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Mar 28, 2012 06:53 PM

2012 Coffee List - Since any other list is Outdated

I have jumped around CHOW looking for a comprehensive, up-to-date list of where people have found delicious coffee and the fact that some threads were started in 2008 have led me to start this one. I would like to see where people go for their coffee and why they like what they drink. Not just the quality of a drink, but the ambiance, the mission, and the experience as a whole. I have been to a handful of third wave coffee shops but not enough to make a list - I am much more interested in what the public has to say so that I may find new places to visit and have more shops to compare aside from the few I have visited. I know a few shops have recently opened and have made a bit of noise in the blogger world; Handsome Coffee, Single Origin(ShortCake). Not sure what else is sprouting but again, my intent is to see what's out there. I hope you all feel the same way.

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  1. I should note I am in love with the third wave coffee roasters because I grew up drinking lighter, floral coffees in the evening (Mexican Cafe de Olla and cafecitos from the stove top). I'm not much an espresso person and most of the time I make coffee myself at work using an Aeropress and Sumptown Beans and a little bit of Rancho Gordo piloncillo.

    * Cafe Au Lait (via Clover) at LAMill
    * Iced Coffee (unsweetened) from Paper or Plastik
    * Iced Coffee (lightly sweetened) from Dripp
    * Affogato from Demitasse
    * Aunt Nancy's Shakeratto from Single Origin
    * Flat White (With Honey) from Two Guns Espresso
    * Latte from Handsome Roasters
    * Almond Latte from Balconi
    * Straight Up Cup of Coffee - Portola, Klatch, Tomo, Scoops Westside, Cafe Mi Tierra


    1 Reply
    1. re: Dommy

      Two more notes... (AAQjr reminded me)

      * Coffee Conservatory for Coffee Supplies (Aero Press, Containers, etc...)
      * Milo and Olive for the Honey Soy Latte


    2. Tomo: Iced Coffee; Pretzel
      Conservatory for coffee and tea: Drip and beans
      Luxxe: Americano
      Cielo : Macchiato
      Tiago: Pour over
      Single Origin/Short cake: espresso and hazelnut croissant

      1. I generally don't frequent coffee places since I have continued to find that the coffee I brew at home seems best. My coffee of preference is light to medium roast drip coffees using no sugars or creams. I have tried coffee from Intelligentsia, LA Mill, Groundworks, as well as the chains Starbucks, Coffee Bean, Seattle's Best and Peet's. In my travels to SF, I have had Four Barrel and the highly overrated Blue Bottle.

        At home I grind and brew Jamaica Blue Mountain Peaberry from Mavis Bank using a Kitchenaid drip machine. Sometimes I use the Aeropress.

        Not having tried any of the third wave shops, I have found that the best coffee in LA can be found at Funnel Mill in Santa Monica. They exclusively use the syphon method and roast their beans daily.

        I don't know of any other place in LA that offers both the authentic Kopi Luwak and the Panama Esmeralda Geisha. Yes they are extremely rare and expensive. I have ponied up to taste the Geisha and found it the best coffee I've ever had. It even tastes better cold.I will ask for a cup of the Kopi Luwak as a birthday present.

        But I can't imagine a better cup of coffee anywhere else.

        10 Replies
        1. re: Ogawak

          I agree with you, Ogawak...the Panamanian Esmeralda Geisha is unlike any other and will spoil every other cup of coffee in the future!

          1. re: liu

            May I ask, where have you had the Geisha and how was it brewed for you? I understand Handsome has it on hand.

            1. re: Ogawak

              I had it at Groundwork downtown when that shop was still open a couple years ago; it has since closed. It was something that they had behind the counter in a back room with a guard standing just outside (just kidding). I am not sure if it was even a regular offering, and they knew it was something special. I think I paid $5.00 for a cup and that was extravagant at the time. It was amazing...a one time experience!

              1. re: liu

                I do remember that. I actually tried to go there, but they had run out of the Panama. They also had a Clover machine which they sent back when Starbucks bought the Clover company. I may have to try Handsome sometime soon. $5 sounds cheap. Funnel Mill does run expensive, but that syphon method beats all.

                1. re: Ogawak

                  Ogawak, we could sip together!

                  You are right about the Clover machine at Groundwork downtown. I believe it was the first or one of the first in LA. I chased for the machine, and the Esmeralda was the icing on top of the cake! And yes, the Clover and Esmeralda for $5.00!

                  I, too, like Funnel Mill. I go primarily for their tea, but they are serious about what they are doing there.

                  1. re: liu

                    Nice to hear from someone who shares common tastes re coffee. My wife has gotten spoiled by Funnel Mill. It seems all the coffees they carry there are greatly enhanced by the syphon.

