A Guide to Santa Monica Coffee Shops
Established in 2015 and housed within a daylight-rich, quaint minimalistic space most accentuated by warm maple tones, the giant sign reading “LOVE,” a golden-state-shaped coffee table, and some really cool reflective honeycomb tiles wrapped around the counter, Love Coffee Bar is simply put one of the cutest Santa Monica coffee shops there is.
Menu-wise, the espresso drinks are excellent, and it’s worth trying the weirdly good lemonade iced coffee. It’s a great spot for work if you’ve got a puppy in tow – the entire space is dog-friendly, and the backyard offers plenty of room for them to stretch out under your table.
The original 10 Speed Coffee was opened up next to a bike shop in Hood River Oregon, eventually became a social hub for the cycling community there, and thus harmoniously intertwined the active lifestyle and coffee culture in a way that will forever be at the core of this passionate micro-batch roaster. Whether coming or going, beginning or ending an adventure, or getting a little work done, the Santa Monica location offers a neat, spacious, and dutifully equipped environment destined to serve as your personal local base camp.
From its California state flag imprinted exposed brick wall to the floor to ceiling glass storefront, Lo/Cal is a neighborhood hallmark. That’s right, there’s no better place to pair your locally sourced, tasty cup of morning joe with a side of instagrammable vintage vibes and retro decor. Not to mention, they’ve got java-infused ice creams perfect for those hot Southern California afternoons, such as Affogato, Matcha-gato, Cold Brew Float, and the ever-iconic Root Beer Float.
Through unique relationships with international growers and importers, goodboybob is able to regularly feature some of mother Earth’s rarest coffees – we’re talkin’ java you definitely won’t find anywhere else in L.A! Not to mention the locally beloved, welcoming, and self-described coffee nerds behind the counter, who pour their heart and soul into finding, roasting, and preparing coffee with the highest standards, whilst not acting all hoity-toity about it.
Having procured one of the most aesthetically pleasing Santa Monica coffee shops to be found, goodboybob’s interior is underscored by creative artworks, colorful chesterfields, and high wood vaulted ceilings. Or you can always hang out next to the verdure-laced brick storefront, beneath the starry lights of their rustic courtyard, and while you’re basking in that illuminating glow, maybe stay for a glass or bottle from their diverse selection of wine and craft beer.
Primo Passo is an off-white, copper-tinged, and family-owned coffee roastery situated on Montana Ave. Although occupying relatively intimate quarters, the shop does have a lengthy community workbench, five or so two-person tables, and an outdoor patio set with sun-soaked wooden furnishings. In addition to top-notch java, they offer teas, cold-pressed juice, grab and go eats, and a variety of fresh baked goods like the maple scone, cream cheese & berry danish, gluten-free almond cake, and many more scrumptious delights.
A seashell’s skip from Southern California’s picturesque shoreline and nestled near the third street promenade, Espresso Cielo is an aesthetically glamourous, white marble-graced, hanging light-laden java sanctuary among Santa Monica coffee shops. It is renowned for serving specialty espresso and coffee roasted by 49th Parallel, as well as exotic teas, pastries and breakfast, offering a unique taste of elegant European cafe life on the star-studded westside of Los Angeles.
As another dreamy cotton candy sunset gives way to the starry night sky, you’ll know you’ve arrived at Urth Caffe upon sighting the fountain flanked front doors of this java palace surrounded by an outdoor patio packed with fellow Angelinos and fitted with hazel-trimmed windows exuding a certain warm familiar glow that people can’t help but gravitate toward like kiddish flys who just arrived at grandma’s house.
Urth Caffé began as Jilla and Shallom Berkman’s aspiration over 30 years ago. In 1989, they met a passionate Peruvian coffee farmer named Jorge who produced organic, heirloom coffee, which is derived from heirloom coffee trees – a plant species that has never been genetically modified. Since opening their first caffe together, the Berkman’s have prioritized serving fresh, responsibly grown coffee amidst an inclusive and charming upscale environment.
Snuggled within a white stone block outcrop at the base of an apartment building, Demitasse is the earthy-toned, plant-riddled brainchild of a handful of coffee geeks from all walks of life, who by the way have each concocted their very own signature beverage exclusively available when they are on bar. Take, for instance, the Smokey 2.0 by Bobby, it’s mixed with free spirits bourbon, honey lavender syrup, milk, espresso, and a giant ice cube, and gets smoked in front of so fortunate customers.
