10 Places to Get a Damn Good Cup of Coffee
6. Spring for Coffee : To say that Spring for Coffee is small is a bit of an understatement. It's all of 200 square feet, a tenth of the size of the 2,000 square feet CoffeeBar just a few doors away. Where CoffeeBar's generous space invites you to stay, Spring for Coffee understands that you're busy and need to go. Each cup is individually crafted, and you have your pick of coffee, including beans from Portland's Stumptown Coffee Roasters and San Francisco's Ritual Coffee Roasters.
T. Nguyen The counter at Spring for Coffee
548 S. Spring Street, Los Angeles; (213) 228-0041; http://www.springforcoffee.com.
7. CoffeeBar: CoffeeBar is Intelligentsia without the pretension, Seattle without the rain (present weather excepted). This is is truly a coffee bar: the shop judiciously features multiple roasters so that on any given day, you can have your pick of specialty beans on tap. Recently, the shop had beans from Noble Coffee Roasters, Verve Coffee Roasters and Four Barrel Coffee. Oh, and CoffeeBar happens to have a very rare Slayer espresso machine, an $18,000 beast that, in the hands of the right barista, may give you the best shot of espresso you've ever had.
600 S. Spring St., Los Angeles; http://www.coffeebarla.com.
8. Intelligentsia: With the exception of the aforementioned Espresso Profeta, Caffe Luxxe, and Conservatory for Coffee way over on the Westside, Los Angeles was arguably a coffee wasteland until Chicago's Intelligentsia rolled into Silver Lake. The shop also has locations in Pasadena and Venice. For those who can't make it out to any location (or for those whose conversion is so recent they prefer not to deal with Intelligentsia's often holier-than-thou vibe), The Fix in Echo Park and Paper or Plastik in the Mid-City area all brew Intelligentsia beans.
3922 West Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, (323) 663-6173.
1331 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, (310) 399-1233.
55 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, (626) 578-1270.
9. Cognoscenti Coffee: When Yeekai Lim left his pop-up coffee stand at Blue Dot Acai & Yogurt in Eagle Rock and set up shop inside Proof Bakery in Atwater Village, most of his loyal customers followed him -- with good reason. An architect-turned-barista, Lim is almost obsessive about details. Ask for a cortado and talk to him about how he decided which milk to use for his drinks. Cognoscenti brews beans from San Francisco's Four Barrel Coffee.
3156 Glendale Blvd, Los Angeles; (323) 664-8633; http://www.twitter.com/cogcoffee.
10. Cafe de Leche: Cafe de Leche is either the harbinger of gentrification or a much needed artisan coffee shop in Highland Park. Brewing beans from Stumptown Coffee Roasters, the shop offers the staples (lattes, macchiatos) as well as neighborhood specials like the horchata con espresso.
5000 York Boulevard, Los Angeles; (323) 551-6828; http://www.cafedeleche.net.
Bru Coffee Bar : The coffee shop formerly known as Psychobabble in Los Feliz brews beans from Ritual Coffee Roasters on its La Marzocco machine. The shop is still young, the shots are a bit uneven and the latte art needs work, but give it a few months and it will likely be a contender.
1866 Vermont Ave., Los Angeles; (323) 664-7500; http://brucoffeebar.com.
Gelato Bar: While not strictly focused on coffee (it's called Gelato Bar for a reason), this shop belonging to Gail Silverton (sister of Nancy) acquired a Synesso Cyncra espresso machine in 2009 and procured beans from Sonoma County's Ecco Caffe. The baristas do a fine job with the machine and the coffee. The highlight is when Gail's son, Nik Krankl, is in town and pops up behind the counter. Krankl is an award-winning barista, most recently competing in the Southwest Regional Barista Championship. Keep an eye on Gelato Bar's Facebook page for updates on Krankl's guest shifts.
4342 1/2 Tujunga Ave., Studio City; (818) 487-1717; http://gelatobar-la.com.