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The Best Coffee Bars in Los Angeles, Winter 2014

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2008_10_hasmapscoffee.jpgSpecialty coffee keeps growing in Los Angeles, with consumers more knowledgeable than ever about quality, sourcing, and brewing variants. Recently, some new shops and out-of-town roasters have planted their operations in the city, upping the game just one more level. LA has even been declared, "the most exciting specialty coffee city in the world." This list is comprehensive, covering solid to great coffee shops across the city, showcasing each spot's commitment to the highest quality beans and ideal brewing methods.

7/12: Added: Brew, Caffe Luxxe, Primo Passo, Lamill, Two Guns, Espresso Profeta, Cafe de Leche, Balconi Coffee
12/12: Added: Cognoscenti Coffee Bar, Broome St. General Store, Bourbon Street Cafe, Fix Coffee, Tierra Mia, Jones Coffee Roasters, G&B at SQIRL, Cafecito Organico Malibu
7/13: Added: G&B Coffee, Go Get Em Tiger, Demitasse, Barista Society, Commissary at Siren Studios, Deus, Caffe Vita Dropped: Jones, Fix, G&B at SQIRL, Bourbon Street Cafe
10/13: Added: Copa Vida, Stumptown Coffee, BrewWell, Menotti's
1/14: Added: Andante Coffee Roasters, Bar Nine Collective, Coffee Bar at The Ace Hotel

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Go Get Em Tiger

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230 N. Larchmont Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90004

The newest entrant to Larchmont's prolific coffee scene, the guys behind G&B have made a shiny new gem of a coffee bar featuring various roasters and a swell bar-like setup (instead of lines), where customers belly up the counter and order directly with baristas. The coffee milkshakes are special.

2. Handsome Coffee Roasters

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582 Mateo St
Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213) 621-4194
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A production of three former Intelligentsia colleagues, Handsome Coffee Roasters is one of the first to feature a full roasting and packaging area behind the front coffee bar. The menu is as simple as it gets, with espresso and various amounts of steam milk, as well as one or two different batch-brewed coffees available each day.

3. Cognoscenti Coffee Bar

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6114
Culver City, CA 90232

A fully realized coffee bar from a former architect, now housed in the office of starchitect Clive Wilkinson, Cognoscenti puts together a rotation of high-quality roasters in a sparse, minimal, but inviting space in Culver City.

4. Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea

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3922 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90029
(323) 663-6173
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Perhaps the harbinger of great coffee in Los Angeles, this landmark coffee bar in Silver Lake is the most iconic place to drink a cappuccino in the city. Celebrities sit around on the patio or back bar while the writers of industry wield laptops. The brews and espresso are extremely consistent, and always compelling.

5. Cognoscenti Coffee (at Proof Bakery)

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3156 Glendale Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90039

There's a reason why this coffee station at Proof Bakery has become a favorite hangout for lovers of espresso and brewed coffee - there's always a rotating list of top roasters available, as well as a constant supply of fresh beans in take-away bags. Roasters include Heart Coffee, Four Barrel, and local roaster Handsome Coffee. And of course everything can be paired with Proof Bakery's amazing baked goods and croissants.

6. G&B Coffee

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324 S Hill St #C19
Los Angeles, CA 90013

After ending their pop-up at SQIRL, G&B has replanted inside the slowly changing Grand Central Market. Both espresso and filtered coffee are top notch, just like it was at SQIRL, using a multi-roaster system.

7. Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea

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1331 Abbot Kinney Blvd.
Venice, CA 90291
(310) 399-1233
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This high-design space features an industrial look that seams perfectly with an outside atrium that's ideal for people-watching along Venice's Abbot Kinney. Espresso and pourover programs are their normal offerings, while the back-bar tends to stretch the bounds of what coffee can be with the form of a special menu that depends on the barista's choice. The tea program is also exemplary, for those inclined toward less caffeine.

