For java fashionistas, specialty coffee houses that pour locally-roasted coffee make it to the top of their must-visit lists. Whether they are heading out to a business meeting or a catch-up with friends, coffee connoisseurs know how to distinguish the fine taste of locally-sourced coffee. There are a variety of companies today who roast well-sourced beans right here in Los Angeles. It’s all about knowing where to go and what to order. These five coffee hotspots are brew masters who source the best roast masters.
2316 S. Union Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90007
Minutes away from USC, Nature’s Brew is not just for the college kids. This popular café from the guys behind the Downtown LA wine bar Bacaro LA is a perfect hot spot for meetings, quick breakfasts and specialty coffee drinks. Serving a variety of popular drinks using Pasquini, one of the oldest and most celebrated local coffee roasters, the must-have items on the menu are Nature’s Brew Shot and Noa’s Breakfast Smoothie. The shot is concocted with espresso, milk foam and a flavor of choice served in a shot glass, while the smoothie satisfies morning hunger pangs with a double shot of espresso, banana, milk, vanilla, maple and granola, served in a mason jar. Nature’s Brew uses the Milano blend, a medium dark roast Sumatra, which is highlighted by very earthy notes – a hint of sweet musk and bourbon, and oak wood.
LAMILL Coffee Boutique
1636 Silver Lake Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90026
Headquartered in Alhambra, LAMILL Coffee, which provides the coffee for M Café, macrobiotic lunch spot, also has a retail spot in Silver Lake. It is the place to hit for breakfast (try the house specialty warm brioche donuts) when you are on this side of town. The drink menu gives you several choices of brewing techniques for your personal cup of joe: clover, which is brewed in a specialized clover vacuum siphon brew chamber, French press, a full saturation extraction process, Japanese hand drip, a Hario extraction brewed table side, and more. Just what makes LAMILL coffee perfection? Perhaps it is the company’s proprietary water and ice recipe and process. It uses a “reverse osmosis technology with re-mineraliztion,” which produces a pure-filtered water “to create a sweet, round, full flavor.”
925 Montana Ave.
Santa Monica, CA 90402
Located on the popular shopping district of Montana Avenue in the Santa Monica beach community, Caffe Luxxe continues to impress locals and visitors with its beautiful, artistic coffee drinks and impressive coffee flavor. Known for roasting its own espresso “Testa Rossa” using a traditional northern Italian style, Caffe Luxxe’s signature brew features dark chocolate notes and subtle caramel base flavor, and oh what a cappuccino it makes. For single-brewed coffee, it is always made to order. The barista is given the reins to control water flow rate and brewing time to create that perfect cup. The café has a very European vibe, which gives its guests ample time and space to enjoy every sip.
Arts District Coffee Bar and Roasting Works
582 Mateo St.
Los Angeles, CA 90013
The three guys behind Handsome Coffee are, well, handsome. And their coffee is outstanding. Headquartered in the downtown Arts District, Handsome Coffee now has a full-service coffee bar with full views of the roaster’s operations including its 1956 UG-22 Probat, a refurbished roaster from Belgium. Featuring coffee from top farms in Central America, South America and East Africa, try the shop’s specialty espresso drinks, and while you are there, take home a few pounds home with you.
Alana’s Coffee Roasters
Sold at farmers’ markets throughout Los Angeles, Alana’s Coffee Roasters offers a solid, gourmet, “on the spot grind.” Featuring blends and personal tastes from all over the world including Guatemala, Peru, Bolivia and Ethiopia, owner Eric Stogsdill named his company after his 4-year-old daughter Alana. He runs the company on his own and does all of the roasting by hand. Order right on the spot and receive a flavorful, quality, hand-roasted coffee drink (and it’s so wonderful over ice). Stogsdill can be found at farmers markets all over Los Angeles — Culver Cityon on Tuesday, Westchester on Wednesday, Redondo Beach Farmers’ Market, La Cienega and 18th St. on Thursday and at in West LA on Sundays.
Sheryl Craig is a writer with a passion for interesting finds and treasures in Los Angeles. She has a background in journalism and public relations. A mother of two daughters, Sheryl integrates her healthy lifestyle into raising her children. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.