The Great Los Angeles Cappuccino Project

If you know me at all, you probably already know that one of my absolute favorite things in life is coffee. I find many excuses to enjoy a cup, usually at least two or three times a day: beginning with a cup of fresh pour-over Stumptown coffee when I wake up, then typically something creamy like an almond milk cappuccino in the afternoon, and sometimes (if I’m feeling like having ‘dessert,’ but not really) a little decaf espresso after dinner. 

Over my ten years here in Los Angeles, the coffee scene has changed drastically. Just a few years ago, visiting a cafe in Portland or San Francisco that really took coffee seriously was an unexpected delight - and finding a place like that in LA was very rare. Now, you can’t seem to turn a corner without running into a hip, minimalist, Instagram-worthy coffee shop tended by bearded men slinging shots of espresso from gleaming vintage-looking machines. Baristas are held in high esteem now, and are gaining just as much fame and notoriety as some of our best chefs and sommeliers. People are finally realizing that Starbucks coffee really isn’t that good, and are seeking (and finding) a better alternative. Oh, and almost every place is serving up almond milk (I mean it is LA, after all). 

Almond Milk Cappuccino at Urth Caffe, Beverly Hills

Almond Milk Cappuccino at Urth Caffe, Beverly Hills

This abundance of deliciousness has led to one unfortunate side effect: coffee-seeking laziness. Because good coffee is so easily accessible in all parts of town, it’s easy to lean on a small handful stand-bys out of sheer convenience. Lucky for you, my FOMO has finally overtaken my laziness, and I have decided to embark on an exciting adventure that I’ve been dreaming of for quite a while now…

I’m going to try all the “BEST” coffee shops in LA.

How are the “best” coffee shops determined, you say? Fear not, my caffeinated friend, I have done my research. In fact, I probably overdid it a little bit. I scoured the interwebs for lists of LA’s finest java joints (and goodness, there are a LOT of lists - everyone’s a critic now, right?), then chose the most reputable sources and created a spreadsheet comparing which shops were on which lists. I have compiled a list of 54 coffee shops that are considered “great,” even if they only appeared on one of the eleven most reputable lists. Note: Names in bold indicate that they appeared on at least five out of eleven “best of” lists that I referenced.

  1. Adante Coffee Roasters
  2. Alfred Coffee & Kitchen
  3. Aroma Coffee & Tea
  4. Bar Nine
  5. Blacktop Coffee
  6. Blackwood Coffee Bar
  7. Blue Bottle
  8. Bru
  9. Cafe De Leche
  10. Cafecito Organico
  11. Caffe Luxxe
  12. Caffe Vita
  13. Civil Coffee
  14. Cofax Coffee
  15. Coffee Collab
  16. Coffee Commissary
  17. Coffee Tomo
  18. Cognoscenti Coffee
  19. Copa Vida
  20. Demitasse
  21. Dinosaur Coffee
  22. Document Coffee Bar
  23. Dogtown Coffee
  24. Eightfold Coffee
  25. Endorffeine
  26. Espresso Cielo
  27. Fix Coffee
  28. Funnel Mill
  29. G&B @ Grand Central
  30. Go Get Em Tiger
  31. Graffiti Sublime Coffee
  32. Groundwork Coffee
  33. H Coffee House
  34. Intelligentsia
  35. LAMILL Coffee Boutique
  36. Lavender & Honey
  37. Menotti's Coffee Stop
  38. Muddy Paw Coffee
  39. Paper or Plastik Cafe
  40. Paradocs Coffee and Tea
  41. Paramount Coffee Project
  42. Philz
  43. Republic of Pie
  44. Rose Park Roasters Coffee Bar
  45. Rubies + Diamonds
  46. Stumptown Coffee Roasters
  47. Taza. A Social Coffee House.
  48. The Assembly
  49. The Conservatory
  50. Tierra Mia
  51. Two Guns Espresso
  52. Urth Caffe
  53. Verve Coffee
  54. Woodcat Coffee Bar

For consistency’s sake, I plan to order a simple, whole milk cappuccino at each coffee shop. If house-made almond milk is available, I’ll also try that - because having a list of the best almond milks in the city really can’t hurt anyone, right? - but I plan to skip it if the almond milk is boxed. Nothing ruins a good shot of espresso like an overly sweetened and artificially flavored non-dairy beverage, so we’ll use classic cow’s milk for this experiment. 

Are you with me? Follow my adventures using the hashtag #veronicascoffeebreak, and I’ll update the blog regularly with my progress and my favorites. And please, leave us a note in the comments with any coffee shops that you think are missing from this list! I’m open to suggestions. 

Get cozy, ‘cause this might take a while… 54 coffee shops, here I come!