Go Get Em Tiger

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LARCHMONT VILLAGE – Along a street of upscale boutiques, restaurants, and specialty shops is a coffee bar that serves what the New York Times has called “The Best Iced Latte in America.” On an early sunny afternoon, I walked into the casual chic space and decided to try the special macadamia nut milk latte. I placed my order with the barista by walking up to the long wooden bar, designed to function like a beer/wine bar with no formal lines. The lattes were served in turquoise tinted mason jars, matching the hipster aesthetic of the shop.

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The seating mainly consisted of small shelf-like tables against the wall with boxy wooden stools, or standing at the main counter/bar. Small potted plants, figurines, and vintage-looking trinkets are displayed on the polished white shelves. Neatly organized bags of coffee beans, books, magazines, and other merchandise for sale lined another white shelf, along with snapback hats with the embroidered store name, “gget.”

Overall, the Go Get Em Tiger coffee bar is a good stop for some unique and quality coffee concoctions in an area of Los Angeles that has a small-town, yet trendy feel.

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Barista

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In Northeast Portland, along a row of trendy shops and restaurants, is a sleek coffee space of a different kind. Barista Fine Coffee Purveyors had a luxury modern feel, and I was surprised to find that they also serve alcoholic beverages, making this a good afternoon destination for whatever drink you are seeking. On the Sunday morning that I wandered in, I also noticed an ice bucket on the counter top with champagne and a jar of orange juice (pictured above). Behind the bar/counter, baristas were busy at work customizing espresso and coffee drinks for a steady stream of people stopping in for their afternoon caffeine.

Stumptown Portland

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In a city like Portland, Oregon, good coffee is never more than a short walk away. Artisan coffee shops are as abundant as Starbucks, making this city a dream for a coffee lover. The famous Stumptown can be found in many neighborhoods, yet the stores have retained the feeling of being a local neighborhood spot. Wide walled windows let in plenty of natural light, a giant coffee roaster was nestled in the corner, and plenty of framed artwork hung in a row along the wall. This place seemed conducive to reading or getting some light work done, and re-energizing before taking on the rest of the day.

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Heart

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This post is a break from the usual Los Angeles county cofffee scene as I visited Portland, Oregon. As a city considered to be one of the pioneers of third wave coffee, I had to check out some of the places that the locals and tourists often frequent. The first stop was Heart Coffee Roasters in Northeast Portland. The space had modernistic elements such as a marbled countertop, walls of white and charcoal grey, and potted plant fixtures. There were also vintage elements such as a large faded world map poster, and an enormous Probat industrial coffee roaster that is impossible to miss.

A steady stream of customers came and went, but due to the spacious layout, it was never uncomfortably crowded. On a chilly Portland morning, this was an excellent location to enjoy my coffee and chocolate croissant in a quiet part of town.

De Cafe Baristas

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Nestled in Monterey Park, CA, is this gem of a coffee shop. De Cafe Baristas serves some quality coffee in a relaxing setting. It is a small space within a plaza that includes an AMC Theatre, 24 Hour Fitness, and several restaurants and shops. On the bright side, there is a free underground parking structure below the plaza, as well as the streets surrounding the area, making this a cozy neighborhood spot that can be easily reached. What really sets this place apart is the customer service. Down-to-earth baristas will take a seat next to you at your table as they pour latte art into your cup. The customers are also often engaged in friendly chatter with the baristas, who seem to be very knowledgeable about their coffee and enjoy their work.

In summary, De Cafe Baristas is a great space for artisan coffee without any pretentious air or overly trendy decor. Although the chai latte pictured here had too much milk for my taste, their espresso-based drinks are on point.

Stumptown Los Angeles

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Tucked away in an industrial area in the Arts District of Los Angeles, Stumptown has constructed an airy space with high ceilings, large glass walls for the storefront, and large glass windows behind the counter displaying their metal coffee roasting machinery. The combination of wood and glass with metal lighting fixtures come together to create a modern coffee bar with a hip industrial feel. I liked the long coffee bar layout. The space is sleek and streamlined with decent standing bar space, but not a lot of seating.

As for the coffee, I am glad that the Portland specialty has decided to open up its doors in Los Angeles and share their expertly crafted coffees with locals looking for a quality cup of joe.

Taza. A Social Coffee House.

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Hearing about Taza serving up coffee from specialty coffee roasters, I stopped by on a sunny morning to check out this place nestled in downtown Arcadia. The space was smaller than I expected, with one communal table in the center, and a few more small tables surrounding it. However, the decor was done tastefully for such a small space. A peeling wooden desk with a typewriter added a splash of vintage to the classic little coffee shop.

Outside, they also have a single red, wooden picnic-style table against an interesting painted wall mural. On this particular morning, my two friends and I shared the table with a woman and her daughter, and a dog that someone had tied to the bench while they stepped inside to order. Taza claims to be a social coffee house, and I wondered if these large tables and the small size of the store were meant to contribute to a social environment.

Overall, Taza seems like a good place to catch up with friends or to grab a quick of coffee, but with no restroom and limited seating, not the best place to get settled in and situated.