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Any places with unexpectedly good coffee?

I have to say that coffee is the one thing that can brighten up my morning. I recently tried the coffee at Eat Well in Glendale. Very good. It went great with the free coffee cake they seve you for free. I was not really expecting much from their coffee, so I was very happy. Another place with good coffee is The Pantry in downtown. Do you have any favorites?

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  1. El Cochinito on Sunset in Silverlake. Best espresso and cafe con leche in the city.

    El Cochinito
    3508 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026

    1 Reply
    1. re: estone888

      El Cochinito has the best espresso in the city?
      I don't think it has the best espresso in a five block radius.

      El Cochinito
      3508 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026

    2. Peach Cafe in Monrovia brews a very good, solid cup of coffee. Nothing fancy, but just good strong coffee.

      Also, El Jacal, in Baldwin Park on Ramona Blvd., makes an interesting cup spiced with cinnamon. No, they didn't invent this technique, but it almost tastes like they perfected it. Also, very good huevos rancheros and homemade tortillas.

      And believe it or not, I think that Einstein's Bagels brews a very good cup of joe when you can't find anything around that you trust.

      El Jacal
      13414 Ramona Blvd Ste A, Baldwin Park, CA 91706

      3 Replies
      1. re: ipsedixit

        I second the Peach. They get their coffee as a specialty blend from a local roaster. Unfortunately, I can't remember which roaster, though the owner, Nita, will tell you if you ask. She also sells bags of whole beans at the counter.

        1. re: Jordan

          I believe it's from Monrovia Coffee Co.

          Coffee Co
          8751 La Tijera Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

        2. re: ipsedixit

          Peach Cafe was going to be my suggestion as well! I also quite like their passion iced tea.

        3. I have to agree - the eatwell coffee is surprisingly good! (And I adore the coffeecake as well.)

          A good cheap thrill is coffee at Philippes downtown. What is it now - a dime? And you can get refills! So cheap and nice I'll order it with my sandwich, just to have it afterwards.

          Ikea in Burbank used to have great cheap coffee but the last time I went there (and admittedly, it was a huge promotion day so it could have been swamped) it was way too weak.

          Homegirl cafe has lovely coffee with cinnamon.

          1. Urth Caffe.

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

            1. The coffee at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion during intermission for the L.A. Opera. Great stuff.

              2 Replies
              1. re: J.L.

                I always thought that was just Starbucks? Not saying it's not good, just saying that it's Starbucks.

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  Nope. Dorothy Chandler brews their own. I think it has crack in it. No corporate (Starbucks) logos on the dispensers either.

                  Perfect for after-dinner, or if you just wanna stay awake during Wagner's Ring Cycle.

                1. Gelato Bar in Studio City and Los Feliz.

                  1. Most coffee in Los Angeles reeks with the sorrow of dried, wasted tears.

                    Forage has Blue Bottle and prepares it decently which made it, until Cafecito came, the best drip coffee in Los Angeles. But I guess it wasn't unexpected because the only reason I went there was because I heard it had Blue Bottle.

                    Bite Bar and Bakery has shockingly good drip coffee. Like, "woah, really, what?" One of the only cups in town that can stand vaguely unashamed with the San Francisco/Berkeley powerhouses...

                    11 Replies
                    1. re: Thi N.

                      I miss Blue Bottle - I tried it in SF - good brew.

                      1. re: Thi N.

                        I must admit Blue Bottle at Forage is impressive even though I am underwhelmed at their [Forage's] other offerings.

                        Cafecito. Very good. Suffering from a poor location IMO. They deserve better. I loved their brewed cup with pure cane juice.

                        1. re: Thi N.

                          Was told on a recent trip to the SF Ferry Building Blue Bottle shop that their only "authorized" LA brewer of Blue Bottle is the roving farmers market brewer called "Drip Bar".

                          Go to it, Thi.

                          Here you go...

                          Mr Taster

                          1. re: Mr Taster

                            I'm betting "authorized" means "trained" or something. The Forage folks have the beans, but they're not as careful about their methodology.

                            I'll surely check out Drip Bar. Have you hit Cafecito yet for drip? Beautiful.

                            1. re: Thi N.

                              Cafecito is good for all coffee, although expected.

                              1. re: cls

                                Really - it's even *called* "Cafecito", people! : )
                                I'm wondering if people have opinions on the various gas station coffees, like is AM/PM superior to Circle K, that sort of thing. I was excited when 7-11 announced it was getting into gourmet coffee several years ago, but it and so many of these places water-down the brew to such an extent (or just have it sitting for hours) that it may as well be Farmers Bros. (Hey, maybe even FB would be drinkable if you brewed it yourself??)

                                I don't really get coffee at gas stations enough to comment, but I do enough to be interested in others' comments.

                              2. re: Thi N.

                                I have not been to Cafecito yet... I'm kind of a fanatical non-drinker. I can't explain it. I grind my own beans with a Zassenhaus hand crank model (coarse grind, of course), French press nearly every morning (for my wife), and have been to coffee plantations in Vietnam and Central America but for the life of me I can't understand why I'm so interested in the process when I actually drink very little of the stuff.

                                When it comes down to it, I'm not convinced that I can properly taste the most subtle nuances differences between sour or bitter, so I'm hesitant to pay the big bucks for a primo cup. Everything else is kind of a muddle in the middle. All those evocative notes you wax poetic about, I'm not sure we're tasting the same flavors.

