When it comes down to it, there’s nothing like a steaming cup of drip coffee to get the day started. Is a latte satisfying? Of course. Is an iced coffee refreshing? Absolutely. But when it’s been a rough day or a hectic morning, a simple cup of coffee is really all you need to set things right again — there’s beauty in that simplicity. In honor of National Coffee Day on Saturday, Sept. 29, here's where you can find our favorite cups of drip coffee in L.A.
Maybe you overslept, maybe you woke up on time but it was on the wrong side of the bed. Or maybe everything went fine and you just need some damn coffee. If you want a delicious cup of coffee without a long line, stop by Copa Vida in Pasadena, which offers a self-service “honor bar” from 7 to 10:30 a.m. You can skip the line, grab your drip coffee and leave some cash. You’re in good hands — Copa Vida considers itself a “steward” of good coffee, meaning it approaches brewing as a responsibility to deliver the best flavor possible, in order to honor all the work that was done to even get the coffee beans there. If you’re sticking around for a bit, Copa Vida does a mean breakfast — try the chorizo hash. 70 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena; (626) 213-3952, copa-vida.com.
Verve’s two L.A. locations are light-filled and welcoming. Beans are roasted at Verve's Santa Cruz headquarters and sent to the L.A. locations, San Francisco and Japan. Along with the stellar drip coffee, folks love the “bowl of soul,” a steaming, slightly sweet tea latte. Along with various pastries — including some great vegan options — Verve has a few standard breakfast items on offer, including chia pudding and avocado toast. In sourcing beans, the company follows direct trade practices, which allows it to pay its farmers more than Fair Trade mandates, with zero exceptions. 833 S. Spring St., downtown; (213) 455-5991, vervecoffee.com. Also at 8925 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood; (310) 385-9605.
Alibi Coffee Company
Somewhat of a newcomer to the L.A. coffee scene, Alibi is a great little roaster in Harvard Heights that has charmed locals with its delicious cup of $1.50 coffee and above-and-beyond customer service. One online reviewer recounts arriving just after closing time and being chased down on his way back to his car by one of the employees, who offered the man a free cold brew for his trouble. In a city of hipster coffee shops with snobby baristas, it’s good to hear about a shop that cares about its coffee and its customers. Grab a sandwich, too — the vegan sandwich is fresh and flavor-filled, no matter how carnivorous you are (or aren’t). 2268 Venice Blvd., Harvard Heights; (310) 951-9929, alibicoffeecompany.com.
At clean and spacious Bar Nine, you can expect plenty of seating, lovely coffee and no plastic cups. You’ll pay $1 for a to-go jar, which you can bring back for refills. Bar Nine is all about the small touches — excellent house-made hazelnut milk, a simple and tasty breakfast sandwich of egg, sautéed kale and aioli, and hospitality included (i.e., no gratuity expected). Grab a bag of the beans roasted in-house as well as a cup of the smooth drip coffee. 3515 Helms Ave., Culver City; (310) 837-7815, barnine.us.
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Philippe's the Original
Philippe’s isn’t the kind of spot where you chat about the origin of the bean or pick out tasting notes with your friends. However, it is a classic L.A. spot for a cup o’ joe, and it offers its cups for 50 cents. When’s the last time you paid in coins for your coffee order? It’s also, depending on who you ask, where the French dip sandwich was invented, so you should probably try one of those as well. 1001 N. Alameda St., Chinatown; (213) 628-3781, philippes.com.
Go Get Em Tiger
Go Get Em Tiger has some hype around it, but that hype is well-deserved. While it's mostly known for espresso drinks, the drip coffee is made with the same care and attention to detail — expect complexity and drinkability. The almond-macadamia nut is excellent, even if you’re not eschewing dairy. It may even be worth going just for the soft scrambled eggs on a biscuit with house-fermented hot sauce and greens. The vegan chickpea frittata is also excellent. 230 N. Larchmont Blvd., Windsor Square; (323) 380-5359, gandb.coffee. Also at 4630 Hollywood Blvd., East Hollywood; (323) 543-4438.