Attention Chowhound heavy-weights (to borrow the notion from Eat_Nopal, Das Ubergeek, et al): Where do you get your coffee? Orange County locations a plus, but willing to go to LA if I have to. Mail order okay, but I am very conscious of roast dates, and would prefer to go local.
Lately, I've been subsisting on Yirgacheffe, or other various varieties, brought to me from Intelligentia in Silverlake, which a buddy of mine frequents at the rate of about once a week. Otherwise, I'm likely to go to Kean in Costa Mesa - Martin Diedrich's new(ish) coffee house, and I occasionally see Intelligentia, Monkey & Son, etc. at Wine Exchange in Orange, although the roasting dates usually dissuade me.
Also, I'm waiting on the details, but a friend of mine swears by some little micro-roaster in Huntington Beach, but I'd love to hear your recommendations!
My favorite coffee roaster is Blue Bottle Coffee Co. I sometimes pick it up at their shop in San Francisco, sometimes I order it on line. They roast and ship online orders on Mondays, I get it on Wednesday.
Blue Bottle Coffee Co
1552 Beach St, Emeryville, CA 94608
Blue Bottle Coffee Kiosk
315 Linden St, San Francisco, CA 94102
Blue Bottle Cafe
66 Mint St, San Francisco, CA 94103
I love Blue Bottle whenever we visit SF. A side note: They are opening this year in the Ferry Building.
Intelligentsia is right there in quality. I'm waiting for them to open in Abbot Kinney this year as well.
I order my coffee beans online. I find it difficult to get the beans I want at various local shops. Intelligentsia and Blue Bottle are great places to start.
I second Blue Bottle, their stuff is great and they roast just before they ship !
I agree with you about Wine Exchange - they have great coffees but the roast dates are usually long past. I still love the Graffeo and get it from them - I think they may be getting the Graffeo on a more regular basis, I don't know. If you like the dark side, do try a pound of the Graffeo dark.
Intelligentsia in Silver Lake has great beans as well, and when I stopped in a few weeks ago, the coffee they were selling had been roasted within a day or two. You might call or go on-line.
Coffee snobs will answer "neither" - but it's what you like. Starbucks and Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf are now so big, the freshness and level of quality probably isn't up to what a top-level, small roaster can do. To be honest, I also get a few packs of Gevalia every month and I enjoy it, for the morning cup of drip coffee. But I also like to support the smaller, artisanal guys.
Some background: I could probably be accused of being a coffee snob in that I only tend to like coffee that I choose and brew myself. My coffee of choice is dark roasted, so I'm not a fan of Intelligentsia at all.
That being said - when it comes to beans, Starbucks' dark roasts (such as Verona) are way better than anything from Coffee Bean. But far better than either is Peet's or Groundwork.
re: Vaya Con Carne
Graffeo in Beverly Hills would also work, as their dark roast is very good, and they will ship it. The original shop is in San Francisco, and they have been in business for a long time, and do understand the fine nuances of coffee. They only make a light roast, dark roast, or decaf - period!
When I lived in West L.A. I used to frequent Cafe Balcony where they have siphon coffee and green tea lattes. It's very small, but the people are friendly.
12431 Rochester Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90025
I wasn't sure if you're a fan of that. I'm a coffee lover myself, but perhaps not to your extent. I also remember having french press coffee that was tasty at John o' groats--a breakfast join on Pico. http://www.ogroatsrestaurant.com/
Literati Cafe on Wilshire was also another favorite spot for a good cup of coffee: http://www.literaticafe.com/about.php...
I used to frequent this spot as well with their fresh and light soups and salads, since it was close to my work. However parking can be a pain since the lot is only valet. Hope this helps. I'll have to check out the places in the OC since I work out there now!
re: Das Ubergeek
I do like Kean, a lot, but I do feel that they're (1) generally more suited to drip/press than espresso, due to Martin's feeling about roast, and occasionally (consequently) (2) I am in the mood for something a degree darker, roast-wise, than he tends to offer (not big on the Carl's Blend so far) - Peet's has, historically, filled the gap for me here, but - and this is completely anecdotal, and may be just me, but... - Peet's seems to have declined in quality a bit over the past 5 years or so - anybody else think so? I remember really liking the stuff in the early ots, or so, but have usually have been a bit disappointed lately - maybe I'm buying the wrong stuff?
I must say, though, Peet's has the best tea selection of any of the coffee places (though, admittedly, perhaps a rung below some of LA's best specialty tea shops - I think immediately about the Parisian one with all the neon pink everywhere, Beverly Hills, I think...?)
Also - I used to occasionally get Caffe Umbria from Surfas in Culver City, which can be good, but roasting dates, again, can (although to a lesser extent than elsewhere) be an issue, and they're limited in choice as to which origins/blends they offer.
Anyone have an opinon on Poverello Coffee in Huntington Beach? Worth a look?
Polly's Coffee in Belmont Shore (Long Beach, just a few miles from the Orange Curtain) roasts coffee onsite. The neighborhood smells great every time they fire up the roaster which they have been doing for over 30 years.
4606 East Second Street
Long Beach, CA 90803
Groundworks in Venice/Santa Monica. Fresh coffee, a good variety, and the baristas are very knowledgeable and can help you select beans with your desired level of body/acidity, etc, so you will be able to get just what you are looking for. The one in Venice is better, 7th and Rose.
I concur with Blue Bottle. But don't put down Peet's. It's fresh and good and...well...it's always a matter of taste. I also like Raven's Brew Coffee, if you are considering mail order: http://www.ravensbrew.com/
And for the non-coffee snob, I also like Starbucks, a lot. It is convenient, and usually very good.
PS: I just bought my first French Press. All my coffees taste great in the French Press. mmmm....coffee....
I like the coffee at Graffeo, and I usually go to their Beverly Hills store (although they'll mail order too if you prefer). They don't sell tea, or even make brewed coffee. All they do is roast and sell coffee beans. It's very high quality coffee, and they roast constantly, so it's very fresh. My only complaint is that they do an Italian espresso roast, but not a french roast, so if you really need that smokey, slightly burned flavor, it's probably not the place to go. Their website is here: http://www.graffeo.com/ .
Graffeo Coffee Roasting Co
315 N Beverly Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Since I roast green beans and virtually never buy roasted beans anymore, I'm slightly out of date, but the two roasters I've always been happy with (and I apologize for their not being in the OC) are:
Jones Coffee Roasters in Pasadena: http://www.thebestcoffee.com/
The Conservatory for Coffee in Culver City: http://www.conservatorycoffeeandtea.com/
These two spots roast every day, guaranteeing utmost freshness. Beyond that, they are devoted to coffee in that way that only the rabidly obsessed and supremely caffeinated can be. The Jones folks, by the way, have their own coffee farm in Guatemala. That's devotion.
Try George Howell's Terroir. http://www.terroircoffee.com/ Exceptional coffees. According to their website, "[a]ll coffees are packaged in nitrogen flushed 12 oz bags within hours of roasting. We roast to order as much as humanly possible, and never ship coffee that's been roasted more than five days prior to your order date."
Locally, I like Intelligentsia the best. In general, you may want to check out www.coffeereview.com.