  i used to like my coffee endless, strong and black and this coffee is not that: it is thick and sweet. it is well-caffeineted however. can't recommend the coffee highly enough.


                                                                                                                  (their food is pretty good, probably been there a good half dozen times, but it's the coffee that brings me back)

                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: mr mouther

                                                                                                                    Both Banyan restaurants are out of business.

                                                                                                                    1. re: carter

                                                                                                                      oh my goodness. i don't know how i'm going to break that to miss mouther. it could have been her fav. rest. in LA (She's made me drive the long trek from echo park just for it many times.) i thought the food was above average but nothing spectactular, besides the coffee. oh boy, this is info that miss mouther is going to have a hard time taking

                                                                                                                  2. I've had Intelligentsia coffee in Chicago and was impressed but not wowed. For me, the best coffee in the country (well the best capuccino) is at La Columbe in Philadelphia.

                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                    1. re: ChewFun

                                                                                                                      for some reason that intelligentsia coffee in chitown always tastes better when served at charlie trotter's than it does when served at home or anywhere else, even at their own coffeeshop (i'm an ex chi-hound)

                                                                                                                    2. la coffee mill beans are fantastic! they supply beans to Providence restaurant.
                                                                                                                      currently they do not have a retail store/cafe, but you can purchase them online
                                                                                                                      check out www.lamillcoffee.com/
                                                                                                                      very serious coffee connoiseurs.

                                                                                                                      1. coffee klatch's belle espresso received 94 points from coffeereview.com. kenneth davids is sort of the robert parker of coffee beans.

                                                                                                                        we like the belle espresso. the black cat and sant' eustachio is our temple, though.


                                                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: revets2

                                                                                                                          where can I find the sant' eustachio and what type of bean is it

                                                                                                                          1. re: stormin norman

                                                                                                                            their blend is a secret and proprietary. they even make their espresso behind blacked-out lucite so you can't see.

                                                                                                                            we brought back 10 lbs. from rome, but it obviously was not enough. their only distributor in the u.s. wants $19 for roughly 1/2 lb. and $15 shipping.

                                                                                                                            find the the links below:


                                                                                                                            u.s. distributor

                                                                                                                            william grimes article from the new york times

                                                                                                                            1. re: stormin norman

                                                                                                                              normal, when you prepared espresso with the sant'eustachio coffee at him did it produce a comparably thick layer of crema?

                                                                                                                              1. re: danyoung

                                                                                                                                no, i'd say we've had a tough time recreating the crema of SE espresso and what you buy in rome fresh is slightly better than what is shipped to you via gustiamo in NY.

                                                                                                                                the belle espresso competition blend comes close. la mill's espress closer. the flavor is close on the black cat intelligensia and caffe luxxe i get the crema, but a slightly overextracted, over roasted flavor on both the testarossa and the a capella.

                                                                                                                                hope that helps.

                                                                                                                              2. re: stormin norman

                                                                                                                                Don't know if anyone's following this thread any more, but Bay Cities in SM is now carrying Sant'Eustacio, and unlike Gustiamo in NYC, sells it in whole bean (as well as grinds for espresso, moka, and drip).

                                                                                                                                $13.98 for 8.8 oz. Pricey, but it's an interesting, mellow coffee and even tho I like darker/stronger, it's very good.

                                                                                                                            2. Tried a lot of different coffees but still love Trader Joes Kenya AA. Use an AeroPress and find it brings out the truest taste of even the cheapest coffee. I really mean it about the AeroPress and urge any coffee lover to try it. For the $30 it cost me, I can't seem to be interested in making coffee any other way. I used to order Zabars Kenya but they've discontinued it and can't seem to explain why it's still listed but not sold on their website.

                                                                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: EclecticEater

                                                                                                                                Ok, I'm a virgin here on Chowhound but I couldn't help but chime in as I'm about ready to look up my local chapter of Coffee Addicts Anonymous. This is a tough one all right. In the morning, I can't imagine not having my little Bialetti Mokamaker chugging away with a mixture of my 3 favorite Italian blends. I found that as long as the grind is the same they make beautiful music together; like a concert in my mouth..ha. They are Lavazza d'oro, Illy and Tazza d'oro. Even two of them together is heavenly; even on their own. I'm not sure if this happens to my fellow coffee crazies but don't you find that every once and awhile you have to mix it up a bit..even going so far as to break away from the mainstays? I went kicking and screaming into Urth with a friend who had been begging me to be open minded enough to try their"capper" (as we call them)..and surprisingly, it was good..smooth with excellent foam and a decent roasted without being burnt clean coffee bean aftertaste. So, if any of you are considering it, I'd say it's worth a detour.
                                                                                                                                Now, I hate to so brazenly tease you fellow "coffiends" but at the moment I'm sipping my favorite cappuccino in the world at Bar St Eustachio in ROME.
                                                                                                                                And yes, I come all this way for the "coffee". Liz

                                                                                                                                  1. re: lizardla

                                                                                                                                    Drinking coffee or express in Italia is very different, for some reason. I'd say the food, the language, the attitude, all conspire to make the experience something entirely different. So, for that matter, is the simple fact of eating a pizza, an arrugla salad or lasagna. After biking through a portion of Tuscany, I once had the opportunity to see how gelato was made. Now gelato was the prime dessert when biking, we ate it regularly every day, it tasted like nothing in the U.S. But when I saw the industrial drill like mixer and the hole-like cannister it was mixed in and the pre packaged can from a Swiss company with lots of ingredients, including preservatives, it took away some, not all, of the magic. So some of it is the ambiance, the terroir, the country and the language.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: EclecticEater

                                                                                                                                      very jealous and happy for you, liz. hope you bring some beans back. i've discovered it's very expensive to get them over here and the 10 lbs. i brought back wasn't quite enough.

                                                                                                                                      EcEater...regarding the "can" you saw. this is a semi-finished paste. some say some are very good. some even say some artisans make it (whatever). they best gelato is made from scratch (like most things) base and all. so many gelato bars here say, "made on the premises." they fail to mention from a can.

                                                                                                                                      you can usually tell, though. the texture of paste is more like soft serve ice cream, too sweet, and the color is very artificial. sometimes you can tell by what they're called. "after eight" for example is a sign for me that the base is not homemade.

                                                                                                                                      try BULGARINI in pasadena. leo's from rome and although he's still perfecting his product, it's made the old, artisinal way and is very good.

                                                                                                                                      he and his wife are at the pacific asia museum and the pasadena laemmle near vroman's fri-sun only.


                                                                                                                                1. The coffee at Hilton hotels has always been my favorite - very smooth, not terribly dark and served with cream. My favorite breakfast at any Hilton is strawberries with whipped cream, their coffee, and a Diet Coke.

                                                                                                                                  1. I ought to add that Illy, though expensive, is one of the better coffees I've tried. Consistently excellent.

                                                                                                                                    1. I love that this thread pops up every so often, since I'm the original poster and LIZ, I'm very jealous....showoff :)

                                                                                                                                      I both agree and disagree with you, Eclectic: the ambiance and physical environment certainly make a difference in your psychological feel for the product, but for me that would only last so long...if the product doesn't deliver, I'll know, regardless of whether I'm sitting in Rome, Italy or Rome, GA.

                                                                                                                                      There are four things that make coffee and espresso great. Of course, those four things can also make them average, or even terrible.
                                                                                                                                      1. Quality of the whole beans used (yes, I said whole bean...instant, pre-ground, pre-packaged, or let's just go out on a limb and say Robusta don't count).
                                                                                                                                      2. Quality of the water being used. Coffee is 98% water after all, and the water better be filtered, but not completely, because some sediment is required.
                                                                                                                                      3. Quality of the grind. Hey, we all know that an espresso grind just won't make good drip coffee and vice versa, so the grind is important.
                                                                                                                                      4. Quality of the extraction/brew of the coffee or the short. There are a lot of ways to mess this up, from poor equipment care, to poor barista training...this is truly where Italy is separated from 99% of the locations in the US. Being a barista in Italy is a career, as opposed to a Summer job.

                                                                                                                                      Sorry, I'm ranting on a Monday morning.

                                                                                                                                      and Liz, just in case you didn't catch it up top...I'm jealous.
                                                                                                                                      - :)

                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: peanut112

                                                                                                                                        well said, peanut112. you should give donny a try at sabor y cultura on hollywood at gramercy. he's an incredible barista. everyday except fridays usually only until the early afternoon.


                                                                                                                                        1. re: revets2

                                                                                                                                          I've heard a lot about Donny and I definitely need to check him out. A great barista is hard to come by.