8. Single Origin

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6333 W 3rd St Stall 316
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(323) 761-7976
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Located side by side with the late Amy Pressman's Short Cake, Single Origin serves Santa Cruz's Verve Coffee and pairs them with the spectacular pastries and desserts. Single origin pourover brews start front and center while custom espresso machines and grinders pull swell shots. Delightful ceramic cups and wooden trays allow you to take your drink to any seat in the Farmers Market and people watch.

9. Espresso Cielo

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3101 Main Street
Santa Monica, CA 90405
(310) 314-9999
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Featuring Vancouver's highly-regarded 49th Parallel roasters, this Main St. Santa Monica coffee bar puts together pretty latte art with a bright, street-side setting. The quality can be a little bit spotty depending on the barista at the moment, but the iced coffee can be terrific if it's brewed on the spot. A haven just steps from the beach.

10. Spring For Coffee

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548 S Spring St
Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213) 228-0041
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What might be L.A.'s best attempt to resemble Manhattan, this tiny walk-up storefront features roasts from Stumptown, Blue Bottle and Ritual. The quality can waver from tiem to time, but it's great watching baristas work quickly to get your coffee made and you on your caffeinated way. Pourover brews via Chemex and Hario V60 are also available.

11. Bru Coffee Bar

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1866 N Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(323) 664-7500
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A minimalist interior allows the Ritual Coffee program here to shine, with a near reflection of the San Francisco Mission District roaster's original location. There seems to be a good number of laptop users, and parking is ample in the back, making it a good mobile office destination. A pourover program with Hario V60s serve single origin beans while a La Marzocco pulls sweet shots for those more inclined to espresso.

12. Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea

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55 E Colorado Blvd
Pasadena, CA 91105
(626) 578-1270
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Intelligentsia's full service cafe, with simple, crafted meals alongside their incredibly polished coffee service, which includes espresso and pourover bar. There's also a number of beers and wines available with the small-producer, craft-brewery focus that appeals to foodies.

13. Demitasse

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135 S. San Pedro St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 613-9300
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This corner cafe along Little Tokyo uses a number of different roasters to the fullest, but now that they've started roasting on their own with Trystero Coffee, they've upped their game. You can get a cup from the fancy siphon coffee brewer or on La Marzocco espresso machines.

14. The Refinery

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413 Santa Monica Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 986-2776
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This peaceful, airy spot in Santa Monica singles out the best in San Francisco's Ritual Coffee just steps from the touristy 3rd Street Promenade. It's also just a short walk from the Farmer's Market, giving you the proper fuel for some spectacular produce shopping. The refined, simple interior allows for a quiet work place.

15. Cafecito Organico

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29169 Heathercliff Road
Malibu, CA 90265

This new entrant to the sunny hillsides of Malibu works in tandem with a local bookshop. Probably the best place for a cup of high quality joe in this part of town.

16. Coffee Commissary

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801 N Fairfax Ave
West Hollywood, CA 90046
(323) 782-1465
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One of the first to adopt the multi-roaster model in L.A., Commissary occupies a sweet spot along Fairfax Avenue next to famed butcher Lindy & Grundy. The open space allows for plenty of seating while the Coava, Sightglass, and Victrola beans on rotation offer a varied experience every time you visit. Most of the regulars tend to be local TV and movie writers, if that's your crowd.

17. Demitasse

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1149 3rd St
Santa Monica, CA 90403
(213) 613-9300
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Cafe Demitasse has opened a new location on the bustling Third Street Promenade, where it features Kyoto-style slow drip iced coffee, espresso drinks, and coffee brewed via Steampunk, a crazy single-cup brewing system that's a sight to behold.

18. Broome Street General Store

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2912 Rowena Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90039
(323) 570-0405

This mom-and-pop general store is a welcome hangout for this part of Silver Lake, but the Gimme Coffee program is impressive for a store of this type. The outdoor tables are shaded enough to enjoy any time of year.

