One of my favorite things about living in Southern California is the close proximity to so many good coffee places. I appreciate the convenience of Starbucks (or making my own iced coffee) just like anyone else, but there’s nothing quite like a drink from an independent cafe. I’m no Yelp Elite, but I can enjoy a damn fine cup of coffee. So much so that I thought I should come up with arbitrary awards for the places I like that are relatively local. So tonight, I bring to you the inaugural Zoe’s Very Official Southern California Coffee Awards.
Best drip coffee that isn’t Starbucks: So I’m bending the rules a little bit on the independent cafe thing from above (and just this once, I promise), but I really enjoy Einstein Bros Bagels drip coffee. There’s an Einstein cafe at school that’s much closer to my work building than the campus Starbucks, and it tastes great with any bagel. Sometimes you just need an afternoon carb pick me up that isn’t Starbucks (¯\_(ツ)_/¯.)
Best “treat yo self” coffee #1: Klatch. I started going here in high school with friends, and it is one of my favorite spots. I usually get coffee with a humongous slab of the coffee cake. It has a good atmosphere and lots of light. 10/10 would recommend.
Best “treat yo self” coffee #2: 85 C. I am not a humongous fan of Asian bakeries, but I love love love 85 Degree’s sea salt coffee. The first time I had it I got a huge first sip of salt, but I learned that shaking it is the secret. I still don’t really get the plastic film lid and having to puncture it with a sharp straw thing, but it tastes great.
Best enjoyed with breakfast: Some Crust Bakery. The last time I was here I got an iced coffee and a raspberry pinwheel, and it was a fantastic decision. My favorite thing about Some Crust is actually the waxy paper bags with the bakery logo, but I’m a nerd. Tl;dr get the iced coffee.
Best enjoyed with a friend after Thai food or a Eureka burger: Augie’s. It can be ultra-crowded in here — it’s in the same storefront as an ice cream place — but the honey cinnamon latte is a great after-dinner treat. Yellow metal chairs and cute baristas are pluses.
Best $5 latte that tastes like $5: Dripp. It is a really pricy place to go all the time, but every time I go I haven’t been disappointed. I recommend the vanilla latte. I also like that Dripp gives you a to-go cup that’s corrugated. If I’m paying $5 for a latte, I need all the hipster accoutrement.
Best enjoyed with a hand pie: N7 Creamery. I’ve been here twice — once for ice cream (which is also good) and once for coffee and a hand pie. I don’t know what was in that hand pie (apples and crack, probably) but the coffee was what really made it good. It was thick without being sledge-y.
Best enjoyed in Los Angeles: Philz. I went here on Sunday and I’m still thinking about this mint mojito iced coffee. You wouldn’t think that mint and coffee would go together, but it definitely does. My only complaint is that the barista made it hot and used a ton of mint, so the ice took a while to bring it to the right temperature. When it was cold enough, though, it was excellent. Again, corrugated cups are where it’s at. It’s probably the most hipster coffee place I’ve ever been to. Take that as it is.
I’m always looking for new cafes to try. Any suggestions? Leave a comment for me.