                                                                                                                                      2. The LA Times did indeed do an article today on both home brewers and comparisons of the top 14 (I think) French/Parisian roasts in town.
                                                                                                                                        It was nice that the LA Times took some time to do an article, but it's basically like comparing apples and oranges.
                                                                                                                                        In my opinion, no home machine is worth a darn, especially not at such paltry prices. $400.00 may seem like a lot for a home machine, you say, but I retort that you get what you pay for and a home brewer better have a burr grinder, it better have grind varieties, it better have temperature control, it better brew at the correct temperature and it better not 'cook' the coffee...I've yet to find a home brewer I like.

                                                                                                                                        As for the comparisons of the various coffee companies, the top three are definitely great local companies, some with street cred, some with celebrity cred. It's definitely your own personal opinion, but I still say that comparing company A's roast to company B's roast may not exactly be comparing apples to apples since not all the roasting profiles of each company are the same.

                                                                                                                                        Now a really good test would've been to take three, four or five roasts from each of the companies and then compared notes. I don't think testing one particular roast per roaster is necessarily of a company being great or of a company not being great.

                                                                                                                                        My two cents.

                                                                                                                                        1. In Atwater, Kaldi Coffee and Tea roasts their own beans and has a great neighborhoody vibe. Very good espresso. They have La brea bakery pastries too, which is nice. The staff can be slow, but be patient -- this ain't starbucks and that's a very good thing.

                                                                                                                                          I also LOVE Tropical Cafe on Sunset in Silverlake. when you order coffee what they give you is (I think) an espresso milk latte-like mixture and boy is it good. best with a guava cheese pastry or some other cuban delight in the glass case.

                                                                                                                                          1. For me, it's still home-brewing using Illy on my Gaggia. Outside of the house, I've had to resort to just trying to find good tea instead.

                                                                                                                                            1. Sauce,
                                                                                                                                              home brewing will always be superior to those larger commercial places, for sure. Heck, even home roasting is becoming more affordable and user-friendly and home roasting is vastly superior to most places, even many smaller roasters.
                                                                                                                                              That being said, I feel like you can definitely do better than Illy for your espresso :) . . .

                                                                                                                                              1. I wouldn't forget, in the Newport-Costa Mesa area, Keans Coffee. This is Martin Deidrick's own place that he opened after the sale of the other Deidricks to Starbucks. He roasts his own right there, labels it with the date so you can tell how fresh it is, and he knows his coffee. His kona is real kona, not cheap, but quite good. It's on 17th Street. If in the area, try it and take home some of his excellent coffee. This year we're giving it to friends as a year-end gift.

                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                1. re: EclecticEater

                                                                                                                                                  I absolutely agree, Kean's is really good. I had a nice conversation with the fellow roasting the beans the other day. Usually it's Martin Diedrich himself roasting the beans, but it wasn't on this particular occasion - I forgot his name, sad to say - I'm terrible with names that way. Anyway he was really informative about roasting and the house approach to roasting, and was happy to recommend an espresso blend for my new home machine.

                                                                                                                                                2. The Coffee Roaster in Sherman Oaks, on Ventura Blvd. just east of Woodman on the north side of the street. The best, by alot!
                                                                                                                                                  He roasts his own coffee in an old styled roaster right out in front of his store. You can smell the fresh coffee two blocks away. It's really excellent.

                                                                                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mjalz

                                                                                                                                                    It may be excellent if you buy the beans and do your own thing at home, yet just buying a cup of coffee in the facility either to go or to drink there is awful. Don't know what they don't do, but McD and Denny's is better - truly surprising. Pane Dolce has a better cup of regular coffee diagonally across the street, yet does not sell or roast beans.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: carter

                                                                                                                                                      That simply has not been my experience nor that of any of the very finicky coffee lovers whom I know. Maybe you had some strange anomolous experience @ the Coffee Roaster? I think without question, it's the best coffee in the Valley. Fresh roasted, in small batches. Rich, flavorful & a wide range of beans (I've sampled their brewed coffee, lattes & bought their beans). Pane Dolce is ok but nowhere near the quality of the Coffee Roaster. I believe The Coffee Roaster by the way supplies the beans to Hugos and Caffe Latte on Wilshire.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: archer

                                                                                                                                                        I'm sure they provide plenty of beans to all kinds of restaurants to justify their existence, much like Graffeo in Beverly Hills does, as an example.
                                                                                                                                                        But the two times I have tried just a cup of brewed coffee, not latte, or any other fanciness, it was awful to the point I had to throw it out and wait on a Sunday morning for Pane Dolce to open to get a good enough one, not a great one, just one I wanted to drink.

                                                                                                                                                      2. re: carter

                                                                                                                                                        Have to agree with Carter on The Coffee Roaster. I know the ownership is passionate about their beans, but I've been underwhelmed with the cup o' joe they turn out.

                                                                                                                                                    2. I don't think that anyone has mentioned Euro Caffe in Beverly Hills at Little Santa Monica and Camden. Excellent pull and matchless ristrettos. Also, recently tried Luxe Caffe at Montana and 9th in Santa Monica. Very, very good.....

                                                                                                                                                      1. I had some FANTASTIC coffee while traveling through Vietnam a few months ago and I am surprised to find that nobody has mentioned any of the ethnic communities like Little Saigon or Little Ethiopia, whose mother countries either invented or perfected the drink (There's nothing like a refreshing ca phe sua da on a muggy Vietnamese afternoon!)

                                                                                                                                                        Surely there must be some excellent coffee to be had on south Fairfax or Westminster?

                                                                                                                                                        I feel compelled to point out that coffee's image has transcended its third world roots to the point where people in America can actually be snobs about the stuff. There's nothing more equalizing in Vietnam than sitting down with a poor local farm worker over a mutually enjoyed 20 cent cup of excellent coffee.

                                                                                                                                                        Consider that the next time you slap down $5.00 for a snobaccino at Urth Caffe (which admittedly does have excellent food and coffee)

                                                                                                                                                        Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                        1. Kean's Coffee in on 17th in Newport/Costa Mesa area. I just go to buy thier espresso roast, which is the best I've had.

                                                                                                                                                          I've tried Black Cat from Intelligentcia, Coffee Klatch, Redline from Metropolis, and others. The espresso blend is smooth with caramel under/over tones/notes and I love the fact that I can drive to the shop and buy fresh.

                                                                                                                                                          The owner used to own a popular coffee chain in Orange County and his brother is a manufacturer of high quality roasters used from small coffee shops to large coffee manufacturers. Diedrich is thier namesake and was the name of the chain of shops sold to Starbucks.

                                                                                                                                                          1. Just got into LA from San Francisco, looking for good coffee for tomorrow am. I'm planning to start at Urth in BH, as it's close to my hotel. Probably stop midday at Cafe Balcony to see what it's about.

                                                                                                                                                            In San Francisco, I drive across the Bay Bridge to Cole Coffee, which is the roasting side of the importer Royal Coffee (not to be confused with Royal Ground.) I very strongly believe that freshness is as important as the skill of the roaster and the quality of the beans. My personal fav is Ethiopian Harrar, but sometimes I get Celebes Kalossi or Yemen Moka, as they have a fruitier, almost blueberry, tone.

                                                                                                                                                            He delivers:

                                                                                                                                                            Cole Coffee Inc
                                                                                                                                                            3179 College Ave
                                                                                                                                                            Berkeley, CA 94705
                                                                                                                                                            (510) 985-1958

                                                                                                                                                            FYI, I've had Intelligentsia in Chicago, and it was pretty good, but not swoonable. If you want something GOOD, try Caffe Artigiano in Vancouver: http://www.caffeartigiano.com/

                                                                                                                                                            1. I wanted to mention that I had a VERY good cafe au lait at KAffa Cafe on Main Street in the City of Orange this week. It was strong but not overwhelming with the coffee steamed (a little froth for fun on top) and presnted hot in a nice glass. WINNER.

                                                                                                                                                              Incidentally, they have pretty good breakfast items also.

                                                                                                                                                              1. I have always loved Kaffa, great coffee. Latte art. Its a bit far away from me in the SFV though, especially with Cafe Balcony relatively nearby in Santa Monica.

                                                                                                                                                                1. I'm not a big coffee drinker because I am VERY sensitive to bitter (which makes Starbucks out of the question). I used to drink espresso (w/o sugar) in Italy - strong coffee is great - as long as it's not bitter.

                                                                                                                                                                  Anyway, I read about Caffe Luxxe on Montana in Santa Monica (around 9th st) in the LA Times & decided to give their cappuccino (one size only - no "doubles") a try. Delicious! I think they really know what they are doing.

                                                                                                                                                                  Their hot chocolate is good, but nothing like what you can get in Florence (Cafe Rivoire) or Paris (Angelina). I have yet to find a truly amazing cup of hot chocolate in LA...

                                                                                                                                                                  1. My vote goes to Cafe Balcony in West Los Angeles, but note as Critter put in his post the hours are noon to midnight, so no morning-jolt available.