19. Primo Passo Coffee Co.

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702 Montana Ave.
Santa Monica, Ca 90403
(310) 451-5900
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This newcomer to Santa Monica brews Stumptown Coffee in a simple, elegant space. The decor might be minimalist but the coffee is well-crafted. There have been some complaints about the slightly snobbier service but that's almost expected with coffee that's loads better than anything else on this block.

20. Two Guns Espresso

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350 N Sepulveda Blvd Ste 7
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
(310) 318-2537
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This Manhattan Beach coffee bar brews Seattle's Caffe Vita coffee beans in a simple but relaxing space just a short drive from the ocean. It's probaly the best place for a cup of joe in the South Bay, even though it's not necessarily walking distance from the ocean. The espresso drinks are high-quality and the cold brew is excellent. The flat white is terrific.

21. Paper Or Plastik Cafe

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5772 Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90019
(323) 935-0268
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A sweeping view of Pico Blvd and an airy room that works well for laptop warriors and conversationalists alike, Paper or Plastik touts excellent beans from Intelligentsia. The pourover bar looks impressive but it sometimes takes a small eternity to get your drink.

22. Balconi Coffee Company

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11301 W. Olympic Blvd #124
Los Angeles, CA 90064
(310) 906-0267
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This simple shop in Sawtelle has a bit more of a Japanese approach to coffee, with an emphasis on siphon brewing and design-forward latte art that's at once disarming and enjoyable rather than snobby or didactic. You even get a small cookie with your coffee.

23. Caffe Luxxe

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925 Montana Ave
Santa Monica, CA 90403
(310) 394-2222
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Taking a modern Italian approach to coffee, Caffe Luxxe brews darker roasted coffee that holds well to large amounts of steamed milk, which is why the latte is the most popular beverage here. They are now roasting their coffee beans for their retail locations, which tends to focus on Westside locales Brentwood and Santa Monica.

24. Espresso Profeta

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1129 Glendon Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90024
(310) 208-3375
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This cute shop in Westwood only serves espresso drinks by committed baristas using Seattle's Vivace. The espressos tend to be a little more bitter and stronger than other places, with baristas packing in more than twenty grams per shot. Baristas are on point with great milk stretching. The cappuccino is the drink to get. Grab a cup and relax on the outdoor patio with the mismatched IKEA furniture.

25. Tiago Espresso Bar + Kitchen

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7080 Hollywood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90028
(323) 466-5600
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Tucked away just off Hollywood Blvd, Tiago brews a rotating selection of Intelligentsia, Handsome Roasters, and San Jose's Barefoot Coffee. Probably the best place to get a great coffee in this part of the city.

26. Tierra Mia

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653 S Spring St.
Los Angeles, CA 90014
(213) 895-6000
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This Latin-inspired string of coffee houses maintains a high standard despite incorporating unique flavors such as horchata with their espressos.

27. Coffee Tomo

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11309 Mississippi Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90064
(310) 444-9390
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Probably the most requested shop for this list, Coffee Tomo might have one of the more enviable locations in L.A., in the hotbed of restaurants on Sawtelle and Mississippi. The pretzels are fresh and the coffees are passable, though the service can be shaky at times. It's more of a study hall, with expansive tables and laptop users everywhere. The drip coffee is the way to go.

28. Lamill Coffee Boutique

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1636 Silver Lake Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026
(323) 663-4441
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This high-design space in the heart of Silver Lake might have more flash than cup-to-cup quality but the best bets are the espresso based drinks that are best enjoyed sitting on the patio while people-watching.

29. Barista Society Coffee Boutique

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633 West 5th Street 2nd Level
Los Angeles, CA 90071
(213) 444-3389
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Bunker Hill didn't have a lot of great options for quality coffee until this nook of a cafe opened on the mezzanine of the Library Tower. Caffeinate with well-roasted coffee from Portland and other locales, all made from the hands of expert baristas.

