Review: L.A.’s Best Coffee Shops – In Time for Daylight Saving


Spring forward with Daylight Saving Time! Or, if you’re more like me, shuffle forward towards the inevitable griping as we all lose an hour of sleep this Sunday. The morning after DST might be tough, but you can put a little pep back into your step by staying well caffeinated at these fantastic, vetted-by-yours-truly transit-accessible tea and coffee shops.

Note: I didn’t include Starbucks or Coffee Bean because well, they’re pretty much everywhere. And I skipped Intelligentsia on purpose because I just don’t like it that much. (Fight me if you feel otherwise.) But if there are any other places you think I should include on the list, let me know in the comments!

Groundwork Coffee, North Hollywood

Why I like it: The historic Lankershim Depot at North Hollywood Station, originally built in 1896 and known as the Toluca Southern Pacific Train Depot, is now home to Groundwork Coffee. Store hours are 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. And don’t let the name fool you, they have more than just good coffee. Their food menu includes pastries, sandwiches and salads. I personally recommend the fried egg sandwich — it’s delicious.

Hwa Sun Ji Tea & Coffee, Koreatown

Hwa Sun Tea
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Why I like it: A traditional tea house in Koreatown! It’s cute, it’s quiet and they also serve traditional Korean tea snacks. They have a good tea selection, and okay, they also serve desserts (bingsoo!). Don’t go here if you’re in a hurry though, this is a place for taking your time and relaxing.

Gong Cha, Los Angeles

Gong ChaWhy I like it: They have really, really good milk tea. I’m a big fan of the Earl Grey Milk Tea and Panda Milk Tea, which features white pearl boba, whatever that is. (It’s tasty.)

Document Coffee Bar, Los Angeles

DocumentWhy I like it: They put maple syrup in their coffee, and it’s pretty darn good coffee. The space is industrial chic, which I like. And best of all if you show your TAP card you get 10 percent off your drink. (Good, because maple syrup isn’t cheap.)

Haus by Coffee Hunter, Los Angeles

Haus CoffeeWhy I like it: The Dutch cold brew is a winner! They also have a long list of coffees from various origins just to make life hard for those who have difficulty deciding things. The space is nice, but the seating isn’t as comfy as it could be. The benches are kind of an awkward height in relation to the tables. But hey, that’s why to-go was invented.

Barista Society, Los Angeles

Barista CoffeeWhy I like it: I really, really, really, like the mocha. The Casanova Latte is also good, especially if you like condensed milk. And your TAP card gets you 10% off your drink.

Philz Coffee, Santa Monica, Downtown LA, Pasadena, more

Philz CoffeeWhy I like it: I thought the iced mint mojito coffee would not live up to the hype and I was wrong. I’m also a big fan of the Tantalizing Turkish. I’m not a huge fan of their ordering process — it’s kind of confusing to me — but it’s a small price to pay for iced mint mojito coffeeeeeeeeeee.

Copa Vida, Pasadena

Copa VidaWhy I like it: To be honest, I don’t like their coffee that much. It’s average (to me). But quite a few of my colleagues have strong feelings about it, so I consider this a shoutout to their tastes. One colleague also likes to perform a facewash with their chorizo egg hash on a frequent basis.

Home Brewed Bar, Pasadena

Home BrewedWhy I like it: I like this place because they like me. (Ain’t that the way of the world?) But seriously, their staff is super friendly so it feels good when you visit. I am also a fan of the pistachio latte, chocolate peanut butter latte and the cold brew.

Bird Pick Tea and Herb, Pasadena

Bird Pick and TeaWhy I like it: One of my default places to visit if I’m craving tea I don’t have in my own overflowing tea cupboard. The fusion tea drinks are good because they don’t leave a weird residue in my mouth. (You know what I mean, that sticky taste from artificial syrups and drink mixes.) I’m particularly fond of the Tropical Sunrise, and the shop also has lots of beautiful tea accessories perfect for gifting the tea lover in your life (or for gifting yourself).

Kindness & Mischief Coffee, Los Angeles

Why I like it: They have great coffee but also their cups are really cute. I know, I’m shallow. It’s okay.

G&B CoffeeG&B Coffee, Downtown Los Angeles

Why I like it: A confession: since their prices went up I’ve been frequenting it less because a person has to draw the line somewhere. But as an occasional treat, I still visit for the fizzy hoppy tea and almond macadamia cappuccino. And if you want to spend the next four hours doing the jitter-bug, drink an entire G&B shake. Accept my challenge. Join me at my level. ????

Demitasse, Downtown Los Angeles

Demitasse CoffeeWhy I like it: They have weird special drinks that are really good. I’m partial to anything with black sesame and they offer toasted marshmallows with their sipping chocolate. Plus, look how fancy the cold brew is.

Chado Tea Room, Downtown Los Angeles

ChadoWhy I like it: One of the tea rooms I really enjoy going to. They have an extensive selection of teas — the milk oolong is fantastic and I’m pretty sure there’s no milk in it, yet it tastes like milky tea??? And their tea sandwiches are good.

Tilt Coffee Bar, Downtown Los Angeles

Why I like it: One review called it a “coffee hobbit hole” and described like that, who wouldn’t want to visit? Both of their signature drinks, the cloud latte and cloud mocha, are insanely good and made with Grade A maple syrup.

Blue Bottle Coffee, Los Angeles

Blue BottleWhy I like it: Actually, I don’t. Gasp and shock! I think their coffee is a little bit sour and honestly doesn’t meet the hype. But, I also know lots of people would disagree. So here are directions on how to get there, drink and judge for yourself!

Verve Coffee Roasters, Downtown Los Angeles

VerveWhy I like it: The super spacious cafe offers excellent music with lots of seating for you and friends, yet they are able to create a vibe that feels very personal as well. Exceptional quality espresso that’s especially good with almond milk.

Caffe Vita, Silver Lake

Why I like it: If you’re looking for a place to caffeinate, have I got the cafe for you: Silver Lake’s hottest coffee bar is Caffe Vita. As Stefon might say, it’s got just everything. Coffee, milk foam, non-dairy milk alternatives. The coffee is so good you’ll feel all warm and roasted inside after drinking — just like how they roast their own beans. And Caffe Vita doesn’t have much of a food menu, which tells you how serious they are about their coffee.

Lamill, Silver Lake

Why I like it: The other super hip spot in Silver Lake. They have créme brùlée cappuccino and if you hate it then we can’t be friends. I also enjoy their teas. It’s not exactly what I go there for, but it’s nice to have the option. (And DO get the maple espresso donut.)

Alfred Coffee, Los Angeles, West Hollywood, Studio City

Alfred CoffeeWhy I like it: Alfred’s a cute neighborly coffee shop that is aesthetically pleasing. It’s colorful, Instagrammable and has fun coffee sleeves for you to choose from. The lattes have a strong kick to help you conquer the day, which is why they’ve coined the term, “but first, coffee.”

Text by Anna Chen; Photos (otherwise noted) by Anna Chen for the

Homepage image byberna-namoglu

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