I’m a bit of a coffee aficionado. A snob, a connoisseur (so I make my non-coffee drinker husband believe), an admirer, a devote, an enthusiast. That sharp smell that wakes me from my dream induced slumber and makes me joyous to be around at 6:30 am after my daughter bounces on the bed. An injection of life that starts my day with childlike curiosity. So yes, coffee is a part of my life and yes, I’m a snob about it. To my dismay after moving to the USA 11 years ago (am I really that old?!) from Australia I had a very tough time finding that perfect cup of Joe. I tried. Oh lord I tried. Coming from Australia where every coffee shop produces a smooth, strong, magical cup of gold I thought my coffee days were slowly dying. But like any obsessive pastime, I was determined for that not to be the case. So I went on my 11 year search. It wasn’t easy and there were setbacks along the way BUT this is as close to a perfect Aussie cup of coffee I have come across.
BLUE BOTTLE COFFEE
Blue Bottle Coffee originated 10 years ago by – a disaffected freelance musician and coffee lunatic- founder W. James Freeman. Named after Central Europe’s first coffee house The Blue Bottle, Blue Bottle Coffee has grown into a small network of cafes, an espresso cart, and some vintage German coffee roasters. Their owner says “I will only sell coffee less than 48 hours out of the roaster to my customers, so they may enjoy coffee at its peak of flavor. I will only use the finest, most delicious and responsibly sourced beans.” They offer free public discussions and cuppings of their coffee, free brewing classes, Espresso at Home classes and more. With a tiny delicious menu, an innovative and alluring gift section and homemade almond milk, Blue Bottle Coffee is hard to beat.Their coffee houses are located in California, San Fransisco, New York and Tokyo but due to their marvelous success I’m sure more will be popping up interstate and globally before you know it.
GO GET ‘EM TIGER
In the heart of Larchmont Village lies a one-off bar style cafe whose name sounds more like a Anthony Robbins saying than the name of a coffee shop. I don’t know what the impetus was behind the name but thank goodness it has substance behind it. With many coffee shops vying for attention on the Larchment strip, Go get ’em tiger easily wins the competition. Homemade Almond milk, strong espresso – enjoyed at the bar, dreaming you were in paris – and an delectable mini food and dessert menu, “Go get ’em tiger” is what you’ll be saying to yourself when you leave.
Urth Caffe was founded in 1989 by Jilla and Shallom Berkman as a small mail order company selling non-toxic and natural products for the home. In 1989, they met an organic coffee farmer named Jorge, who represented a farm in Peru producing organic, heirloom coffee which was very special. Coffee in general is the heaviest chemically treated food commodity in the world. Heirloom coffee trees are very rare and have never been genetically modified. They discovered there were many destructive practices in the coffee industry and decided to become pioneers in health conscious coffee. There is a reason people flock to Urth Caffe. They know that their coffee is organic along with an extensive locally sourced organic food menu. The service is fast, the coffee is strong and sweet, and even though the atmosphere is loud and busting the quality of their food and coffee drinks are worth the wait.
LAMILL Coffee has cult like status. A place whose menu is designed by Providence’s Michael Cimarusti and Adrian Vasquez, (Provedence is a highly coveted two star Michelin restaurant in the heart of Los Angeles) and whose coffee is described in terms like “savory notes”, LAMILL coffee is one of the most serious cafes in Los Angeles. Located on the part of Silver Lake Blvd that curves around, almost creating a new street, and is surrounded by one-off, overpriced but undoubtably unique shops, LAMILL Coffee is the coolest kid in town.
Intelligentsia is another solid coffee shop in the Silverlake area. Even though there are many stores peppered around the Los Angeles area , Intelligentsia still prides itself for it’s quality and clientele. It was actually one of the first places I felt was as close to the Australian cup of coffee that I had tasted. With a simple one page menu, fast and friendly service, a super clean and inviting atmosphere, there’s no other place I would rather spend my downtime than here. You watch the barista’s make the coffee right in front, which always seems a little magical for me. Some of their best work includes their espresso drinks such as the Cortados, Lattes, and Angelenos. You can’t go wrong with Intelligentsia.
Once a flower shop, Deux Machinas is now a store serving mostly dudes and a few badass chicks. Shop for anything surf culture and motorcycles (hand built in house) and finish off at the amazing coffee bar up front. Don’t ask for soy or anything convoluted . Espresso +Milk = Perfection.
Stumptown coffee asks you how you like your coffee? “Are you looking for a full-bodied cowboy coffee, or a delicate, tea-like finish? Chocolate aromas, or hints of jasmine?” This is how Stumptown coffee roasters talk about their beans. It’s serious business. They buy directly from the people making the coffee. They don’t buy in bulk and Stumptown pride themselves on a coffee producer ( they don’t call them farmers) who are paid fairly .With stores in Portland, Seattle, New York and Los Angeles I think it won’t be long before there is one in every US state.
Well there you go! I hope you enjoyed reading my recommendations as much as I did getting caffeinated around the city! I’m sure there are more amazing coffee shops I have yet to try so let me know your favorites! America has never been known for it’s coffee but I believe that because of the demand for the “perfect cup” from coffee lovers like you things are beginning to shift.
From one obsessed coffee fan to another,