                                                                                                                                                                    And just to one-up lizardla, who expressly went to Rome to drink coffee and then posted about it in flagrante: I've had my own farm's Antigua-grown Arabica, roasted in small batches by some crazy ex-pat who owned a small roasting shop in Antigua Guatemala with an antique German roaster of some sort. He eventually burned the roasting shop down, and the coffee farm was cut down to make vegetable greenhouses, ah progress.

                                                                                                                                                                    I buy Lavazza in Blu for the closest approximation.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. As a long time hobbyist and SCAA follower, I'd recommend Cafe Luxxe in Santa Monica (they have a website that is easy to find). If you're experienced with coffee, all you need to know is that they use Schomer's Vivace beans and they have all their baristas trained by Schomer (including the questionable handstand method). Not every espresso is perfect, but I don't know of any other place that is even in the ballpark.

                                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: cordovero

                                                                                                                                                                        Just had the pleasure of going to Cafe Luxxe this morning, and indeed... beautiful espresso. I got a latte... foam was perfect, with a fancy leaf design, and the espresso had that fresh-brewed not-quite-powdery richness.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. This may sound totally ignorant...is that the same Vivace as in Cafe Vivace in Seattle?

                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: running pig

                                                                                                                                                                          Yes. David Schomer runs Cafe Vivace in Seattle. He is one of the elite in this country at bean-to-mouth. Though some of his particular practices are not emulated --the handstand tamp, for example-- and some consider his decision to have only two espresso blends a bit limited, I like the Vita Blend, which Luxxe calls Testa Rossa. They have their baristas trained at Vivace, and they get their blends from Vivace, and sell them with their own imprint. Luxxe has said something about roasting themselves someday, but my experience has been that that's a big undertaking (lots of codes about where it can be done -- coffee roasting, which I do myself too, produce a LOT of pungent smoke).

                                                                                                                                                                        2. If you’re in the neighborhood of Raymond and California Avenues here in Pasadena, check out Jones Coffee Roasters. They roast their own over there, and when they do, the incredible aroma settles over a five-block radius. You almost don’t even need to order an espresso to get the full effect but you’ll be glad you did, especially now that a few of the other local standbys seem to be off their game lately.

                                                                                                                                                                          Their cappucinos are amazing and beautifully poured!

                                                                                                                                                                          1. If you're in San Dimas, people recommend Coffee Klatch (or Clatch?). Heather Perry there won the SCAA Barista Championship a couple of years ago. Though I live in West L.A., I haven't made it to San Dimas yet.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. Also, I had a terrible experience at the Zeli Coffee Bar at Vroman's Books on Colorado Blvd...not recommended!

                                                                                                                                                                              See my post here:


                                                                                                                                                                              1. Also, got to put in a good word for Sworks in Eagle Rock. A truly independent place, LA born, which is always cool. I always get the latte, and I'm never disappointed. Plus, free wireless internet, which is nice. There's a newer one in Montrose, but I haven't tried that one yet.

                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: french roast

                                                                                                                                                                                  swork always gives me a some of the best nonfat latte's ever. my top nonfat latte places:
                                                                                                                                                                                  swork in eagle rock
                                                                                                                                                                                  kaldi in atwater village
                                                                                                                                                                                  sabor y cultura in hollywood

                                                                                                                                                                                  all bring me to nirvana!

                                                                                                                                                                                2. Not a coffee place and uneven, but I've had some pretty tasty coffee at Cafe Angelique downtown.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Groundworks - used to be Gourmet Coffee House - has a great selection of roasted and unroasted coffee beans - many are organic - from all coffee growing regions of the world. They do their own roasting too. They used to perform the roasting at their shop in Venice, but I think that is no more - too many complaints from the surrounding residents and businesses of all the smoke. You would be able to buy beans that were literally just roasted and warm to the touch. They also have a very respectable selection of teas from all over - mostly organic like chais, english breakfast teas, green teas, herbals, yerba mate, rooibos, etc., too.

                                                                                                                                                                                    I can't comment on their barista skills as I really only go in there buy coffees and teas in bulk, but they do offer self-serve coffees - about a dozen different types - that have been brewed in small batches using Chemex brewers that I found to be quite good.

                                                                                                                                                                                    I am not sure if the founder of the original Gourmet Coffee Warehouse is still involved, as he was the true driving force behind setting the quality standards of the beans as well as the roasting - he was a serious coffee snob himself - I mention this because I didn't know this until recently that Groundworks is now a small chain in LA. One has to remember that there are only so many beans that are of top qualit in the world to go around, and the Japan market is supposed to have a lock on the majority of those top quality beans.

                                                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: bulavinaka

                                                                                                                                                                                      I enjoy Groundworks. And I always like a little history about a place. These days my favorite place for a cup of coffee is Rockenwagner bakery on Washington Blvd. near Beethoven. The cup says julius meinl, since 1862 on it. It's very good.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: its overhead

                                                                                                                                                                                        Yes, had a cup the other day at Han's other place, 3 Square, myself... it's quite good, although his pastries are killing my waistline...

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Where's 3 Square? Yes, the pastries are delicious but I only eat one maybe every 3rd visit otherwise...

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                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: its overhead

                                                                                                                                                                                        3 Square is at 1121 Abbot Kinney Blvd in Venice... not a place to go if you are watching your weight... The cafe next door should be open soon - maybe next week?

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Euro Caffe, for sure! My husband -- the biggest coffee geek I know -- swears by it:

                                                                                                                                                                                        He's also a fan of Donny's over at Sabor y Cultura.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Donny I can definitely agree with..he's a fabulous barista. Euro Caffe is fabulous for exactly what it is, an Italian espresso bar. That being said, however, Danesi espresso beans are not the best available beans in LA, let alone the US as stated in the attached link. They are, however, better than anything available at the corporate behemoth coffee places.

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                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: peanut112

                                                                                                                                                                                            Actually, my husband did not write that the Danesi beans themselves are the best available; he was, however, praising the espresso served by Euro Caffe.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Peanut, which beans do you happen to think are the best?

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. but you don't get a kind you get in East Coast- I am talking about Boston's North End Cappucino

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Hungry Girl: sorry for the confusion. I didn't mean to imply that your husband said that but rather the attached link stated that, which it did. "serves espresso as good as can be found stateside."
                                                                                                                                                                                              That being said, I believe that Intelligensia espresso is superior to Danesi and I believe that REDCAT serves Vivace beans, which are often praised as some of the best in the country. Just this week, Fastcompany magazine named Coffee Klatch in San Dimas as one of the 12 best cups of coffee in 2006. La Mill Coffee in Alhambra received LA Magazine's 2006 Best of LA. I've also heard good things about Supreme Bean in NoHo, but can't personally attest to their espresso.
                                                                                                                                                                                              I think that's it for now...but I haven't had my coffee yet today >wink<

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                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: peanut112

                                                                                                                                                                                                Peanut, he was commenting on what Euro Caffe DOES with the beans, not the beans themselves, although he does like the Danesi.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Despite our differing understanding of reading comprehension, there does seem to be some overlap in taste vis-a-vis beans, as we keep a rotating supply of Vivace, Intelligentsia, La Colombe, Danesi, Illy (when we're low on everything else and awaiting shipments), and Kona in the house for use with our own Elektra.

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Hungry Girl, I'm glad we got that worked out :) Since you're a Kona fan, do you mind sharing what estate you get your Kona from? Kona can be so hit or miss based upon the estate you're purchasing from and I'd love to find another great Kona. Illy, well...I'll let you drink that >wink< but we're definitely on the same page with all of the others.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. So happy to see Jack's in NYC mentioned. Lived a few blocks away and would look forward to going to work so I could stop by and get a cup. Amazing how well he has done. If you are in the Village, do yourself a favor and stop by! I have since moved here and long for it!

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Peanut, in response to your Kona estate query... most of the Kona coffee we've had in the house is stuff we've been given as gifts, so I'm afraid I cannot offer you a proper answer. Some of it is Nicky Beans coffee, which can be purchased online here: http://superbeans.com/index.htm

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Hungry,
                                                                                                                                                                                                      I like anything named Kobayashi (I'm a big Usual Suspects fan!) so I may have to give that a try.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. The Kona is so yummy, we just brew it in our regular, crappy coffee maker rather than grinding it down espresso-style and using it in the Elektra. Enjoy!

