L.A. is a city constantly on the move, even if we’re only moving at a glacial pace on the freeway. Our fuel to get through the day? Coffee, and lots of it. Whether it’s paired with a fantastic brunch or enjoyed solo, good java is as necessary to Angelenos as a solid taco stand. But where can you find a great cup? And what makes a good coffee shop? To help you find the perfect brew, we’ve sipped our way through the best spots in town—check out our guide, refuel and get back out there. You’ve got things to do.
Settle in at the best coffee shops in Los Angeles
Go Get Em Tiger comes from the growing coffee empire by Kyle Glanville and Charles Babinski, a duo whose G&B Coffee stall just so happens to be its own staple at Grand Central Market. Now with six locations throughout the city—including the newest, a breezy spot at the Music Center in DTLA—Go Get Em Tiger has fast become a hometown chain with consistency, but enough charm and nuance at each outpost to keep things fresh. Customers can choose from to-go goods and grab-and-go bottles of house-made cold brew, or take a seat to take in the funky, fun spaces with pastries, brunchy bites and retail items. There is, of course, an all-star lineup of coffee drinks made with their own brand of beans. Our pick? Try the almond and macadamia milk cappuccino.
Santa Cruz's Verve expanded to L.A. in a big way—especially in the new Arts District location, a 7,000-square-foot, two-story café and coffee roastery that's now the L.A. flagship. The all-day menu here features a flexible kind of global cuisine, not to mention a handful of truly good coffee-based mocktails exclusive to that space. (Cascara negronis, anyone?) Of course no matter the location—Melrose, West Third and DTLA among them—you'll find the signature Verve menu of espresso classics, nitro cold brews, by-the-cup varieties and a few comforting snacks, plus beans available for purchase, along with other home coffee staples like filters and pour-over systems, not to mention an entire system based on farmer support and sustainability.
This spacious and stylish coffee destination is busy no matter the time of day—no surprise, seeing as it’s one of Highland Park’s best gathering spots, remote-work spaces and of course top shops to grab a cup and a croissant. Tall ceilings, tiled floors and an array of seating options spread between tables, a couple couches and a back patio make for a fashionable setting, while the baked goods, toasts and breakfast burritos always make for a solid meal. The espresso rotates frequently, but the handul of teas and specialty coffee drinks remain more or less the same. We love The Figueroa, made with sweetened condensed milk, espresso, milk and cinnamon, topped with a Maria Cookie.
Menotti’s Coffee Stop—emphasis on the “stop”—feels like a friendly refuge from its locations' tourist-heavy bustles: the neighboring Venice Boardwalk, the heart of Hollywood and a trendy enclave in Culver City. The interiors are all welcoming but spartan, with most of the attention focused on the bean selection. You won’t find much seating; in fact on Sunset, it's just a take-out window. So consider your almond milk latte to-go a dose of tranquility to tote along the Boardwalk.
Endorffeine isn’t your cutesy, sun-dappled, Instagram-driven coffee shop—not that there isn’t a place for those in L.A. and our hearts. This is Far East Plaza’s stripped-down espresso stop that fuels you with meticulously measured pulls from Drop Coffee Roasters and Sey Coffee beans, and offers a number of caffeinated options in a sleek, minimalist setting. Look for owner (and former biochemist) Jack Benchakul behind the counter, painstakingly preparing drinks like the Thai iced offee made with cold brew, Thai spice and palm sugar. But his most ambituous concept? That would be "9," a cocktail-and-dessert experience for only nine people each event (follow along on Instagram to hear about the next one).
Angelenos are familiar with the Aussie invasion, and at the forefront of the Australian-owned all-day cafés and flat-white-slinging coffee shops is Paramount Coffee Project, or PCP. At both locations—the originator, on Fairfax, and a sprawling and light-filled spot within ROW DTLA—the team skips all shortcuts and makes their own almond-macadamia milk (lightly sweetened by dates, naturally); with executive chef Ria Barbosa heading up the food menu, you get great Aussie-meets-L.A.-meets-Filipino plates like lumpia sausage rolls.
There’s nothing but smiles and pleasantries behind the counter at this bright, airy and minimalist shop, where you’ll find pastries and other snacky fare such as avocado toast and matcha chia pudding. The coffee shop has a Japanese influence to its selection, so try their killer matcha latte while perusing Eightfold’s well-curated book selection, or enjoy the simplicity of herbal tea or some single-origin espresso. Short marble-topped tables line one wall, while a communal table is perfect for collaboration or working on your laptop.
After years of pop-ups, Yeekai Lim’s Cognoscenti Coffee found homes in Culver City, South Park and the Fashion District. Every location spots a cool industrial-chic aesthetic, with espresso-based drinks and pour-over coffee from roasters like Phil and Sebastian, Counter Culture, Wrecking Ball and Ritual. Keep an eye out for seasonal drinks, guest appearances from roasters and indie tea companies, and select coffee-memorabilia retail like beans, grinders and scales at all three locations. In the Fashion District location, keep an eye on the counter: That's where you'll find Yarrow Café popping up with plant-based breakfast burritos and other bites that pair perfectly with Cog's coffee.
