Starbucks may have locations all over, but independent coffee shops hold their own keeping locals caffeinated and happy. What makes the best ones great? Is it the quality of the beans, a daily roasting, some flavorful espresso-based experiments, the latte art, pastries, or maybe food, live music or overall mood? Or some mysterious combination of the above.
Hoodline filtered the numbers to find the top five coffee shops around the city, using both Yelp data and our own blend of analysis to produce a data-driven breakdown of where coffee drinkers go out of their way to get the city’s best cup(s) of coffee.
From its start as a single coffee shop in Manhattan Beach in 1989, Urth has become a top Southern California name in the business, and one of the leading organic, heirloom coffee roasters in the country. The small-batch signature blends are available at its handful of locations across the region, although the company has bigger expansion plans—including a big new facility, coffee bar and restaurant, and 1.5-acre organic garden in Hawthorne. The blended coffee drinks are a favorite, including the chai and green tea lattes (even the latte art stands out from serious competition).
Republic Of Pie
This famous restaurant-bakery-coffee shop doesn't put coffee in last place—it offers pour-overs and specialty drinks like a latte made with Nutella. The casual establishment encourages you to make yourself at home with a slice of delicious berry or cream pie, your choice of high-grade coffee, and your sketchpad, notebook or even your laptop. Stick around on the later side and you'll catch live music, too.
One part wholesale coffee roasters, one-part small Pasadena group of shops serving the in-house blends including single-origin espresso and pour-overs. Fine teas and food are available as well (including brunch). Check out the coffee-based "elixir" that tastes more like tea and is made using sound waves.
Bricks & Scones
Homemade scones and pastries, coffee from Intelligentsia, a huge outdoor patio, and a quieter room upstairs make this unpretentious spot a favorite for everyone from local celebrities to USC students studying for finals. Single-origin options are available, along with specialty coffee drinks like sea salt caramel latte.
SteamPunk CoffeeBar & Kitchen
The extensive coffee bar menu includes Cubano shots and a range of other Latin-inspired drinks, latte artistry, and a large french press. The caffeine choices all pair well with the creative breakfast/brunch menu, and the local artwork on the walls rounds out the relaxed, tasteful vibe.