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. I'm not a HUGE coffee aficionado, I drink only a few times a week, but I'd say I'm pretty picky, and I have to say the french press I had at Sweet Lady Jane's the other week was pretty damn good. I'm not a fan of their desserts (haven't had anything that I would go back for) but I had a sip of my special lady friend's joe and hot damn, I was surprised.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Groundworks is good quality stuff.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Sweet Lady Jane's definitely is on the right track by serving in a french press although there's a lot of variables even with a french press whereby coffee can be ruined (grind setting, amount of coffee, temperature of water, steeping time, etc.) but I'm not a fan of Groundworks. I think their roasting tends to lend itself to overextraction, so that is even more evident in a french press....BUT...if you like big, bold coffees, then GW is pretty good...so, it's a lot BETTER than many places, not as good as others....

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                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: peanut112

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I usually drink cafe americano, but when I brew a regular cup of joe, I always use the Chemex coffee caraffe and filter paper. I picked this up at Groundworks when they were Gourmet Coffee Warehouse. All of their coffees in the hot pots are brewed this way, and I found that their coffees always tasted great. The caraffe is simple and pretty good to look at for what it is, and the filter paper seems to perform magic on just about any beans that I've used. I personally prefer not to use a french press for the very reason you mention above - overextraction. The Chemex filters seem to pull out just enough of the acids for my preference.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. The Coffee Bean in Pasadena, Fairs Oak.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Has anyone mentioned The Griddle on Sunset? They serve a choice of mild, medium, or strong coffee in your own French press. Can't vouch for anything fancy here, but it's a terrific cup of coffee with breakfast, and the service is great. For designer coffee, I have to jump on the bandwagon and give it up for the Spanish Latte at Urth Caffé. I'd spend my last fiver on it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Another vote for Graffeo. I never tire of it. I've used it at home and in my design office for years. Remarkably consistent.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Bulavinaka,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    you hit the nail on the head: Chemex is the way to go. You can control every single variable along the way and this is THE way to brew at home...couple that with a home-roaster, and it's money well spent....no need to waste money letting someone else brew coffee when you can do a better job yourself!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: peanut112

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I don't know if whether the Chemex process is assumed in the brewing process of really good tasting coffee by everyone else, or if Chemex is just not well known. I was just plain dumb lucky enough to run across it at Groundworks (when it was Gourmet Coffee Warehouse) as that is how they brew all of their hotpot coffees - I think I mentioned this already. The owner at the time - and I think he still is - is the first true coffee snob I ever met, and he swears by this process.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I'm not hooked on coffee enough to do my own roasting, but a couple of workmates are from Ethiopia, and they won't drink coffee any other way - roast it at home.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Chemexing your coffee really spoils you! It's like the first time you switched from a regular drip brewer to french press and thought WOW french press is amazing.....well, the same sort of 'leap' occurs between french press and chemex, in my humble opinion.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I try to drink chemex'ed coffee daily :) yum.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: peanut112

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm quite surprised to see that nobody on this post has mentioned Luxe on Montana Ave. in Santa Monica. This is a small store passionately devoted to the art of espresso, with talented baristas experienced in crema art. Yes, it is sentimental and romantic to wax nostalgic about the espresso in Italy, but having recently spent two weeks there, I will go on record as saying that the espresso drinks at Luxe surpass 90% of what I had in Italy. Just don't expect Italian prices!!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: jono37

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Is it cheaper in Italy or more expensive? Thanks...just curious!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. That's the exact progression I went through... people think I'm some sort of barista when they try the coffee. We'll keep this little Chemex secret between us...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. I recieved a pound of beans from Groundworks for Christmas, which was supposed to be for espresso machines. My first try with these beans was in a drip machine at a vacation house in Palm Springs. It tasted like wet cardboard. OK, wrong machine. So, back home with my stovetop espresso pot (which is delicious with Peet's), I tried again, and it still tasted like wet cardboard.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm lucky enough to live about 3 miles from Polly's in Long Beach. There's also a Peet's on the same street. Although philosophically, I prefer the idea of Polly's, being small and local, I have to say that I prefer the taste of Peet's. We go through 2 pounds of beans a week at my house. I agree, incidentally, about the overpowering bitterness of their regular drip coffee when you get a cup to go. I like what I make at home.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: vickib

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Sorry to hear about your pound of "Cardboard." I hope they at least indicated whether it was virgin or recycled... I've mentioned this before but maybe it bears reapeating... I can only vouch for Groundworks when it was Gourmet Coffee Warehouse. The owner at the time was a force to be reckoned with when it came to coffee snobbery. I don't know if he is still the owner since the namechange, and how much influence he still has... I can bet Starbucks was once a great place for a wonderful cuppa joe as well... But I still swear by the Chemex process, along with Peanut112... it will enhance any bean's properties...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Graffeo's in BH -- dark roast only -- and then I brew it at home. It is now available at Whole Foods, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I also homebrew Peet's

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I have been in and out of Urthe Cafe on Melrose for lunch since it opened and I have never liked the coffee there. In fact, after a few tries, I just stopped ordering it. Haven't tried the other locations.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Graffeo in Beverly Hills. Not for dropping in and ordering coffee to drink----it's their beans---take em' home, brew---and enjoy coffee heaven. Only two variations at Graffeo---medium roast and dark roast---highly recommend getting their "half and half"---equal parts (duh!) of medium and dark roast----please, whole beans. Grind them at home---drip machine, French press---whatever----deeelishus coffee. They roast the beans right on the premises. Unusual roaster too----some sort of "convection" process, where the beans toast up completely evenly, using hot air, versus direct heat.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: JeffW

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Sorry to say that the "G" beans are uneven and low quality. If you know anything about Coffee Beans it's that they need to be the same SIZE to grind and brew evenly.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Graffeo gets a C- at best.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The best in LA is still LA MILL , costs more and is much better. Kona 100 o/o have been a big fave lately.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: russkar

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Wow---new coffee excitement "brewing". Will be checking out your tip. Have made cooking/dining my art---and as an artist, life would be less interesting if I ever "know it all"---excited to expand. Thnx.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: russkar

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    For beans in L.A. I have always enjoyed Graffeo. Not as tasty as Bluebottle but good. I just tried to check the LA Mill website but it isn't working. You mention that Graffeo has irregular sized beans previously in this thread and that LA Mill coffee served in a French Press at Providence at $7 is "unbeatable" and I'd like to try their coffee at home in my own French press or Gaggia machine. Are their beans available on a retail basis? I see that they are in Alhambra, are they available there ar anywhere else?


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      website is working.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      LA MILL is available online, by phone, to be delivered by mail or you may pick-up at their roasting facility in alhambra.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      you must order with 48 hours of lead time as they roast to order.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      for french press, try the royal supreme or black onyx.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      for espresso, try the la mill espress.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      they're opening a retail branding store soon.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      CAFFE LUXXE is also very good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: revets2

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Hey revets2, I somehow missed your response until just now. Thanks for the info on LA MILL, I do appreciate it. Any newer info on their retail store?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I had a straight shot at Caffe Luxxe recently that was really quite nice followed by a Breve Cap. that was good but less satisfying. Dairy flavor overwhealmed the espresso.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          hi sel...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          i like the brevé at CL, especially because they use a special bean for milk-based espresso drinks, but i ask them to use half 1/2&1/2 half milk. that's what happens when you're using really good, rich dairy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          i also like LA MILL'S BLACK VELVET for a hardier espresso and have also been grinding GROUNDWORK'S ORGANIC ESPRESSO.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          the store will not open until september, i hear, but INTELLIGENSIA'S store in sunset junction will open sooner.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: revets2

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'm a big time LA MILL fan!!! last time i heard, their store was opening in September... supossedly around the same time as Intelligentsia's... Not sure who's first tho...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: nalo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I have been using La Mill beans at home for a while now and I cannot drink Starbuck's or Peet's anymore. Everything from those places tastes burned now. I like the single estate coffees from La Mill rather than any of the blends. I use a simple drip coffee machine and blade grinder but I am planning on getting a new Burr grinder soon. The La Mill Cafe will be opening soon but you can order online and they will roast to order and deliver it in a few days.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: floppy fish

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                we agree, although we like to change our espresso beans around every so often. we love PEET'S, but only the arabian mocha sunani for espresso comes close to LA MILL'S espress blend and LA MILL is $5 less per pound. it's a no brainer for us.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: russkar

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Wow! I don't know very much about coffee beans, but I have a question.It seems to me that once the beans are ground in a good burr grinder they all end up the same size. Or at least they do if a good grinder is used. How does the size of the bean matter before they are ground?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: chipman

