Buy The Bean: Local Roasters for Coffee Achievers

Let’s face it, getting up early probably isn’t the best part of being a parent.  Remember the days of sleeping in (past 6) and savoring a fresh cup of coffee before a shower?  Getting the little ones ready for preschool, school or day care drop off, we barely have time to grab a mug of joe to go (unless there’s a drive-thru on your route).  And the prospect of finding parking at your local coffee shop, getting kids out of car seats, wrestling shatterable mugs from chubby little fingers, saying “No” to a chocolate muffin and then getting them back into car seats?  No thank you!  Luckily LA’s full of beans, roasting locally and in stores, ready to brew at home.  No need to skip a latte: wake up and smell the coffee from these local roasters, where you can get only the freshest beans. Your barista would approve.

Caffe Luxxe
The team behind Caffe Luxxe takes credit for launching the latest wave of handcrafted artisanal coffee in LA.   Prepared in a German Probat roaster in LA’s south bay industrial area, their specialty espresso and single-origin beans are delivered daily to their 3 westside shops, the aroma so flavorful you can almost taste it upon entering.  Bags of the incomparable beans are available online, yet when you buy in person, you also get to savor a beautiful cup crafted by hand in the European tradition. (Insider’s tip:  when in Brentwood, visit the Country Mart location, grab a to-go cup and take the kiddies for a whirl on an old-fashioned co-op carousel.)

Multiple locations on the Westside, check website for details.

Demitasse started as a micro-roastery and tea bar in Little Tokyo, recently adding a cozy café off the Promenade in Santa Monica.  Roasting small batches, Demitasse takes its brewing seriously too, with each specially-trained barista preparing a signature drink – only available when s/he is working.  Bean selections from their seasonally revolving ‘Aroma Bar’ are for sale at each location and online, as well as by super-affordable bi-weekly subscription (roaster’s choice) for home or office delivery.

Locations in Little Tokyo and Santa Monica, check website for hours and locations.

Starting in Venice nearly 2 decades ago, Groundworks takes pride as one of SoCal’s first organic roasters, having pioneered sustainable, relationship-based sourcing.  The popular roaster is now ubiquitous here while remaining community-oriented and true to its mission: Groundworks has 7 cafes throughout LA and distributes to several groceries including Whole Foods and Bristol Farms (try a bottle of their organic Cold Brew for a chilling pick-me-up).  3- and 6-month subscriptions make it easy to enjoy their varied beans in the privacy of your pjs.

Multiple locations across Los Angeles; check website for locations and hours.

Originating in Chicago, Intelligentsia first hit the scene in Silverlake then opened an outpost in Venice and café in Pasadena, officially conquering the Southland.  The seasonal roaster-retailer buys beans directly from growers worldwide.  The Direct Trade coffee arrives at their downtown LA Roasting plant, destined for fresh roasting daily in a century-old German roaster; the rich Black Cat espresso is reason enough to set an alarm.  Brewing education is all part of the process: no matter your preferred method, be sure to consult their online guide in pursuit of the perfect cup.  To simplify life to the fullest, subscribe for recurring home delivery – sorry, barista in a bathrobe not included.  (Insider’s note:  Try their tea, too, for a taste treat.)

Multiple locations; check website for locations and hours.
Online:  Intelligentsia@Home

Jones Coffee Roasters
Pasadena’s own globally sourced, locally roasted gourmet coffee originated on a family farm in Guatemala and remains family-run; their flagship sustainable beans are imported from a rich volcanic soil that’s been cultivated over 140 years.  All roasting of their specialty coffees takes place at Jones’ So. Raymond roastery, they also offer workshops on home brewing and cupping.

You can find the in Pasadena and at the West Hollywood Library.  See website for details.

Urth Caffé
The bustling cafes pour 100% organic coffees, sustainably sourced from around the world.  Their downtown roaster processes a small portion of the beans sold at their retail outlets, while all products are subject to their strict standards of fair trade and shade grown.  Bags are sold exclusively online and at their 4 shops around town (which also serve freshly prepared healthy soups, salads and baked goods, including gluten-free bread you’d never suspect was wheat free).

Multiple locations; check website for locations and hours.

Roasting Soon in a Neighborhood Near You
Beloved Ferry Building fave, San Francisco-based Blue Bottle Coffee inked to open a Culver City roastery – complete with tasting room and café – at the highly-anticipated Platform complex adjacent to the Expo Line.   And Portland’s Stumptown is also hiring already to staff their roasting facility and cafe.  Perhaps closest to launch is the new only-in-LA Ferndell on Abbot Kinney in Venice.  Check company websites for upcoming details.

How do you get your caffeine fix in the morning with wee ones underfoot?  And where do you prefer to source those precious beans?

-Kim Orchen Cooper

Photos courtesy of impromtukiss via Creative Commons; Caffe Luxxe via yelp; Groundworks via yelp; davidd via Creative Commons;; philmikejones via Creative Commons; the author.


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