I never really liked coffee until I lived in LA. At first, I started drinking those gross iced lattes from Starbucks because it was hot and I wanted a cold caffeinated drink.
However, one day, everything changed. I went to a coffee shop in Downtown LA and ordered a latte. No big deal. I was slightly disturbed by the fact it cost $5, but nonetheless I sat down at my laptop to do some work and casually took a sip of coffee. When I tasted the velvety smooth, perfectly bittersweet coffee, I did an actual double take. It all finally made sense.
Let’s just say I can’t drink iced lattes from Starbucks anymore.
Unfortunately, the coffee shop which changed my life has since closed down (RIP The Classic), and after my coffee epiphany I started to explore other coffee shops in LA. Here are some of my favourites.
For The Hipsters: Intelligentsia
Intelligentsia on Sunset Junction is one of the biggest hipster magnets in LA, and that’s saying something. Intelligentsia source and roast their own beans, and their hipster baristas are suitably passionate about making you the perfect coffee. If I could wake up every morning and drink any coffee it would be their iced almond milk latte every time – the perfect combination of bitter and sweet, and exceptionally smooth.
I also heard a rumour that their pastries are sourced from Mr Holmes Bakehouse, and if so it would be worth visiting for that reason alone.
I Recommend: Iced Almond Milk Latte (Black Cat blend)
For The Chilled Vibes: Muddy Paw
Friendly baristas, lots of dog owners, and a relaxing patio out the back which somehow creates an oasis of peace in the middle of LA – that’s why Muddy Paw had to make this list. And yeah, the coffee’s alright too. Their motto is ‘buy a cup, save a pup!’ – every coffee you buy goes towards helping local animal rescue shelters.
I recommend: Iced mocha
Location: Sunset Blvd, Silverlake.
For The Perfect Coffee: Tilt Coffee Bar
I do claim that this is where I’ve had the best coffee of my life. Hidden away in a little back alley in DTLA it’s a little hard to find (And I accidentally walked into Skid Row trying to find it), but it’s totally worth it. It will also cost you at least $5 for one of their specialities, but again – worth it.
The barista was extremely serious about coffee. After handing the customer in front of me her ‘Cloud Mocha’ he freaked out when he saw her attempting to squeeze a lid on; he warned her this it would ruin the coffee experience and taste – she needed to let it breathe, and smell the aroma, not drink it through a plastic lid. She nervously put the lid down and took a sip. He meticulously weighed the coffee beans for my Cloud Latte (iced), and was not amused when I wanted to take photos. This is serious coffee business.
I later found out that this barista actually invented the ‘cloud latte’ and has won many global barista awards…
And I wasn’t disappointed. First off, it looks amazing. I’m a sucker for a photogenic coffee; and this one has three layers: milk, espresso and ‘cloud’. The ‘cloud’ is a layer of cold, foamed cream that sits on top of your latte. The drink is very creamy and sweet, the texture is extremely smooth, and all in all it’s just a glorious experience. Best. Coffee. Ever.
I recommend: Cloud Latte (iced).
Location: 334 Main St, DTLA
For the Instagram pics: Alfred Coffee
Alfred’s is famous for it’s ‘but first, coffee’ slogan so join the queue of people waiting to Instagram the sign and/or your coffee in one of their locations around LA. But Alfred’s coffee shops are not just satisfyingly atheistically pleasing (and painfully hipster). They use Portland’s Stumptown coffee beans to make some top quality brews. #butfirstcoffee
For Matcha Lovers: Matchabar
You know you’re in LA when there’s a coffee shop dedicated entirely to matcha based drinks. To be honest, I’m not a fan – I’ve tried it twice and however much I want to like it (matcha lattes just look so dreamy), it’s just not for me. But if you like matcha, this would probably be like heaven for you.
Location: Sunset Blvd., Silverlake