This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.
This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.
Coffee Experts Recommend The Best Roasts In Town
Move over Portland. Los Angeles is becoming a hub for well-crafted coffee brews from nuanced chocolate, berry-forward roasts to lighter bodies with jasmine flavor notes. However, there are so many overwhelming choices, so why not get tips from the coffee geeks and try a new roast? From Coffee Commissary to Go Get Em Tiger, we asked the ones most acquainted with the beans to recommend their favorite roasts that they sell—and they described them all like fine wines.
Aaron Stein-Chester, a barista at Coffee Commissary recommends Coava’s Kochere, Ethiopia. This exclusive roast is only available at this coffee shop in the entire world—not even at Coava’s brew bar and roastery up in Portland. The flavor notes include stone fruit, berries, chocolate, and sugar, and they use a special natural process where they leave the fruit pulp on the coffee cherry longer, making it much more like a berry than a bean. A bag runs for $16.
Coffee Commissary is located at 801 N. Fairfax Ave. #106 in West Hollywood, (323) 782-1465
Photo by Aaron Stein-Chester courtesy of Coffee Commissary
Known for their fancy siphoned coffees, Café Demitasse also roasts their own beans in small batches. Owner Bobak Roshan nominates nominates their Ethiopia Gelana Abaya—a lightly roasted, natural-processed coffee from the Yirgacheffe region of the country. It tastes of dragon fruit, lime zest, and peaches, and a bag runs at $18.
Café Demitasse is located at 135 S. San Pedro St. in Little Tokyo, (213) 613-9300
Photo by Bobak Roshan courtesy of Café Demitasse
Handsome Coffee Roasters
At Handsome, you get to see employees roast coffee beans behind the counter at their Downtown coffee shop. Tyler Wells, owner at Handsome recommends their Thungiri roast from Kenya, which runs at $18 a bag. Its flavor profile is tropical fruits, some passion fruit and nectarine, with a lovely body that gets a little syrupy and wine-like when it cools, and leaves a nice finish that doesn't have your mouth feeling like you just drank coffee.
Handsome Coffee Roasters is located at 582 Mateo St. in Downtown, (213) 621-4194
Photo by Tyler Wells courtesy of Handsome Coffee Roasters
Go Get Em Tiger is the only West Coast vendor for George Howell's roastery based in Massachusetts. George Howell’s Borboya is a co-op-grown coffee from the region of Yirgacheffe in Ethiopia. It has a beautiful floral jasmine flavor coupled with sweet candy lemon—a nuanced flavor profile. It costs $19 for a bag.
Go Get Em Tiger is located at 230 N. Larchmont Blvd. in Mid-Wilshire, (323) 380-5359
Photo by Kyle Glanville courtesy of Go Get Em Tiger
Caffe Vita Coffee Roasting Co.
The Seattle-based roastery has a shop out in Silver Lake and Assistant Manager Ryan Parrish offers their Caffe Del Sol roast as a premium choice. Their triple-origin espresso blend is from Ethiopia, Indonesia, and Brazil. It's medium-roasted and he describes the flavors as citrus, chocolate, deep amber crema, with a caramel finish and praline aroma. A bag costs $14.95.
Caffe Vita Coffee Roasting Co. is located at 4432 W Sunset Dr. in Silver Lake, (323) 663-6340
Photo by Ryan Parrish courtesy of Caffe Vita
One of Fix Coffee's top picks is Intelligentsia’s Tres Santos, a single-origin pour-over from Colombia. At $16.50 a bag, it has a ripe cherry juiciness, toasted caramel, with balanced acidity and a creamy body.
Fix Coffee is located at 2100 Echo Park Ave. in Echo Park, (323) 284-8962
Stumptown is a coffee roaster headquartered in Portland and their coffee shop is a new transplant in Los Angeles. Deanna Uribe, a barista at the café, suggests their Hair Bender roast, a blend of coffee from South America, East Africa, and Indonesia. It has a dark-chocolate orange flavor, good solid body, some acidity and a nutty taste. A bag runs at $15.
Stumptown Coffee is located at 806 S. Santa Fe Ave. in Downtown, (213) 337-0936
Photo by Caedmon Jamonsta courtesy of Stumptown