Intelligentsia Coffee, 3922 West Sunset Boulevard
The Scene: Hipster central. Local-wildlife sightings include the indie-rock blogger, the Girl Who Thinks Lena Dunham Stole Her Life and the underemployed screenwriter.
The Brew: A trailblazer in carrying direct-trade and seasonal coffees, this Chicago-based company continues to raise the bar with its expert baristas and latte art.
The Extras: Cheddar corn muffin, apple crumble pie
Don’t Say…: “Irony is dead.”
Handsome Coffee Roasters, 582 Mateo Street
The Scene: Coffee snobs, downtown 9-to-5ers jonesing for a caffeine fix
The Brew: This coffee shop is so serious that it sells only three items (espresso, coffee, au lait) and offers nothing (sugar substitutes, soy milk) that might compromise the joe.
The Extras: Proof Bakery pastries
Don’t Say…: “One venti soy-milk mocha Frappuccino, extra whip, please.”
The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, 2000 Avenue of the Stars
The Scene: In the morning, harried assistants fetching their higher-ups’ orders; during the rest of the day, a stream of industry talent and the agents who shill for them
The Brew: CBTL—as loyalists call it—delivers a solid cup of joe, if not quite of the same caliber as nearby offerings. Extra points for being native to SoCal.
The Extras: In the spring, CBTL will debut new beverages like tea cappuccino and a selection of sweet teas like agave, mint and blood orange.
Don’t Say…: “One second—I’ll text you the script.”
Caffe Luxxe, 925 Montana Avenue
The Scene: Santa Monica’s usual suspects: car-pool moms, producer types, off-duty celebs like Jessica Alba and Michelle Williams
The Brew: Taking cues from northern Italy, Caffe Luxxe brews a chocolaty espresso (called Testa Rossa). Pair it with steamed milk in a latte, and… that’s amore.
The Extras: Macaroons, in seasonal flavors like mint and orange blossom
Don’t Say…: “You know what Brentwood Country Mart could really use? A Hot Topic.”