Whilst roasting their own coffee one small batch at a time, Demitasse also locally sources ingredients and invests a lot of time trying to find the best Los Angeles has to offer, from pastries to chocolate truffles and even to the ice cream used in their affogatos.
Best friends since school, Mark Wain and Gary Chau quit their corporate jobs in 2006 to start their dream of working together and owning a local neighborhood business – what better than to act on the inspiration received from their experiences with caffe culture in Italy! Fast forward nearly two decades, and every hand-crafted artisanal espresso or brewed coffee spurring the surrounding community of Caffe Luxxe along each morning is the ultimate culmination of these lifelong friends’ years ago European travels, intimate java studies, and hard-earned expertise.
Groundwork proudly serves freshly roasted, sustainably sourced, and certified organic coffee at some eleven gorgeous java outposts dappled along Southern California’s shimmering coastline. Their Santa Monica location is a mere 8 feet wide x 35 feet long literal hole in the wall, not without tremendous charm, snuggled in the heart of the bustling third street promenade.
Derived from smallholder lots, or half-acre farms spread throughout planet Earth, Groundwork utilizes a model called direct trade. This is a process in which roasters work directly with farmers to meet higher standards for coffee quality in exchange for a premium price. That way, the farmers get liveable wages, and Groundwork gets to give you the best coffee out there.
Named for the 70s skateboarding greats the Z-Boys and their stomping grounds known as “Dogtown,” Dogtown Coffee pays homage to the American skateboard and surfing history that unfolded right here in Santa Monica. These days, just south of the pier, locals and tourists alike crowd into this cultural landmark adorned by surfboards to enjoy micro-roasted coffee, organic loose-leaf teas, and health-conscious meals – don’t skip out on the breakfast burritos!
Housed within a roomy open ceiling space dappled with plenty of seating and charging outlets, the dynamic husband and wife duo behind Funnel Mill is on a mission to prepare handcrafted Syphone coffee and natural harvest medical herbals and teas for the perfect balance of flavor and intensity. Boasting almost two decades of researching and traveling to farms worldwide in the pursuit of exploring various exotic flavors, they continue to practice the most exquisite craftmanship to satisfy this beachside community.
Adjacent to the Christine Emerson Reed Park, Bluestone Lane’s quaint Santa Monica digs embody a sophisticated space that combines beach-inspired tones with a bright Aussie feel. Sleek finishes including the expansive window and illuminating light-box add character to the modern coffee shop. The spacious outdoor seating area is sun-drenched, ornamented with unique and colorful pots that canopy the sidewall. Enjoy their full range of coffee and tea, as well as refreshing cold-pressed juices and wellness lattes.
Dave is the creator of the widely-popular Bulletproof Coffee, host of the #1 health podcast, Bulletproof Radio, and author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Bulletproof Diet. He has lost 100 pounds without counting calories or excessive exercise, used techniques to upgrade his brain and lift his IQ by 20 points, and lowered his biological age while learning to sleep more efficiently in less time, and one of his more recent ventures involves this great big red brick coffee house standing tall among Santa Monica coffee shops.
Bulletproof utilizes a proven blend of ancient knowledge and brand new technologies, tempered by research, science, and measured results from customers, top athletes, and medical professionals to harness the life-changing power of performance-enhancing nutrients within their environmentally conscious and ethically sourced coffee, supplements, and foods.
Around the early 2000s, in Northern California, a slightly disaffected freelance musician and coffee lunatic, weary of the commercial coffee enterprise and stale, overly roasted beans, decided to open a roaster for people who were clamoring for the actual taste of fresh coffee. His humble vision has since blossomed into a network of cafes across the United States, Japan, and Korea, of course, the location most relevant to us is that turquoise-drenched operation among beloved Santa Monica coffee shops.
There, in the form of an upscale collaborative workspace, this venue serves both its community of artisans and innovators, and everyone else who happens to meander on by; being in such close proximity to the beach always guarantees an intellectually diverse array of characters.
If you enjoyed this guide to the best Santa Monica coffee shops, be sure to check out our list of the Top 15 Coffee Shops in Hollywood!