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        What Russ is referring to, in part, is the method in which the green beans are picked. Lower grade coffees are often machine threshed. When that happens, the machine doesn't discriminate, it will thresh unripe, ripe, and overripe coffee cherries (2 beans per cherry) which will cause uneven bean size, bean density and bean quality. Higher quality coffee companies will hand-pick their beans, which is very labor intensive. The highest estates will double or triple pick their beans, meaning their are picked once in the field and then again once they are laid out on a conveyor or screen, another set of hands (and eyes) is picking the defective or uneven beans out of them.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        That is sort of a wordy way of explaining the whole thing.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        On a separate but related note, actually take a look at the beans you purchase from different regions. You'll notice that Central Americans differ from South, which both differ from Africans, and all of those differ from Sumatran region coffees. These beans are different based on geography, topography, climate, soil, etc. to name a few variables....this is another reason it's really important to roast coffee separately and individually instead of just throwing different beans willy-nilly into a roaster and then expecting to end up with a world class roasted coffee...it just isn't going to happen.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        You are right that a burr vs. a blade grinder is definitely the way to go to ensure that the grind ends up the same size.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: peanut112

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Ok, so I misunderstood when ruskar referred to grinding and brewing, not roasting. However, there is a different take on roasting separately and roasting a blend of beans together. It is an argument almost as hotly discussed as the topic of freezing beans are.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I roast specifically for espresso, and I order a variety of blends from sweet marias. I roast them as a blend of course, and the results I am getting is better all the time. Like I said there is disagreement on roasting separately and roasting the blends together. Now single origin beans for espresso is a whole different topic!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: chipman

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            for sure, single origin for espresso doesn't give you near the depth, body, and in my opinion 'soul' to create a well-rounded enough espresso to be worth anything.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            And you're right about roasting separately vs. roasting together. It's an interesting topic and there's pro's and con's to both, some financial and operational, some quality related. I'm convinced, personally, that in a wholesale or commercial setting, if you take two different roasters, give them the same set of beans and same roasting parameters and the only difference being one roaster is roasting separately and then blending, vs. blending in the roast, the roaster who is roasting separately will yield superior results.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Urth Cafe on Melrose has mastered the art of the Latte in LA. You have to try the Honey Vanilla Latte.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Granted they're not local roasters, but the best beans on "Urth" come from Torrefazione Italia in Seattle!! http://www.titalia.com/site/default.aspx
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Vivace Espresso in Seattle is probably 2nd to Torrefazione Italia.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Illy Cafe isn't bad either, but not as fresh as Torrefazione Italia and Vivace.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: adidasitalian

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      There are a few great coffee place in LA:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      www.thesupremebean.com in the valley, Their Espresso Abruzzo blend is my favorite sweet and chocolaty.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      http://klatchroasting.com/ in Glendora, Heather is the 2007 US Barista champion, her championship blend is just awesome. This is the place to try the double short espresso.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      http://www.thebestcoffee.com in pasadena, their Guatemalan coffee beans is really good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      For the chain coffee store, Peets is probably the better one.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      For mail order, paradiseroasters.com is

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I tried the LAMill.com beans but they're black velvet blend is just ok.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Torrefazione Italia http://www.titalia.com/ was good before starbucks acquired it few years ago. You can get it now at Ralphs, it is no better than starbucks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Illy beans are good for few days after opening the can. I love their espresso cups.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      lavazza beans are chocolaty but a bit unrefined. Robusta bean in most of their blend may have something to do with it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: enlightenment

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        enlightenment, I will agree with you about the Klatch coffees. They are stellar. Supreme Bean, really? I find their coffees to be, eh, so so. Perhaps I need to return and broaden my horizon.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Illy, however, doesn't deserve to even be on this list with the other coffees, IMO.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        And yes, robusta beans, well, some places like to do that to create their espresso blends and for me, the inferiority shows, as compared to arabica blends...again, IMO.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. kang lac bakery in bolsa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      cafe sua da FTW

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: ns1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I don't know what espresso lemon moon is serving, but they're doing something right.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        also, i went to clementines and had a double shot machiatto over ice. it was up there with the best coffee drinks ive ever had..
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        but still nothing will beat campos coffee in sydney, australia. oh wait, this is an LA board, sorry.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: StayHungry

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I called and found:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Lemon Moon is serving up City Bean
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Clementine is with Intelligentsia

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. I picked my house location in reference to Peets' locations

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. I've also been waiting for intelligentsia los angels http://intelli.la to be open in silver lake. Hopefully, their fresh beans will again be available in Whole food as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The online roaster www.49thparallelroasters.com, their epic espresso is the best tasting coffee at 2007 SCAA long beach show.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          At Portos Glendale, their barista are making their coffee with latte art, not the best tasting latte but it surely looks good.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: enlightenment

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            you can buy INTELLIGENSIA beans now across the street from their future store at PAZZO GELATO. had 49TH PARALLEL at CAFÉ ARTIGIANO...terrific.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: enlightenment

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              i believe intelligentsia beans are back at WF. i saw them there about a month or so ago, after a long absence.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. I've enjoyed the coffee, decaf, lattes and iced lattes -- especially the iced lattes! -- at Cafe Verona on LaBrea & 2nd.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: katydid13

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Really...I live literally a stone's throw away, but have never been there b/c I've always heard lousy things about the food...what's your take on the food?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Do you know who does the coffee? Intelligentsia?...City Bean?...etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. cafe tropical in silverlake for cafe con leche. grab a slice of their guava cheesecake too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. i second (or really fourth or fifth) the recommendations for euro caffe. though i'm somewhat unitiated on the espresso minutae, their cappuccinos are divine to me. and they have much, *much* to offer in the form of ambiance. more here:


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. I just made an incredible find!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The Groundworks on Rose just west of Lincoln sells iced coffee, brewed via overnight cold-press method. This is definitely the best iced coffee I have tasted, incredibly strong and flavorful but not bitter. I'll be back. Also, the Bitches Brew is now my alltime favorite for home brewing.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: jono37

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      A couple weeks ago I tried the cold pressed coffee at Balcony Cafe in Santa Monica and it was very smooth and not bitter at all. I had never heard of cold pressed coffee before, but it is a treat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Noclue

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        BTW, this is absurdly easy to do yourself in a french press. Just leave it to steep in the refrigerator overnight and press in the morning.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. The best place for Espresso is Teuscher Chocolates in Beverly Hills at the corner of Camden and Brighton. There is an order window on the side of the store with a few cafe tables and chairs. After seeing lines of people, sometimes 10 people deep, I decided to check it out. Why is it the best espresso? Strong and smooth. The brewed coffee is nothing special. I order a triple in the morning and a double in the afternoon. It calms me down, believe it or not.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: pcwhitejr

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        the TEUSCHER in seattle also has terrific espresso.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. I recently checked several of the places listed in this topic (after being introduced to the whole "third wave" coffee phenomenon in New York). So far, my favorites for cappuccino are Conservatory of Coffee (Culver City), Caffe Luxxe (Santa Monica) and Intelligentsia (Silverlake). Each has that essential combination/contrast of smooth milk and espresso kick. The others I've tried (Teuscher, Urth, Euro Cafe) are all OK, but not up to the same standards.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. The Conservatory in Culver City. Micro roasting amazing coffees to perfection, pulling perfect espresso shots, great drip coffee and beautiful atmosphere. Plus latte art for 12 years!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Wow. This post is way too long, but oh so needed. Anyway, most of the good spots mentioned here are on the espresso map at www.espressomap.com. I'd also second Kean Coffee in Orange County, which isn't on the map and isn't in LA either.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Kings Road Cafe at 8361 Beverly Blvd ( corner of Kings Road ) has an amazing drip coffee.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Urth cafe is terrific. Peets. Aroma Cafe at 4360 Tujunga Ave in Studio City is good, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. All of my favorites have already been listed: La Mill, Urth, Intelligentsia, and Jones. The espresso and cappuccinos at all of these places are on par with one another and on the same level as any other serious coffee shop in the country. With the exception of Urth, I don't think any of these places were around six years ago when I moved to LA. For whatever reason, LA has been slow to jump on the high-quality coffee bandwagon.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. I firmly understand that taste is a personal thing and everyone has preferences when it comes to chow. That said, there's but one correct answer to the best coffee in LA: Intelligentsia.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  If you haven't had Intelligentsia's Black Cat freshly ground about 4 days after roasting (when it's best) through a good espresso machine or a Bialetti moka pot... you haven't had good coffee. I will say, however, that Black Cat through a french press doesn't yield good results in my experience, though. Honestly, after discovering Black Cat through a Bialetti moka pot, I'm not using anything else anyway.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Tierra Mia in South Gate. Artisanal coffee. Drip brewed cup by cup while you watch. Tastes as good as Clover w/o the $16,000 machine. Cafe Cubano con leche...mmmmmmm. I also like Peets for chain, and Polly's in Long Beach, but this beats them all as far as I'm concerned.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Here's a thread:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. completely. Urth Caffe. no doubt about it.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      all those people voting for Peet's ... ?!?! please.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: missgolightly

