The weather is already warm enough, there’s no sense in making yourself even hotter with a boiling cup of bean water. But you’ve never tried to make cold brew, and you honestly don’t really get how espresso is made, which means you’re in need of an iced coffee - stat. Fortunately, there are tons of coffee shops around LA that do the cold stuff just as well as the hot stuff - and in some cases, even better. Here are 18 places to get your caffeine fix with some excellent cold brew or an iced latte.
Menotti's Coffee Stop
If you think all cold brew tastes the same, we’re very sorry for all the mediocre versions you’ve been drinking. And also, you should head straight to Menotti’s in Venice (or Culver City) to have your mind changed. They pick their favorite cold brew batches, and have them kegged for a perfect nitro brew.
You’ll probably walk by Obit & Del’s once or twice before you notice it, but it’s worth seeking out this new coffee shop in an oddly barren section of Hollywood Blvd. in Thai Town. There aren’t many places in town where we’d recommend spending $6.50 on a coffee drink, but their Filipino Iced Coffee is worth the extra couple bucks - it’s an iced latte made with ube oat milk that is sweet, creamy, and very strong.
You probably know Spoon By H for the life-changing Korean food they serve. But get ready for another discovery: Their coffee is just as fantastic. And even more importantly, they serve it to you with coffee bean-shaped ice cubes made out of cold brewed coffee, so the drink doesn’t get watered down as the ice melts - it only gets stronger.
East Hollywood’s Bolt keeps things simple, with one kind of cold brew made from Honduran beans. But we wouldn’t want any more than that, because the drink is smooth and not the least bit bitter. Plus, Bolt uses beans roasted in Cape Cod, and, if you’ve ever been to a Dunkin’ Donuts, you know New Englanders take their coffee very seriously.
The cold brew at La Brea’s Neighborhood was pretty divisive within the Infatuation LA office (back when we used to go to an office) - some of us loved it, others said it was a touch bitter. But we all agreed on their iced lattes, which were (and are) works of art. We got ours with oat milk, but however you order, you’ll be happy, because it’s made with excellent Canyon Coffee espresso.
Pre-COVID, Spoke Cafe was a great place to hang out by the LA River Bike Path and eat some avocado toast with your morning coffee. Now, it’s an absolutely essential spot, with a massive patio that’s ideal for social distancing, and some really great cold brew to go along with it. Spoke is also one of those elusive spots with both high-quality coffee and a fantastic selection of beer and wine to transition into later in the day.
Cafecito Organico, the coffee shop on the border of Silver Lake and Virgil Village, roasts some of our favorite beans in town. In fact, their cold brew is so molasses-forward that we don’t even add cream or sweetener to it. It goes great with a poppyseed blueberry muffin.
An excellent Historic Filipinotown cafe, Bloom & Plume does all varieties of coffee drinks very well. But our favorite is the iced mocha - it’s their traditional iced latte, with house-made single origin dark chocolate, and it’s sweet enough that you know it’s there, but not so potent that it overpowers the espresso. Get it with half and half to make it extra creamy - it balances out the chocolate well.
Andante Coffee Roasters
Andante, the coffee shop and roastery on Beverly in Fairfax, serves some of the most potent cold brew around, which is ideal when it’s 6pm and your boss is showing no signs of signing off anytime soon. They’ve also got locations in Echo Park and Downtown LA.
We suspect that at some point, Los Feliz announced there would be free rent for any coffee shop that opened on Hillhurst. But the best of the many, many cafes on this Eastside street is Maru, a parking space-sized spot serving house-roasted coffee. Their cold brew is sweet and smooth, and if you’re looking for something a bit less hard-hitting, they’ve got our favorite iced matcha around. There’s also a location in the Arts District.
A great spot to pick up lunch, HIlltop is also a cafe with locations in Inglewood and View Park-Windsor Hills. Their regular cold brew coffee is potent but not overpowering, and the nitro version is like drinking a coffee smoothie - we love it. We like the espresso here, too, so you wouldn’t be wrong if you wanted an iced latte, instead.
If there’s one single iced coffee drink in the city that we’d have every day, it would probably be the Layla Latte from VanillaBlack. The Layla is made with lavender and honey, and it’s sweet, creamy, and fragrant, without being too much of any one of those flavors. Get some Nutella espresso bread while you’re there.
Doubting Thomas is a Historic Filipinotown cafe that you probably know for their excellent braised pork shoulder breakfast burrito, but their coffee is just as good. Get the single origin Kenya as an iced pour over - it’s aromatic, slightly bitter, and tremendous.
Go Get Em Tiger has quickly ballooned from a tiny spot on Larchmont to a local mini-empire, with locations in Highland Park, DTLA, Weho, Hollywood, Culver City, and Los Feliz (temporarily closed). The secret to their success? The fact that their coffee is consistently excellent, from the simple, sweet iced coffee, to the completely over-the-top iced turmeric almond macadamia nut latte. They make that almond-macadamia nut milk from scratch, by the way, which is as good as it sounds - we usually ask for it on the side, so we can drink whatever we don’t dump in our coffee.
Alfred Coffee & Kitchen
Sure, Alfred Coffee is everything people hate about LA coffee shops: Pastel pink and blue interiors, $10 lattes, and locations in the city’s most expensive neighborhoods, like Brentwood, Melrose Place, and Beverly Hills. But they also make some damn good drinks - especially the iced latte, made with their tremendous house-roasted espresso. Their iced matcha lattes are also great here.
Funnel Mill of Santa Monica
A high-end coffee shop in Santa Monica serving house-roasted beans, Funnel Mill is an excellent place to pick up a cup amidst the sea of Santa Monica coffee chains. They use a water drip siphon system for their iced coffee, which means that the inside of their shop looks like a Breaking Bad set. Our favorite is the Ethiopian Harrar, a single origin bean that is fruity and chocolatey. As a bonus, many of their iced drinks can be made with CBD.
A Sunset Junction stand-by since 2014, Dinosaur Coffee serves tremendous cold brew and iced lattes. It’s a very serious coffee shop that serves near-perfect versions of drinks, but doesn’t take itself seriously at all. Refills are $1.75 on coffee or cold brew. And, as any writer/artist/actor in LA will tell you, using the McDonald’s Wi-Fi while working at Dinosaur Coffee is a true struggling artist rite of passage.
Sure, there are Blue Bottles in Washington, D.C., Seoul, and Tokyo. But even though it’s a chain, this is still an excellent, reliable option for coffee when you need it, from Malibu and Abbot Kinney to Los Feliz and Pasadena. Their New Orleans-style cold brew, made with coffee, roast chicory, and cane sugar, is a particular potent and sweet favorite. Just don’t ask for a Wi-Fi password when you’re here.