This sunny West Adams café is, quite frankly, one of our favorite spots to start the day. The space is modern and cool but friendly, the coffee menu is brief but creative, and Highly Likely happens to sport some of the best café fare in the city. Linger long enough and you'll see that it's not a bad place to hang once the sun goes down, either: In the evenings, it flips to a moody vibe and a "late-night" menu, and it's also got beer and wine. It's a neighborhood coffee shop, a great spot for dinner, and a communal space for local shops, makers and guest chefs to collaborate.
The vibe is minimal—stark, even—giving the spotlight to its nuanced espresso pulls. The beverages are gorgeous here (see: black sesame lattes) and refresh seasonally. Triniti employs two espresso machines: one for solo, single-origin pulls, and the other for drinks such as oat-milk lattes or ginger-spiced chai. The team also composts their grounds and other byproduct, or utilizes them on the menu elsewhere (always go for whatever’s in that slushie machine, like the cold brew and rhubarb concoction). Snag a barstool and sit near the front counter to watch the cars and people stream by along Sunset; you’ve already reached your destination and you won’t be budging for awhile.
This charming Historic Filipinotown café offers all-day fare that's worth lingering over—already an easy feat, given the free wi-fi and creative coffee there, too. Small-batch, seasonal pastries like passion fruit pie with graham cracker crust; pecan and caramel coffee cake; and blackberry rhubarb galettes are so good you won't want to share, and go great with pour-over coffee and specials like vanilla-and-orange cappuccinos. Looking for something more substantial? A casual menu of rice bowls, breakfast sandwiches and toasts should do the trick, and if you want to bring the magic home, Doubting Thomas has its own blend of beans, which you can buy onsite.
The indie darling of Silver Lake's coffee shops, Dinosaur is a neighborhood nexus and, for regulars, the coffee equivalent of Cheers. You'll find friendly staff and all the espresso classics, plus specials such as cacao cold brew, and you can also opt for house-made shrubs and tonics or a handful of specialty teas. On the food front, hulking ham and cheese croissants, caramel brownies and other baked goods rotate throughout the case daily, keeping things even more exciting. Don’t forget to wave hello to the t-rex mural in the restroom or snap a shot near the neon; things really will be fine.
Blackwood Coffee Bar sits at the base of Runyon Canyon, a chic, comfortable space offering caffeine hits to both hikers and sedentary folks. Inside, plush benches and chairs make it easy to settle in for hours—there’s free wi-fi, plus a magazine rack with plenty of reading material—while the outdoor patio provides a little more sunshine and some prime people watching. You’ll find standard cups of joe here, but you’d be missing out if you didn’t take a chance on some of the more out-there items: espresso shrub with sparkling water and orange zest, for example, or the Latin Cold Brew, which gets made with cashew horchata and Aztec chocolate bitters.
Tourists and Westsiders may wait in 20-minute lines at Intelligentsia up the street, but Silver Lake locals prefer Cafecito, the quieter shop up on Hoover. Here you’ll find less pretension and more privacy, not to mention an ethos that's all about sustainability and social justice. The shop is small, with only a bit of counter space inside, but a spacious covered—and pet-friendly—patio makes for a good place to get work done, catch up with friends or make eyes at your neighbor. Street parking can be tough to find, but bike racks abound for two-wheeled commuters.
The Conservatory for Coffee, Tea & Cocoa is a haven for coffee lovers—and as the name suggests, it’s a haven for tea and cocoa enthusiasts, too. Ask the friendly staff to help you decide which beans to bring home, or which of their hundreds of teas to order, and you’ll get an education that isn’t intimidating or brusque. The café roasts its beans in-house and also fulfills online and wholesale orders. It’s a popular spot for writers and Sony employees, and you may see interns ordering a gaggle of coffees from a list on their iPhones—but there’s a good chance there won’t be a laptop in sight (it’s a no Wi-Fi zone). It’s a refreshing feeling to walk into a coffee shop and see people talking or reading books or writing with actual pens and paper—and it’s something the Conservatory wants to, well, conserve.
Old Pasadena has its humble share of boutique cafés, but Copa Vida offers the entire gamut of coffee and tea experiences: A $2.50-a-cup honor bar during weekday-morning rush hour, traditional counter service, an upscale slow-bar experience, coffee classes, and performances by local musicians. Oh, and did we mention brunch? The front section of the clean, bright space views the enchanting Castle Green, while the side room offers a more conversational-yet-intimate environment. Behind the counter, find a fleet of sleek contraptions that offer tastes to match their looks, particularly with a lever pull of the refreshing teas on tap.
It may be devastatingly hip in both attitude and décor, but Alfred Coffee & Kitchen wears its signature handlebar mustache well. Swing by one of their many locations—West Hollywood, Studio City, K-town, Brentwood, Pacific Pallisades, Beverly Hills or Silver Lake—to witness a young and tanned barista fashion you a mean Americano. The wi-fi is free, the coffee is straightforward, the tea selection is robust, the pastries are tasty and the experience is irresistibly Instagrammable. Seriously. That “But first, coffee” signage should have its own handle.
Formerly a private home, Aroma Coffee & Tea Company transformed itself into a darling café where you can grab a coffee, slice of cake or full-on meal. The expansive coffee and tea menu caters to everyone, from the espresso lover to the chai-latte enthusiast. Inside the cafe, a library-like atmosphere—complete with fireplace—makes it feel like you’re chilling at home, while outside is more casual with a back patio and some tables on the front sidewalk. Our favorite time to visit? Brunch, when omelets and French toast galore get shuttled out of the kitchen to chic Valley dwellers.