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Please what? For the most part, Peet's is quality coffee.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. My best cup of coffee has consistently been from LA Mill: Panamanian Esmeralda from one of their four Clover machines.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. I'm amazed poster spent so long discussing Peets when there are tons of fabulous LA coffee joints. These may be a little too "upscale" but LAmill and Intelligentisa in Silverlake are both delicious. They make strong, flavorful coffee without any bitterness.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Lamill also has amazing desserts....and the mythical syhpon method. They are both more expensive than your average cup, but not outlandish. Highly recommend them both if you love coffee like some love wine.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: losfelizhappy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            "the mythical syhpon method"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Couldn't have said it better myself. I find the benefits of this brewing method to be mythical at best.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: a_and_w

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The syphon method produces *the* most nuanced cup of coffee of any brewing method. Without a doubt. If it's not coming out when you've tried it then something is wrong with the beans or the syphon operator.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The problem with the syphon method is that it also produces a fairly weak-bodied cup. That's the trade off and it's one that I'm not willing to make on an everyday basis. I like a bolder cup of coffee.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              So while I refer the Clover, the Eva Solo, and even the Chemex method over a syphon on most occasions, there is no controversy here: nothing highlights the subtle and natural flavors of the beans (not the roast) like a syphon can.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: a_and_w

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I'm in the commercial coffee equipment manufacturing business in the LA area. It's great to see such passion concerning coffee preferences. For those interested, there is a Barista Contest in LA this weekend - see LA Times. We provide equipment for most of the roasters in the US so I won't mention my favorites. However, there a bunch of fine roasters in this area, and some of them have been previously mentioned. Personally, much depends on the mood I'm in. There's no better dark-style roaster than Peet's or Illy. However, I'm not always in the mood for a "Cabernet" type roast. When I'm in the mood for a "Pinot", LA Mill, Intelligentsia, and Urth among others are outstanding. Coffee makes for great discussions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. JAMESON BROWN COFFEE ROASTERS in Pasadena (Allen/Locust, just south of the 210 freeway)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Kind of odd hours - 7am - 2pm, M-Sat. Really wish they were open later.... but finally got myself over there last week and went straight to coffee heaven with their dark roast drip. Perfect in EVERY way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              They have some oversized chairs for seating - it's a brick/warehouse type feel... SUPER nice and friendly owner running the counter. I look forward to visiting them again and trying out other drinks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Jameson Brown Coffee Roasters
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              260 N Allen Ave, Pasadena, CA

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. I've been all over LA and have spotty results or recommendations. However; getting a super automatic machine and buying good beans has made my buying coffee elsehwhere a rare occassion. where are your favorite coffee beans for these delicate machines....i've had problems with the size of the bean for the automatic grinding and brewing machines like our

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: shitzulvr

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I, too, replied quite a while ago. For beans, Intelligentsia is where it's at. For espresso, their Black Cat can't be beat. Just don't use it for regular coffee - it doesn't work.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Their other coffees are superb in Moka pots, french press, or my new obsession, a Chemex pot.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. I never drank coffee until I moved to Europe from LA, where it actually has flavour other than all the syrupy gunk many Angelenos like to put in. Everyone RAVES about Intellegentsia and Urth Cafe, and I agree, they're pretty darn good compared to Starbuck and the other chains. But they still don't have that WoW factor I look for when trying out a brew at a coffee house.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    When go for coffee I frequent this place in Brentwood called Cafe Luxxe, I think some of the responses referred to it. The barista (I forgot his name, an uber friendly writer from Portland?Seattle?) knows his stuff, the ambience; non scenester, quiet, subtle. I don't know so much about self-roasting, I don't have any of the coffee gadgetry at home as I like my coffee to be more than a morning ritual.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I wanna check out this place called Euro Cafe on Santa Monica. Ever heard of it? I'm going there not for the perfect coffee, but for the best croissant which seems to be lacking in LA as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: inbadfaith

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I personally like Caffe Luxxe as well; they have two locations, one in Brentwood, the other on Montana in SM. The one in SM also serves single-cup drip coffee which is a nice touch but I think their espresso drinks are better made.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      For whatever this is worth, all my Seattle friends swear by Luxxe but I don't know if that's only relevant to people who like coffee Seattle-style.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. The guys at The Funnel Mill in Santa Monica (Bway bt 9th and 10th) make an amazing cup of coffee. Not only are they obsessed with their sourcing and preparation (and their cup of coffee science lab), but they also will gladly talk to you about every last thing on their menu. It's a pleasure to drink their coffee.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Ahhh Peanut, I have the place for you. Its Prime Grind Coffee in Downtown Los Angeles, on the corner of 1st and Hope across from Disney Concert Hall. It's an independent coffee house with all local roasts. They serve excellent espresso, organic drip coffee, individual brew and unlike other coffee places only use REAL espresso in there iced latte's! This place is run on quality all the products they use are excellet and you can taste it, go...drink....enjoy!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Taosgrl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Prime Grind might be all you say it is. However, many 'third wave' coffee houses refuse to serve espresso iced in any form.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. One more vote for the Conservatory in Culver City..they've hooked me. I live next to Urth but am not a fan of the coffee...roasted too long, perhaps?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Check out the coffee at BLD (Breakfast Lunch Dinner) 7450 Beverly Blvd, they use a French press, can't remember what brand they're serving, I think it's an Italian one.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I live in the southbay area and it's worth the drive for breakfast all the way up to la-la land AND the food is very impressive as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            BLD Restaurant
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            7450 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Equator Cafe in Venice is my current L.A. favorite as they serve drinks and sell beans from Blue Bottle Coffee Co.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Coffee Klatch
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                806 W. Arrow Hwy Ste. A
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                San Dimas, CA 91773

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Hands down, the best I’ve tried in SoCal. Owner Dave Perry brings an engineering background to the art and science of coffee making. His daughter, Heather is multi-year winner of U.S. and world champion barista honors and is responsible for training all Klatch baristas. World-class beans, faultless execution. I generally brew at home and source most all of my fresh-roasted (often same day) beans from the Klatch. Their recently redesigned packaging includes the roasting date on each bag.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                In addition to their usual signature, varietal and estate offerings, they also feature a number of world exclusives and limited editions. I'm currently enjoying their Panama Esmeralda Mario Pascua (phenomenal) and their Guatemala El Socorro y Anexos COE #4 (outstanding).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: degustateur

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  While I respect the pedigree of Dave Perry and his U.S. Barista Champion daughter Heather and have purchased good beans for home use I have had a recurring problem with the two locations that I've been to. The kids working the espresso machine don't seem as serious about their art as all the hype would indicate. They often just seem to go through the motions without really showing much concern or intensity about the final shot/product. I have never seen the owner or his daughter working the front end of the shop, never pulling shots or supervising those that do.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Coffee Klatch
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  806 W Arrow Hwy, San Dimas, CA 91773

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. I always visit Jameson Brown Coffee Roasters when in LA. On the premises roasting, always great coffee.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. In the South Bay, I would recommend Neighborhood Grinds in Redondo Beach. The majority of their beans are from Intelligentsia but they started roasting their own, which you can also have brewed via french press or siphon. With the siphon, they actually allow the coffee to steep (instead of cooling the siphon down with a wet rag), so you can get as much of the origin notes of the coffee as possible. They also pull a good ristretto from time to time as well. This is my default coffee dealer, since I am about 2 miles away.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    For the "best", I would recommend Spring for Coffee, a new (9 months young) place on Spring St and 6th in Downtown LA. They get their beans from a few different roasters, have pour-over and french press options, along with espresso. I haven't had an espresso blend like theirs since Coffee Slingers in Oklahoma City. I do believe, sourcing of the beans here is great!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    It's awesome that this thread has been going on since 2006! From what I counted, there are about 54 places mentioned that I have not been to. The aftermath of this information might make it on to a lame "espresso advocacy" blog that I created, since scouring for good espresso is a thing to do. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    May you find the coffee you are looking for!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: jrw3

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "They get their beans from a few different roasters,"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      (e.g., Intelligentsia)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: jrw3

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Hello, jrw3!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I quite agree with your enthusiasm for Spring for Coffee downtown. I have never had iced coffee nearly as good as theirs; they use Stumptown beans...cold-brewed. I have now had it there a few times, and each time it was great beyond description!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I do wish their location were better for me; it is not on my route from "here" to "there," no matter where I am going. Still, it is an iced coffee that I will chase for...and an iced coffee that I want every day.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Does anyone know any other shops that have Stumptown COLD-BREWED iced coffee?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: liu

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I've seen that at Sycamore Kitchen. Not sure if Spring for Coffee does their own cold-brewing, but Sycamore Kitchen has it in a bottle. They also have an iced coffee on their menu, but I don't know how it's made or what it's made with. Sorry, not an iced coffee drinker so my details are sparse... maybe someone else can fill it in.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: andytseng