                    Maybe we'll see each other at Funnel Mill.

              2. re: Ogawak

                My Lovely Tasting Assistant and I visited the Panamanian highlands where Esmeralda Gesha (yes, it's is Gesha, not Geisha... There is no connection to Japanese hostesses) is grown in the area around Boquete but just couldn't bring ourselves to part with the fifty bucks or so they charge for a pot (or was it a cup? I don't remember)

                I do remember scams where shops sell non-Esmerelda Gesha, charging crazy prices to people

                who don't know any better. Word of caution.

                Mr Taster

                1. re: Mr Taster

                  The coffee variety is actually known better as "Geisha" in these parts. The "Geisha" and "Gesha" are interchangeable. It's just a bastardization of "Gesha." My guess is the name sticks because it has a lightness to it, yet is elegant and somewhat exotic in its flavor profile. You were wise not to unload your US Grant on a cup or pot of that joe. I remember getting a small pot at LA Mill a few years ago for about $8.


            2. re: Ogawak

              Lots of roasters carry the Geisha. It just depends on the time of release and roast to when you see it.

              Having Geisha from six different roasters, for my palate La Mill does the most justice to the bean. It's super clean and elegant, like a nice Burgundy.

              Blue Bottle is good, but I do think it is a tad overrated.

              Ritual Roasters in San Francisco has been sending us the best beans lately. The Santa Lucia Sweet Tooth for espresso may be the best I've had in 12 mos.

              As for Kopi Luwak, we've had it at the farm. It's difficult to get here and know whether it's the genuine article. It's muddy and the Balinese typically overroast it. Nothing special.

              1. re: revets2

                The real Esmerelda Gesha is meant to have an extremely potent citrus flavor which makes it impossible to judge against other coffees in a blind cupping. It is supposedly as obvious as tasting lemonade next to water.

                Mr Taster

            3. I have tried several over many years & always find love for Groundwork Venice on Rose.
              I like a plain old cup of drip coffee & many of their roasts work perfectly for me.

              2 Replies
              1. re: MahiMahiFish

                Cafecito Organico - Espresso Shots/Americano/whole beans (best price on beans in LA - $12 a bag 12 oz for single origin and the money is going more directly to the coffee farmers - my favorite of 3rd wave pretense...just excellent coffee/helpful baristas/reminds me of Vivace in Seattle (a place where you can spend the whole day studying/doing what you do at a coffee shop)

                Caffe Vita from Seattle has set it sights on LA and NYC (to be opened in April 2012 in Silverlake!!!yay!) - Do you see a trend - Seattle was the birth of my love of coffee and they dont have to be like Intelly (nothing wrong with Intelly but I am sick of baristas/coffee shops telling me how to enjoy my cup - yeah I looking at you Intelly/Handsome!)

                Spring for Coffee - espresso shots/americano/whole beans from Stumptown/Ritual/Handsome - People who work there are great and it really is like the vivace kiosk from Capital Hill (Seattle, WA)

                1. re: Food_destroyed_my_life

                  Second Cafecito Organico. Tried a bag from the Hollywood Farmers Market for the first time a couple weeks ago, and it was really delicious. And yes, $12 for 12 oz. is a bargain for fine coffee these days. FYI, everything they have is medium roast (I was told). As someone who lives in the Hollywood area, there's no way I'm schlepping to the west side for coffee. I'd sooner get the Archer Farms Fair Trade Guatemalan at Target.....

              2. Cognoscenti Coffee, which is in Proof Bakery in Atwater Village makes some of the best coffee I've had in Los Angeles. great traditional espresso drinks made to exacting standards. at the level of four barrel in SF. also If you like iced lattes, they nail it.

                Thank you Single Origin for finally bringing snob-level coffee to the West Hollywood area. also the quiche at short cake is pretty damn good.

                The approach at Handsome in DTLA is refreshing -- no cappuccinos or lattes or whatevers, just espresso with 3, 5, or 7 oz of milk. for brewed coffe they use a fetco luxus which surprised me a bit, but i think they throw it out every 15 minutes or so and rebrew. the dudes there will tell you everything you want to know about their process.

                spring for coffee is really pretty great

                i use the aeropress at home and grind with a kitchenaid. I'm going to get a clever. my coffee tastes awesome.

                1 Reply
                1. re: orion77

                  orion77.... WHAT?
                  " no cappuccinos or lattes or whatevers, just espresso with 3, 5, or 7 oz of milk."

                  They serve espresso with steamed milk don't they?

                  add CoffeebarLA on Spring to the list.