Lovingly documenting our favorite weekend ritual over coffee, cocktails, and compelling conversation.
Brunchographers: Lovingly documenting our favorite weekend ritual over coffee, cocktails, and compelling conversation.
Espresso Cielo in Santa Monica has seriously delicious espresso in a beautiful, relaxing environment. It was the first spot I visited for The Great Los Angeles Cappuccino Project, and it's still one of my favorites. Read more in the blog post about it here. In February, they opened a second location, also in Santa Monica - and it looks beautiful!
Home of the famous $80 cup of coffee, Funnel Mill is a must-visit for true coffee nerds. Out of all the shops we've visited, this one is probably the most unique - and their cappuccino gave me some delightful 90's flashbacks (more on that nostalgia in the blog post).
Coffee Tomo is located just off of bustling Sawtelle Blvd, sandwiched between ramen joints and sushi restaurants. Beans are roasted in-house, in a gorgeous shiny red roaster located in the front of the café. Apart from their delicious coffee, Coffee Tomo is also known for their delicious, made-to-order pretzels in unusual flavors. The vibe is very mellow, full mostly of people working or studying, and the staff is super friendly.
Coffee Commissary is quickly becoming a mini-empire in L.A., and I'm not complaining. At their four locations throughout the city, they offer up a rotating selection of beans from some of the best roasters around (including one of my all-time favorites, Temple Coffee). Be warned - this place is no secret, and it's bound to be packed. Read all about it in the blog post.
The Assembly remains one of my absolute favorites. Gorgeous location, super-friendly staff, and perfectly prepared coffee using Counter Culture beans. There are some more photos of it in the blog post, in case you need more incentive to visit.
Paradocs Coffee & Tea
This is the tiniest little coffee shop, nestled in the middle of busy Little Ethiopia, and it is manned by a guy named Taka who loves what he does. While this cappuccino was on the milky side for my taste, the entire experience at Paradocs is delightful, and I'd still recommend it. Snag a table and an antique chair (if you're lucky, they're in short supply), a matcha-flavored pastry, and hang out for a while.
If Coffee Commissary is becoming an empire, Blue Bottle already is one. With locations in the Bay Area, New York, Los Angeles, and Tokyo, Blue Bottle is probably one of the best-known third wave coffee companies out there. It's not my favorite cup of coffee in the city, but it's still a solid choice, and their space in Culver City is light-filled and gorgeous. You'll like it.
Republic of Pie
A delightful spot that specializes in one of the most perfect foods in the universe (PIE, duh) in addition to coffee. The North Hollywood location is enormous and typically packed with people working on their laptops, and on more than one occasion I've witnessed people having their first date here. Weird. What's not weird? Their version of happy hour - from 3-5 pm on weekdays, coffee drinks are 50%. A serious bargain!
Aroma Coffee & Tea Company
A mainstay in Studio City, Aroma offers diners a beautiful garden patio and cozy home-like indoor seating areas. They're best known for their delicious brunch and pastries, but the coffee here is pretty good, too. This is not your hip, third-wave coffee shop, though - expect an old-school cappuccino piled high with foam and served in a ginormous mug.
Bar Nine is home to the friendliest, nerdiest, most talented coffee-lovers I have met yet. And some really great coffee. Located down an unlikely street in a huge industrial space, this is a place where coffee enthusiasts come to make friends. The space is multi-purpose; here they roast their own beans, brew perfect coffee using futuristic technology, prepare delicious food from Amara Kitchen, and offer a comfortable place for customers to hang out. Oh, and they spin some pretty good records, too.
Two Guns Espresso
Helmed by two expats from New Zealand, Two Guns brings that wonderful Kiwi coffee culture to Los Angeles. With locations in the South Bay and Downtown L.A., and a really tempting food menu, Two Guns Espresso is definitely worth a visit.
Located in Grand Central Market, G&B Coffee is the wildly popular brainchild of Kyle Glanville and Charles Babinski. At both this location, and at its sister shop Go Get 'Em Tiger, baristas follow an assembly-line-like workflow to ensure precision in creating the perfect cup every time. This is a must-visit if you're doing a Grand Central tour - the bustling 360-degree coffee bar is absolutely gorgeous. Pro tip: try the house-made almond macadamia nut milk, it's luscious (especially in the turmeric latte).