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Thanks for your immediate response, andytseng.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Actually, I am not a coffee drinker -- much prefer tea -- but the iced coffee at Spring for Coffee might convert me. It is among my best tastes, ever! It is so different from any other iced coffee.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I have been meaning to get to Sycamore Kitchen, so your post will get me there sooner. Thanks!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: liu

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              liu, Cafe Dulce in LT serves Stumptown. They have a cold brew - not sure if it's Stumptown but I would presume so.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              They also have a cafe sua da which didn't really do anything for me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Cold brew coffee is finally starting to pick up in popularity.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ns1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Thanks, ns1.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I think I have been there, but I probably did not have their iced coffee. I will keep that in mind.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I really do prefer the cold brewing method; it seems to eliminate that bitter note that I do not care for, although it is preferred by some.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: liu

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  that's exactly why I can't drink cold brew coffee =D

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ns1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yes, I know that some cherish that bitterness in coffee and a certain astringent note in tea. I prefer mine smooth, but I do understand.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Yes, I know it can be difficult for people from out-of-state/country to even want to appreciate Los Angeles -- considering it beyond the stereotype of "Hollywood" -- but the great thing about this city is that it is an intricate and multifaceted labyrinth. Our city isn't as easy as most, and you can't cover it in one day. And because this city is so vast and diverse, you will find most anything -- BUT you have to earn it by discovery. That's what I love about Los Angeles. It becomes yours after hard work. You have to find what you love here, and create the city for yourself. With that said...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        What I Find to Be Excellent Coffee in Los Angeles:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Gelato Bar and Espresso Cafe - Studio City and Los Feliz - great beans, brew, environment
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Jones Coffee Roasters - Pasadena - great beans, brew
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        La Mill Coffee - Silver Lake
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Intelligentsia - Silver Lake
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Urth Caffe -- WeHo and Santa Monica
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Groundwork Coffee - Downtown and Santa Monica
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Cafecito Organico - Silverlake and Hollywood Farmers' Market Sundays

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Portland's Stumptown beans are now being manually drip-brewed at Babycakes Bakery downtown at 6th and Los Angeles.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        San Francisco's Blue Bottle beans are being manually drip-brewed at DripBar coffee cart, of which you can follow at www.dripbar-la.com.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Hope this was helpful! And good luck creating your own LA!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Urth Caffe
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2327 Main St, Santa Monica, CA 90405

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3922 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90029

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Jones Coffee Roasters
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        537 S Raymond Ave, Pasadena, CA 91105

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Groundwork Coffee Company
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        108 W 2nd St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        LA MILL Coffee
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1636 Silver Lake Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Gelato Bar and Espresso Cafe
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        4342 Tujunga Ave, Studio City, CA 91604

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Had a good cup of coffee at Sworks in Eagle Rock last week while visiting the area. Porto's isn't bad either. I am personally not a fan of Starbucks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Hello!?? Intelligentsia. LOL. Maybe LA Mill is in the same league but nowhere else is.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: sushigirlie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              nope, Cafecito in Silverlake and The Fix in Echo Park are consistently better than LA Mill and frequently better than Intelligentsia. I do, however, judge by espresso.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Right now my favorite coffee (and espresso, and cappuccino) is at Cognoscenti Coffee, a pop up stand running out of Blue Dot Acai & Yogurt in Eagle Rock.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Urth Caffe: The quality of the beans is unmatched, as are Urth's business practices.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Urth Caffe
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                267 S Beverly Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90212

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: myasorubka

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Srsly? Urth isn't the worst coffee, but I think all of these places have better coffee than Urth:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  - Intelligentsia
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  - LA MILL
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  - Congnocenti Coffee
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  - Caffe Luxxe
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  - Handsome Coffee Roasters
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  - Drip
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  - Cafecito Organico

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  This doesn't take into account about half a dozen other places in the LA area that I've been meaning to try.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Peripatetic

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    @Peripatetic - If you're bothered about someone posting Urth, look further up; someone posted Coffee Bean :( I love Luxxe, never been to LA Mill. Gotta check that one out. You should also check out Conservatory for Coffee in Culver City. Sometimes it is hit or miss.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: inbadfaith

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      > someone posted Coffee Bean

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      It's at least partially forgivable due to it being early 2007. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The seismic event for coffee in LA was the opening of Intelligentsia in August 2007, followed by LAMILL in 2008.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I do have to check out Conservatory for Coffee -- thanks for reminding me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Peripatetic

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Conservatory learned roasting methods from the iconic David Schomer from Vivace.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Having moved here 12 years ago from Seattle I've learned there is really no place in LA that compares to the coffee environment I was used to.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I've theorized it's the difference in water.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I didn't know that! I do love their beans and think they still have the best drip and pour over in town. Espresso is good, but they they don't a rule pull ristretto's like most of the newer places.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: AAQjr

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            When I first moved to LA years ago I was looking for a bean similar to David's. I've known him since he opened his first kiosk on Capitol Hill some 30 years ago. HIs bean is my idea of perfection. It has a dark-reddish brown incredible crema that is distinct only to Vivace.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Someone told me about The Conservatory and said their coffee was great.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I went in, looked/tasted the espresso, and knew immediately that someone, compared to what I'd seen everywhere else in LA knew David.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I asked and they answered....they'd learned from him and their beans reflect that. Caffe Luxxe's beans come directly from Vivace and they jack the prices accordingly.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I love this place and ristrettos or not I will still buy their beans. Personally, I like an ounce shot and the ristretto craze is interesting to me in many different ways.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Peripatetic

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Coffee is one of those highly subject tastes that we could all spend years debating.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Urth coffee is a great roast in my opinion.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Intelligentsia espresso, the last two times I've been there, was either pulled improperly or the batch of beans they were using weren't roasted well. Either way I threw it out...it tasted horribly bitter.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Caffe Luxxe, while I think it's a good coffee, I certainly don't think it's better than Urth by any means. They use David Schomer's beans, which I've always loved, but somehow they just don't taste the same at Luxxe.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Just my opinion.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I have to admit I haven't been back to Luxxe since 2008, when Nicole Mournian was still pulling the shots there. Maybe the quality isn't as good?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Intelligentsia definitely isn't as consistent as they used to be, particularly at the Pasadena location, but it's only the rare shot that's worse that the best I've had at Urth.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Peripatetic

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Okay, I have dial back my unalloyed enthusiasm for Intelligentsia a little. I had an appallingly bad cappuccino at the Silver Lake location the other day. Really the most undrinkable pull I've had from any location of Intelligentsia yet. I hope these recent lapses in quality aren't early signs of Starbucksification. Please?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. I have to give props to Espresso Cielo in Santa Monica, This may just be my new favorite west LA/SM espresso. Really fantastic.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    They do kyoto style iced coffee :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Anyone check out Chocolatt on Wilshire? Their mochas are good, as well as their cappuccinos. It is a small hole in the wall Belgian chocolate shoppe. Their chocolates were O.K. Their drinks are stronger than other places. I love both the Luxxe locations, but sometimes some baristas are better than others :/ I really like Espresso Profeta in Westwood. I suppose I like it more for the ambiance than for the coffee. I enjoy an iced soy mocha more than anything.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Chow just sent out an email about a good coffee joint on the touristy Sunset area? Anyone check that out? It is called Angela's or something. I plan on hitting that one up at some point this weekend.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: inbadfaith

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Angela's and Tiago Espresso are both in "touristy" areas. I like Tiago's.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: TonyC

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Tiago's deserves some love. Nice Pour over. really good espresso, one of the first places I saw to carry 'Handsome' coffee beans.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: AAQjr

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I def like Luxxe Caffe, usually the San Vicente branch..but I discovered my favorite coffee a few weeks back and though i drove down there street 5 or 6 times a week for years, id missed Funnel Mill for the last 6 years....love the whole chemistry vibe and the folks are very nice coffee/tea fanatics. i usually am a Peet's customer for my daily, convenient coffee(sadly the drip coffee is becoming rather bitter...when i have time im goin to Funnel Mill..smooth!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: lapizzamaven

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              You mean the Dutton's Luxxe?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Where is Funnel Mill, That's a new one for me.. Try Espresso Cielo if you haven't in SM They pull some sweet shots.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: AAQjr

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                well, theres no Dutton's anymore but yes, there on San Vicente. Funnel Mill is on Broadway and 10th st(?) in Santa Monica, well worth a visit!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: lapizzamaven

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Don't remind me :(

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'll check it out Funnel Mill next time i'm in the area

