Lights… Camera… Coffee... in Los Angeles!
Whenever the word “Los Angeles” comes up, what is the first thing that pops in your mind? Perhaps the first thing that comes to mind is Hollywood, with palm trees and sunny weather coming close after it. For many people, Los Angeles or LA as some like to call it, is one of the iconic cities in America, a travel destination, the home to many internationally known actors and actresses, and of course, Disneyland. For us, LA is all of these things and a little bit more.
Los Angeles holds a special place in our hearts and it is where we consider our "third home." We spent a few years here completing our undergraduate studies and met people who are now close and important friends in our lives. We always look forward for the chance to come back and visit, not only to see our friends but also to discover new and interesting places.
When we were still living in LA, our love for coffee shops and cafes was not as strong as it is now. Perhaps we were too busy working on our assignments or hanging out with our friends that we didn’t find it particularly fun to spend time at a cafe. Now that we’re a little older, we love visiting coffee shops wherever we are. Although Los Angeles may often be shadowed by the artisanal and fancy coffee that San Francisco is known for, we have found a few of our favourites in this City of Angels. We have shared some of our favourite coffee shops in Vancouver and Hong Kong, and this time we want to share our favourites from LA with you.
Unlike Vancouver and Hong Kong where you can get to most places with public transportation, LA is not quite the same. Public transportation is available, but the best way to get around is definitely by car. With a city as big as Los Angeles, there are hundreds and perhaps thousands of cafes all over. There were so many cafes and coffee shops that we wanted to try, but we decided to visit a few that we were interested in. With the exception of the first cafe on our list, we decided to focus on the cafes near the LA downtown area.
Our Top 5 Must Visit Cafes
Located at the newly built “The Source” in Buena Park, is In-Sit Coffee. With marble top tables, clean white walls, contrasted by dark coloured chairs, we loved this cafe. There are plenty of seating options with a large communal table, smaller individual tables, and also a bartop area.
The morning we visited this cafe it was quite empty and the perfect place to begin our day with a glass of cold brew coffee and a sweet cookie to munch on. We didn’t bring our laptops with us, but we think this is the perfect place to get some work done or to meet up with people for coffee and good conversations.
Verve Coffee Roaster is a well known company that has locations all over the world. With 3 locations in Los Angeles, we decided to go to the one on 3rd street. Verve on 3rd street has more of a hipster and industrial chic vibe to their decor. With concrete floors, but plenty of polished wood and gleaming gold metal touches, they did a wonderful job contrasting the different materials and textures.
Staying true to their name and focus as a coffee roaster, they have placed the coffee and tea brewing station in the centre of their store. In addition to coffee and tea, Verve also serves a very interesting mix of juices called a ‘Juice flight’. We didn’t have a chance to try it, but we have heard it is quite an acquired taste. It is important to note that unlike In-Sit Coffee, it was extremely hard to find a seat at this cafe and it was bustling during both times we visited this location.
3. Alfred Tea Room
“But first, Coffee” is probably something that many people have seen on cups, t-shirts, and other things that people like to use to show their love or need for coffee. But these 3 short words is actually the slogan for the increasingly popular coffee shop “Alfred Coffee" and "Alfred Tea Room.” While there are multiple locations, we wanted to go to Alfred Tea Room.
At the Tea room, with pink walls, greenery hanging from the ceilings, and cute puns written on the walls, it’s not hard to understand why this place has been an Instagram favourite. While it is a small store with minimal seating outside, it is still the place to go to when you want to go somewhere pink and girly. If you are looking only for coffee, their coffee location is just down the street. But for us, we love the different tea options available here… Alfred Tea Room, “I love you so matcha.”
4. Blue Bottle
Beginning in Oakland California, Blue Bottle Coffee started with the vow to deliver the taste of fresh coffee only using coffee beans that have been out of the roaster for less than 48 hours. Over the years they have garnered a large group of supporters and now have locations all over the world; with 12 in Los Angeles alone. So while we’re in LA, we can’t help but find a Blue Bottle Cafe and try it for ourselves.
We visited the location in Beverly Hills and we loved the split level design of the cafe. With a good amount of seating on the main floor, there is also a large communal table and additional seating on the upper floor. With plenty of white walls, minimal decor, and a high ceiling, this cafe was comfortable and gives off an airy feeling. And of course, the coffee they served was just as good as we imagined it to be.
5. Dominique Ansel
While this is technically not a coffee shop, my love for desserts couldn’t help but make it a point to visit this place. Dominique Ansel is a renowned pastry chef that has shaken the world of desserts and have truly created a name for himself. Cronuts, cookie shots, blossoming hot chocolate… these are only a few of the creations from him that many people will happily line up for.
Dominique Ansel is located at the The Grove and has two levels- the upper level for the restaurant, lower level for the bakery and coffee. There are interesting designs and beautiful sitting areas throughout the bakery, but the true focus here is on the desserts themselves. We tried their cake and their infamous frozen s’mores and they were both perfectly made and the taste was impeccable. But not only are the sweets wonderful, they also make a wonderful cold brew coffee.
"But first, Coffee..."
These are a few of the coffee shops and cafes we visited during our recent visit to LA. While we only had time to focus on the coffee scene in a particular area, we love the different styles of cafes that were available. LA is indeed a city that has plenty of attractions and is never in lack of visitors and tourists. While many people come to see Hollywood, Disneyland, or perhaps the neverending beaches, we are here more for the people, our memories, and perhaps a visit or two to the coffee shops.