Quite possibly the O.G. of third-wave coffee culture in L.A., Caffe Luxxe has been around for years, and it's here to stay. If you're looking for a true neighborhood hangout, this is your spot - it's like the Cheers of coffee shops; everybody knows your name. The baristas are your new best friends, there's plenty of space to relax or work, and the coffee is delicious. You'll be glad you came.
Go Get 'Em Tiger
Sister to G&B Coffee, Go Get 'Em Tiger is the ultimate Instagrammer's coffee shop. Both their Larchmont and Los Feliz locations are constantly packed with young creative types, who are likely drawn to the relaxed, hip ambiance and modern California food menu (mmm, yeasted waffles and things-on-toast). The coffee is great, and the food is even better - so if you can stand to hang out in such a scene-y spot for an afternoon, you won't regret it.
Paramount Coffee Project
Paramount Coffee Project brings us a taste Australia's incredible brunch culture, offering food that's (almost) too pretty to eat and serving it up alongside some expertly crafted coffee. The location is modern and beautiful, with a charming little patio for enjoying that perfect California weather, and it's usually not too crowded. This the one of those rare places you can bring that friend of yours who's really hard to impress (you know who I mean) - there's a lot of good going on.
Paper or Plastik
Paper or Plastik is a family operation that's clearly run with a lot of love. We're big fans of their brunch menu and pastry selection, and the coffee is really solid, too. Try to sit a no-laptop table when you visit, and have an actual conversation with your fellow humans - such a novel idea!
Apparently Urth Caffe was featured in a few episodes of Entourage back in the day, and has since become a Los Angeles landmark. The chain of cafés is best known for their popular breakfast and lunch offerings and their fancy boba teas, but it all started as an organic coffee operation - long before anyone else was doing it. Pro Tip: If you want some super-fancy latte art, make sure you order an Italian Cappuccino.
The Conservatory for Coffee, Tea, and Cocoa
An old favorite of mine, The Conservatory is home to house-roasted coffee beans, a wall covered in different teas, and a giant papier-mâché tree. This is not your typical hip L.A. coffee shop - it's family-run, sincere and un-stuffy, a little quirky, and completely delightful.
With its serene, garden-like patio and ever-present vegan burrito pop-up, we love this Silver Lake spot - but no matter which you choose, all of Cafecito Organico's locations are great. Plus, their sustainable, fair trade organic coffee is delicious!
The first L.A. branch of a hugely popular Seattle-based coffee chain, Silver Lake's Caffe Vita is on-brand and damn good. The space is huge and inviting, with an additional loft space that's perfect for your mobile office, and the baristas are friendly and accommodating. The cappuccino was superb - it illustrated beautifully why Caffe Vita became so popular in the first place.
Born originally as a pop-up coffee shop, Cognoscenti now has three locations throughout the city. They offer a rotating selections of beans from the country's best roasters, and often manage to find great beans from places you've never heard of before. The coffee is often bold in flavor, but always good. The small-ish Culver City location is usually very quiet; a great place to work or read while you enjoy your cup.
Andante Coffee Roasters
Set in a spacious, bright white, minimal café on Beverly Blvd., Andante is the epitome of mellow. When I visited, it was full of people working quietly, and the calming music almost lulled me to sleep - luckily, I had a cappuccino to get me through. The coffee beans are roasted in-house - in fact, the roaster is prominently on display, situated just behind a little bar area. The cappuccino was light and subtle, with a hint of complexity and the slightest acidic bite at the end of the taste. Pop in here if you need a break from overwhelming L.A. traffic.
Menotti's Coffee Stop
Located on the street made famous for Orson Welles' famous opening shot from Touch of Evil and inside a space that was once part of a Prohibition-era speakeasy, Menotti's seamlessly blends its laid-back Venice vibe with a strong sense of history. The folks who work here are some of the most friendly and welcoming baristas I met, and they are clearly passionate about what they do. The coffee is truly excellent, and it pairs perfectly with an afternoon of Venice people-watching.