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: inbadfaith

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Just tried Angela's today. It's in the same 2-story stripmall as Joe's Pizza and Burger Lounge on Sunset (Where Jinkys' Cafe had a short run).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Very friendly and eager crew. Excited to be open and proud to be serving Blue Bottle. I'm super pumped to finally see some Blue Bottle in the area. For a walkable shot for me, this is great. Nothing else really in the area that I know of using premium beans. Perfect double ristretto off of what looked to be a used La Marzocco LInea.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Decor was bright. White and blue. Table cloths and some effort and care went into the fresh flowers on each table. Said they've been open less than a month- it feels very mom and pop.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Best part- Grabbed a couple of bags of fresh Blue Bottle beans. 4 days post roast...! Hayes Valley Espresso and Three Africans. Awesome.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LATrapp

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Thanks, LATrapp.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            What a lovely little place with great, great coffee and as you said....a lovely atmosphere with wonderful service.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I wish them well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Oh! In addition to your glowing report I think it's also worth mentioning that they also sell Cake Monkey Bakery goods.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I was there at 8am this morning, because of your report, so I got my pick from their delicious collection.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3. IMHO -- Worst coffee is at Eilat Baker on Pico near Robertson.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Milwood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The Coffee game continues to progress at an extremely fast pace. Anyone care to write a top 5 list yet again? Shops are being discovered and opening up left and right.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: MCJ90

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              You are correct and maybe another thread should be started and defined because the places that do drip/poor over well are not the same as do espresso beverages well necessarily.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              In no particular order I like: Cafe Cielo in SM; Luxxe; Short Order; Conservatory for coffee and tea; Tiago. In my West LA ish universe.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: AAQjr

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Balconi for the syphon.The iced coffee is pretty good at Tomo as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: AAQjr

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Is Tomo doing "Japanese iced"? It would make sense, since they're Japanese?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Cafe Dulce's DTLA pop-up is brewing Stumptown, which is far better than LA Mill (what they were brewing in their Little Tokyo), so that seems to be my platonic ideal of coffee spot right now.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  For spro-based drinks, still Cognescenti. Perfect cortados, varying beans. Last week's Heart was so funk.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: TonyC

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Tomo's Iced is very good and interesting since they go for lighter roasts in general you really get a lot of nuance out of it. They don't have a fancy Kyoto style cold drip out front,but how ever they produce it, it is super good on a hot day.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: MCJ90

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                LA's about to start the 3.5 coffee wave: out of towners coming in to possibly kick some ass:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Seattle's venerable Caffe Vita to open soon: http://la.eater.com/archives/2012/03/...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                But really, if it wasn't for Intelligentsia, we'd still all be drinking Peet's.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: TonyC

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Months-old Two Guns Espresso in Manhattan Beach uses and sells Caffe Vita beans. They, along with Neighborhood Grinds, are easily the top two "third wavers" in the South Bay. Two Guns serves a triple ristretto shot (!). On Wed-Fri afternoons, they have the Rebel Bar setup...a choice of pourover drip, the Aeropress (!) and possibly siphon brew in the near future.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ristretto

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    ristretto, curious -- are you still pulling espressos from Klatch beans? Your last post on the subject was from '06.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: TonyC

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Looking back at that post, times sure have changed in 6 years. I've never tried Klatch beans - I was merely mentioning it as one of the premier sources. However, I did post on more recent coffee threads.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I did try Caffe Vita's Del Sol espresso blend. Nices as a straight shot, but I personally prefer a little more kick...but at $14 for a 12oz bag, I won't be partaking in it often.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: ristretto

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Commissary on Fairfax is among the best I've had, ever. I would rank Luxxe after that, and Urth is decent.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Yes times have changed since this thread started. To see Americans rave about Peets is NO different than to know that Italian or French wines exist and everyone can't stop talking about Baby Duck. It's been frustrating to say the least. I've had to bite my tongue on numerous occasions. If I had to give a best coffee in Los Angeles award it would go to Kings Road.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. My husband and I a coffee snobs and we've tried them all. We have narrowed it down to the following: LAMILL in Silver Lake and Handsome Coffee in the art district downtown. LAMILL has a unique brewing process - coffee is amazing and the food is really good. Handsome has a great brand and unique flavor something you would appreciate. Each store does their own roasting. These two spots are extremely passionate about what it takes to make a great espresso or cup of coffee.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Let me know your thoughts if you try them

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                20 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: abarnwell

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  In what way does LAMILL have "a unique brewing process"?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The Steampunk is hardly UNQUE, which was the point of my question. Other cafés/coffee houses also employ the AD Steampunk machine, though perhaps not in Los Angeles. Verve, in Santa Cruz, has had one for several months -- see http://www.home-barista.com/cafes/alp...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: zin1953

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        We're talking about it. Therefore, whether it's unique or not (by anyone's standard), it's a PR win for LA Mill. That was my point, which was not your point.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: zin1953

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm afraid I'm missing something here. With one Steampunk in a coffee market the size of Los Angeles and one a couple of hours north, at what point did it hold the unique badge? Prerelease? I've been following the development of the Steampunk for some time and still haven't had a chance to make a destination trip to try it out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LATrapp

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Demitasse in Santa Monica is the first in LA to operate the steampunk. I believe LA Mill is second. I think 2, in a city of LA, marks the machine as unique, no?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Clover, OTOH, is like Windows 3.1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: TonyC

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              "Unique" (apparently) no longer means "the only one of its kind," I guess . . . .

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: LATrapp

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              abarnwell wrote: "LAMILL has a unique brewing process."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I was simply attempting to find out what they were doing. LAMILL is indeed very good coffee -- or rather, to be fair, it was very good the one time I was there, and everything I've heard about it suggests that they continue to be very good *and* rather innovative. Therefore, I was wondering what was "unique" about them . . .

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              As I live in Berkeley, but travel to LA several times a year, I as attempting to find out what I was missing. But if what's "unique" about LAMILL's brewing process is a Steampunk and/or a Clover -- well, both are available up here. This doesn't mean that LAMILL isn't worth the time it takes to drive out there from the westside. It is (IMHO), and nothing I've written was meant to diminish their quality or reputation. But, so far, nothing's *unique*, that's all . . . .

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: zin1953

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                No matter how well or uniquely made it is, it's still just a cup of coffee.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    "No matter how well or uniquely made it is, it's still just a cup of coffee."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    You mean like Jamón Ibérico de Bellota is just a ham?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Haha this reminds me of the girl on the LA Authentic Mexican food thread who wrote that El Coyote on Sunset was the best Mexican she'd had. She was eaten alive by the hounds on that thread, poor girl.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      To Mr. Taster, to each his own. For him, coffee is just a coffee, and jamon iberico de bellota IS just a ham (The new Taberna y Arroz now serves in Santa Monica!) Which makes me question why a person who doesn't care about "just a cup of coffee" would be commenting on this thread.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I suppose that's a valid argument.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I guess you're uncertain about the validity? ;-D>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: zin1953

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      'rare' would have been a better choice of words that 'unique' but that really is picking nits.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: AAQjr

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Agreed, but since I no longer live in LA, I have no idea whether (I'm making these examples up) they have installed the first working prototype of a new Japanese siphon/halogen setup, or are the first in the US to receive the prototype pressure-profiling system from Kees van der Westen . . . either one of these would cause me to go out of my way on my next trip south to check it out. But if it's the Steampunk, since places much closer to home already have that machine, I don't need to make a special trip to go to Silverlake the next time I'm in, say, Hermosa Beach

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: zin1953

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                In addition to Mr Tasters response, they also have their clover brew and your traditional espresso.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Another interesting spot is Demitasse in Little Tokyo. They have liquid chocolate to go with your espresso. Pretty cool experience

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I am going to try Urth, per the others recommendation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: abarnwell

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Not trying to be difficult, but having a Clover is hardly unique, either/

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: zin1953

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Agreed on the clover. Unless they released a 2.0 version, I was told only 3 of those machines were made. At the end of the day, good coffee is good coffee especially if you like the store experience.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I am going to try some of these other recommended spots. First stop being Proof Bakery :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: abarnwell

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      There were dozens (and dozens?) of Clovers produced and sold to independent coffee houses/cafés before the company was purchased by Starbucks and their sale restricted to their stores ONLY. Several coffee houses in the SF Bay Area have (or had) Clovers in daily use; so, too, in Seattle.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. Deserving of a new thread but I'll add here are both locations of Cognoscenti Coffee which has a different selection of coffees from some of the best roasters at each location:


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              And let's not forget Proof Bakery which has some of the best croissants anywhere:


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Did you hear? Blue Bottle Coffee opening up a store in LA! Woot!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: inbadfaith

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Where? When?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I enjoyed Blue Bottle coffee on Abbot Kinney in Venice before they closed; it was quite good!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: liu

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I heard the new Blue Bottle place was going to be in that big industrial thing in Culver City. However, in the mean time, a friend told me that you can now get Blue Bottle at Schulzies Bread Pudding on the Venice boardwalk. And, they were actually trained by the BB people. I'm going to give it a try on my next beach trip.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: french roast

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Angelas on sunset serves blue bottle too!