The best coffee shops in Los Angeles

The best coffee shops in Los Angeles

What is the best place for coffee in Los Angeles? It’s the one most convenient to your home, or the one where the barista remembers your name, or the one with a calm, sunlit room that helps you disappear into your workflow. Taste in coffee — and coffee shops — is fiercely personal. I wouldn’t dare steer you away from a local haunt.

But I do have some strong opinions about who in Los Angeles is making outstanding coffee: espressos that delight rather than burn as they go down, pour-overs that express flavors like elegantly made wines, inventive drinks that respect the essence of the brew. These are 19 of my favorites. Some are multiroaster cafes while others are run by baristas and entrepreneurs who started out making and selling coffee from the world’s most skilled roasters and then moved into roasting themselves.

A man raises a hand high to pour into a coffee glass below.

Jack Benchakul, owner of Endorffeine in L.A.’s Chinatown, pours from a distance to aerate coffee before serving it to customers.

(Oscar Mendoza / For The Times)

The emphasis here is on independent coffee bars. Anyone with a passing interest in the subject knows names like Intelligentsia, and probably California-based operators like Verve and Tierra Mia as well. I’d rather point you to some forward-thinking aces making Los Angeles a global leader for coffee culture. There isn’t much talk of food — maybe mention of a breakfast burrito here and there — though I do love exceptional tea as well and point out a few cases where the tea programs stand equal to the excellent coffee.

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