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Iota: K-Town Teen Heaven

Jonagold apples
Jonagold apples
F. Friesema

Are you a teenage girl? Do you know a teenage girl? Because if so, Iota may be your favorite place in the universe, a barn-size K-town coffeehouse where K-pop booms from giant screens, the air is permeated with caffeine, the walls pop with color, the menu groans with salads and the display of sweets is big enough to give diabetes to every boy band in Seoul: vivid Danishes, mung bean-stuffed croissants, coffee financiers and multistacked crepes, among many other things. Plus, there's a citrus slush, a bioflavonoid bomb enhanced with pomegranate vinegar, that is to a Jamba Juice concoction what a Kia Soul is to your mom's Subaru Forester. Really, even without the patio, the puffing coffee roaster or the skybox-level classroom dedicated to coffee education, Iota looks like a reality show waiting to happen.

More important, you'll find the one thing missing from Koreatown's many, many coffeehouses: actually drinkable coffee. Eton Tsuno, the coffee maestro here, was kind of the Yngwie Malmsteen of coffee jocks when he helped open LA Mill a few years ago, but he's pretty restrained here. Instead of coffee with tobacco cream, there are well-pulled espressos and lattes; instead of espresso with doughnut-infused milk, there is siphon coffee, cold-brewed Dutch coffee and meticulous pour-over coffee made from beans roasted right there.

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