                                But I do love to learn and play around, and I can certainly tell the differences between the sour to bitter flavor transformation that occurs between light, medium, dark and french roasts. Maybe I need to do a proper cupping to really learn to appreciate the subtle differences.

                                Mr Taster

                                1. re: Thi N.

                                  just had cafecito on friday and it's pretty stellar. some of the best that i've had period.

                                  the other thing i liked about it was the price. $2.50 for a very well made cup of coffee when intellegentsia charges upwards of $5 seems like a bargain.

                              3. re: Thi N.

                                Spring for Coffee in DTLA will be serving blue bottle soon

                                1. re: Thi N.

                                  Sadly, Bite Bar is out of business, as of now. Concept reformulation might be in the works, but at the moment.....
                                  Maybe the coffee will remain the same in version 2.0!

                                  1. re: Thi N.

                                    Bite Bar & Bakery sourced their beans from Groundwork Coffee but I did not try it during my many enjoyable visits before their recent closure.


                                    Bite Bar & Bakery
                                    3221 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90405

                                  2. Tierra Mia has great coffee at their South Gate, Huntington Park, and Santa Fe Springs coffeehouses.


                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: JeffSD

                                      I think the OP is looking for restaurants that also serve excellent coffee (rather than coffee houses that have great brew).

                                    2. My favorites are Bottega Louie, King's Road Cafe, and La Provence.

                                      Somebody here was recommending the new place in Mid-City on Pico - Paper or Plastik, I believe is the name. But I haven't tried it yet myself.

                                      La Provence Patisserie
                                      8950 W Olympic Blvd Ste 110, Beverly Hills, CA 90211

                                      Kings Road Cafe
                                      8361 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90048

                                      Bottega Louie
                                      700 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90017

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: aching

                                        Ha! Second King's Road, at least in the "unexpected" category of the OP. Wonder who supplies it? Seriously strong (not burnt in the Starbuck's/Peet's way).

                                        Kings Road Cafe
                                        8361 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90048

                                        1. re: cant talk...eating

                                          +2 for King's Road. i'm looking forward to having an outpost here on the Westside when they open at SM Place in the Spring.

                                          judging from their website, it appears that they source and roast their own beans:

                                          Kings Road Cafe
                                          8361 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90048

                                      2. I was actually surprised by how good the brewed Kona coffee was at the King's Hawaiian in Torrance. I went there with a friend for a quick breakfast, and their refillable coffee was amazingly fresh and tasty. I was shocked, as I had sort of expected IHOP-quality.

                                        1. Bouchon LV has great coffee, what about Bouchon LA?

                                            1. re: samtron608

                                              terrible terrible iced coffee.

                                              and by coffee i mean syrup/milk flavored with coffee.

                                              1. re: ns1

                                                was referring to regular black coffee only..

                                                1. re: ns1

                                                  Their iced coffee is not that bad for $1.89, though it's gotten smaller. You can always ask for less syrup/cream.

                                                  1. re: silleehillee

                                                    I pay another dollar and go to *$ for 5 shots of espresso w/ milk and simple syrup.

                                                2. re: samtron608

                                                  When I get their breakfast "meal", which includes coffee, I leave the coffee they give me behind on the counter. For me, undrinkable.

                                                  1. re: SilverlakeGirl

                                                    Agreed, McDonalds coffee is overhyped due to a multi billion dollar corporation's marketing effort. "100% arabica" whoopeee

                                                3. Forage (using Blue Bottle) would be my pick.

                                                  1. The Rockenwagner Bakery on Arizona and 3rd has coffee that could revive the dead... and tasty too!

                                                    Rockenwagner Bakery Cafe
                                                    311 Arizona Ave, Santa Monica, CA

                                                    1. Oh, you know where else has unexpectedly good coffee? Houston's! It's very strong and potent - probably the most caffeinated coffee I've ever had, but it tastes good too.

                                                      1. Huckleberry Bakery Cafe in Santa Monica - they serve Intelligensia Coffe - outstanding!

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: prainer

                                                          Did you not expect it to be good at a place like Huckleberry? Just wondering, since the intent of this thread, I thought, was about unexpectedly good coffee.

                                                        2. More in the category of "unexpected", I was surprised to see that Sweet and Savory on Huntington Dr. in San Marino serves Intelligencia coffee.

                                                          Antigua Bread (El Sereno, Highland Park) serves a decent cup in areas with really awful (or non-existent) coffee.

                                                          Most of the SGV away from Pasadena/SoPas and a few quaint old towns here and there is pretty free of good hot coffee (not counting Vietnamese iced coffee) - even the chains (well, besides Starbucks) get sparse as you go east and south.

                                                          Antigua Bread
                                                          5703 N Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90042

                                                          1. Unexpected places...

                                                            Mama's Hot Tamales... various mexican/cuban preps. Also amazing Champurado (Although that is expected as tamales and champurado go hand in hand)

                                                            The Hub Office Coffee Shop in Playa Vista. One of the few places on the westside to get LA Mill Coffee... they also were trainded properly how to brew it....

                                                            Scoops Westside. Ice and excellent selection of Inteligencia freshly ground pour over coffee...


                                                            Mama's Hot Tamales Cafe
                                                            2122 W 7th St, Los Angeles, CA 90057

                                                            Scoops Westside
                                                            10640 Woodbine St, Los Angeles, CA 90034

                                                            1. Tiago, a small coffeeshop at the bottom of building at LaBrea and Hollwood. They do a nice pour over drip with coffee and use Barefoot roasters out of San Jose for single origins and Blackcat from Intelly for espresso.