Whether you’re heading east on the 210 freeway or west on that silver strand of concrete, it’s always good to know that a good cup of Joe is as close as your next off-ramp. At the All Business Journal, our hyper-caffeinated staff has assembled a list brimming with neighborhood coffee houses that no SGV commuter should do without! This is Starbucks-free list.
The Motley Coffeehouse- Seal Court
1030 Columbia Ave.
Students, with a feminist vibe, have run The Motley since 1974. Prices are extremely reasonable, owing to its nonprofit status. Operates during the school year only, so call head.
Some Crust Bakery
119 Yale Ave.
First and foremost, this is a bakery, but it’s hard to hang here without grabbing some java to complement your blueberry cheese Danish or chocolate raspberry croissant.
2232 D. St.
Across the street from the University of La Verne and near an English language school, Coffeeberry draws an international clientele. Coffeeberry roasts its own beans, which it purchases from around the world (Costa Rica, Peru, Sumatra, Hawaii). It also specializes in Boba and Thai milk teas
806 W. Arrow Hwy.
Roast magazine (which I regularly receive, along with the Economist and the Wall Street Journal, cough, cough) named Coffee Klatch its 2009 Micro Roaster of the Year for its commitment to purchasing sustainable coffee, educating employees and customers, as well as giving back to the community. Hate the location in the San Dimas Target shopping center, but can’t argue with the free Wifi and comfy and plush couches.
148 N. Glendora Ave.
Classic Coffee is people and pet-friendly, so it has a lot going for it right from the start. It also acquires its beans from a roaster that has been plying its trade for more than 80 years – long before words like “sustainability” and “social responsibility” meant anything. Now a Glendora favorite after almost 10 years in business, Classic Coffee passes both our smell and taste tests with flying colors.
Azusa Pacific University — Located on East Campus in the same building as the Marshburn Memorial Library near Cougar Walk Café at 901 E. Alosta Ave.
626.815.6000 ext. 3334
How do you think college kids stay awake during boring lectures and finals week? They load up on coffee from the Cornerstone Coffeehouse on the Azusa Pacific University campus. The Coffeehouse sources its fair trade coffee beans through the Equal Exchange network. This is coffee-sipping with a conscience!
Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf
102 S. Myrtle Ave.
It’s located on a cute and cozy corner at the end of old town, so the location is great. I know it’s a chain, but CBTL was born and brewed in Southern California since 1963, way before those out-of-towners Peet’s and Starbucks came invading our space. So, props and happy 50th anniversary. You’re doing something right.
203 S. 1st Ave.
Not sure if the name of this coffeehouse stems from the over-caffeinated coffee or the hyper kids who takeover this place after school lets out.
45 N. Baldwin Ave.
For more than 18 years, Matt Krantz’s Bean Town has proudly been serving private label coffee from The Sierra Madre Roasting Company that the staff roasts and brews to perfection in the charming hillside community that still has only one traffic signal to its name.
The Coffee Gallery
2029 Lake Avenue
I was introduced to The Coffee Gallery because it hosts a local chapter of the Independent Writers of Southern California (IWOSC), which meets once a month in a 49-seat showroom connected to the café section. It’s sort of like the Ice House in Pasadena, but its patrons are infused with coffee instead of alcohol and musical performances almost every night instead of comedy acts. Good vibrations.
1010 Foothill Blvd.
Owners Lenora and Peter Wannier have an independent spirit and bookstore to match, which the community has embraced. The coffee is the icing on the cake. Their biggest attraction, however, might be their Espresso Book Machine, a print-on-demand (POD) machine that prints, collates, covers, and binds a single book in a few minutes. Drink that up!
Hen’s Teeth & the Sidewalk Café
2057 N. Los Robles Ave.
Hens Teeth Square
The Sidewalk Cafe can be found at the not-so-famous crossroads of Woodbury and Los Robles, where Pasadena and Altadena intersect. It’s worth the trip because the café obtains its coffee beans “fresh and locally” from Alessandro Caffe. It is also one of the coffeehouses on our list that features some gluten-free products. Hen’s Teeth is historically noteworthy (notorious) because it represents one of our nation’s first strip malls. There are also lots of interior accents to make you feel right at home, such as the pressed tin behind the bar and a six-inch band of chalkboard along one wall, perfect for poetic scribbling and doodling by young and old alike.
The Coffee Tree
696 E. Colorado Blvd.
Across the street from Vroman’s in Pasadena’s Playhouse District, The Coffee Tree quietly goes about its business in a homey atmosphere serving stellar coffees far from the madding crowd. Perhaps, while sipping your favorite home brew, you’ll write a Tony-award winning play.
15 S. El Molino Ave.
Also located in the Pasadena Playhouse District, Zona Rosa’s talented baristas pour their art and aptitude (we didn’t say attitude) into each cup of coffee.
Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea
55 E. Colorado Blvd.
Intelligentsia hopes “to change forever how you think about” coffee. It has succeeded in Silver Lake and Venice and is now applying that same zeal for producing remarkable coffee at its Pasadena location. The interior, with its long Douglas Fir bar, tall ceilings and exposed brick frame, will equally intrigue you. You can also find Intelligentsia in Chicago and New York City.
Jones Coffee Roasters
693 S Raymond Ave
Jones is warehouse chic. If you can’t find parking in the front, there are more spaces in the back. As for the coffee, it’s industrial strength. As for the Wifi, there isn’t any, but there’s lots of eclectic art on the walls to admire. If you want cream with your coffee, you’ll find the milk in the fridge.
Buster’s Coffee and Ice Cream Shop
1006 Mission St.
Buster’s has cornered the coffee biz in South Pas, maybe because it’s located on a corner close to the Gold Line station. It has become part of the landscape and fabric of the community and was founded by the town’s mayor more than two decades ago. It just has a good vibe and buzz, especially with the occasional weekend concert to spice up your musings and brews-ings.
Greater Los Angeles
1636 Silver Lake Blvd.
LAMILL goes to great lengths to find single origin beans that are distinct and delicious. The coffee is brewed in a Clover machine, the Ferrari of coffeemakers.
Tell us your favorite caffeinated corner of the world with us, and why (the culture, the Wifi, the beans, the baristas, the comfy couches, the accompanying pastries, etc.) you like it so much. Who makes the best brew, in your opinion. The All Business Journal wants to know.