30. Deus Espresso Bar

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1001 Venice Blvd
Venice, CA 90291

The too-cool guys at Deus made sure to give the community a place to hang out when they placed a Handsome Coffee-esque espresso bar at the high-end motorcycle and clothing boutique. A cappuccino sitting out on the patio is a terrific way to spend an afternoon in Venice.

31. Copa Vida

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70 S Raymond Ave.
Pasadena, CA 90024

An instant hit for Pasadena locals looking for something other than Intelligentsia, this multi-roaster cafe has the finest equipment to go along with friendly service. Shots are expertly pulled while tea service gets a major upgrade from the Steampunk brewing system.

32. Coffee Commissary at Siren Studios

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6063 West Sunset Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90028

This slick new outpost in Hollywood is a welcome relief for those looking to get fine coffee in the area. Using roasters such as Coava, Sightglass, and Victrola, Commissary has a little something for everyone, from espresso and drip coffee.

33. Caffe Vita Silverlake

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4451 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(206) 709-4440
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This outpost by Seattle import Caffe Vita is Silver Lake's hottest new coffee bar. The space doesn't look expansive, but it is, and makes for a great place to enjoy a cappuccino while working on a laptop or hanging out with friends.

34. Stumptown Coffee

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806 S Santa Fe Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90021
(213) 337-0936
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This Portland transplant feels right at home in the Arts District, where a massive roasters churns out enough coffee for local wholesale accounts and of course, a simply laid out coffee bar up front. Espresso drinks, cold brew (even by the growler) and drip coffee are on the menu, along with pastries by Sugarbloom.

35. BrewWell

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3525 W 8th St #101
Los Angeles, CA 90005
(213) 384-0884

This nicely appointed cafe in the heart of Koreatown is a nice change of pace from the frantic, large spaces often found on the main drags. Instead, find ample seating, free wifi, reasonable prices, and some of the best specialty coffee in town. Don't miss out on the cakes supplied by Burbank's Quenelle.

36. Menotti's Coffee Stop

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56 Windward Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90291

This spartan shop in Venice brews San Francisco's Four Barrel coffee, one of the most likable roasts available anywhere. Pair that with super friendly service and a modest, neighborhood feel that's right at home near the Boardwalk.

37. Andante Coffee Roasters

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7623 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA

Founded by Steve Hyun, Tommy Kim and Jacob Park in the former Buzz Coffee Shop on Beverly, Andante roasts their own high quality beans and brews them masterfully in a minimalist space. There's free wifi and ample seating for writers and officeless workers to hang out all day, certainly a nice thing to have in this part of the neighborhood.

38. Bar Nine Collective

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3515 Helms Ave
Culver City, CA 90232
(310) 837-7815

About as ambitious as a new roastery and cafe can get in Los Angeles, this warehouse space in Culver City's Helms District strikes one as a bit of an outsider. Focusing on quality and a refreshing sense of open service, Bar Nine is an upstart roaster looking to make a mark on the city's coffee scene. Try a shot of espresso on their fancy Modbar system, and watch the roasting in action.

39. Coffee Bar at The Ace Hotel

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927 S Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90015
(213) 235-9660
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The Ace Hotel always makes sure the coffee service is on par with the best places around town, and this Stumptown-based bar at the swanky new boutique in Downtown's Broadway district is no exception. Pick a pastry made by in-house restaurant LA Chapter and sip a latte for an hour or two while enjoying some of the best people watching in town.

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1. Go Get Em Tiger

230 N. Larchmont Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90004

The newest entrant to Larchmont's prolific coffee scene, the guys behind G&B have made a shiny new gem of a coffee bar featuring various roasters and a swell bar-like setup (instead of lines), where customers belly up the counter and order directly with baristas. The coffee milkshakes are special.

230 N. Larchmont Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90004

2. Handsome Coffee Roasters

582 Mateo St, Los Angeles, CA 90013