One of the defining features of L.A.’s food scene is the willingness of talented newcomers to set up shop in unorthodox venues – from Kogi to Wolvesmouth (nay, Sharksteeth) to LudoBites to Starry Kitchen, some of the city’s best food has been born in unlikely locations.
That willingness to embrace the pop-up has extended to coffee crafters. There's a new wave of coffee projects, and they're popping up in places like furniture stores and farmers markets — even in front of ongoing construction projects. Here they are in no particular order.
Each pop-up has its own particular style, but there may not be any place around that's as stylish as Shreebs. From its website to its logo to its immaculate Instagram feed, Shreebs is a thoughtfully crafted and beautifully presented concept. This is a labor of love, carefully planned and executed, and it absolutely shows in the menu as well as in its appearance. Shreebs doesn’t have an espresso machine, but it does have a strong pour-over, cold brew and a custom-designed horchata cold-brew latte, in addition to a very solid hot- and iced-tea selection. Shreebs recently moved on from its reliable weekend home at HD Buttercup in Culver City but is lining up a new location soon, either in the Arts District or on Abbot Kinney. Keep an eye on that gorgeous Instagram for updates. instagram.com/shreebscoffee —Ben Mesirow
Jakes Artisan Coffee
Armando Diaz was a coffee roaster and business manager at Cafecito Organico for two years before leaving (on good terms) to launch his own brand, Jakes Artisan Coffee. He sources beans from the same farms as Cafecito and roasts them himself before packaging them in hand-labeled black bags. You can buy the beans at the Silver Lake Farmers Market on Saturdays and at the Hollywood and Atwater markets on Sundays, where Diaz runs a booth as “Jakes featuring Cafecito Organico.” With no espresso at these pop-ups, Diaz sells drip coffee and cold brew, the latter of which is a super-approachable version that is made to be touched up with a hint of sugar and milk (try the not-too-sweet Mexican latte made with cold brew, milk and Mexican chocolate). Jakes Cold Brew just hit bottles a few weeks ago. Diaz says he’s also working on some other pop-ups, so keep an eye on his Twitter and Instagram for updates. twitter.com/JakesCoffeeCoLA —Sarah Bennett
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Wide Eyes Open Palms
Kat McIver and Angie Evans have been a couple for five years but only began combining their passions for coffee and baking last year, when they started running pop-up coffee shops at businesses and farmers markets around Long Beach. Evans is the barista at the hand-brew bar, doing pour-overs and imaginative cold-brew drinks that use a rotation of her favorite roasters, such as Four Barrel, Kuma and Ritual (the little bottles of take-home cold-brew concentrate are heaven). McIver is the baker and chef, crafting an impressively thoughtful daily assortment of cookies and pastries (some made using Grist & Toll grains), along with whatever treats she decides to cook the night before (think: fruit polenta crisps, dandelion quiches and eggy, figgy toasts). They can consistently be found at two Long Beach markets (find them on Tuesdays at Bixby Park and Sundays at the Marina), and they also pop up randomly at coffee shops and events throughout town. A must-try is the almond date milk latte, a collaboration that hits the menu only when WEOP pops up at Long Beach’s Rainbow Juices. instagram.com/wideeyesopenpalms —Sarah Bennett
Unlike most of its peers, Civil Coffee’s pop-up is not a fundraiser to build its brand. They’re not selling drinks with an eye on their own shop — they already have one. And it's on the doorstop of this Highland Park shop — which is lovely but still very much under construction — that they set up their espresso cart on Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and give out coffee for free. They’re serving their wonderfully bright and consistent Coava-roasted espresso drinks to build goodwill and get to know the neighborhood in advance of opening. In recent weeks they’ve teamed up with nearby Panaderia Delicias to give you something to nibble on with your coffee, and they’ve been happily describing and showing off their future digs, in a beautiful old building on Figueroa. Great coffee and delicious Mexican pastries for free every weeked? Goodwill well earned. 5629 N. Figueroa Ave., Highland Park; civil-coffee.com. —Ben Mesirow