Two cafes in Silver Lake create an especially killer cup of coffee. In the era of Starbucks the standard for a cup of joe has definitely risen–Intelligentsia and LAMILL take devotion to coffee much much higher. These cafes are not cheap mind you, but they offer a really great product. Believe the hype!
Intelligentsia Coffee and Tea (3922 W. Sunset Boulevard 90029)
Hours: Mon-Wed–6am-8pm, Thurs-Sat–6am-11pm
This Chicago-based chain opened an outlet at Sunset Junction a couple years ago and the corner of Santa Monica and Sunset will never be the same. This cafe is a great people watching spot; the fashionable denizens of Silver Lake flock here en masse to read the newspaper, sip some excellent brew, and work on their laptops. There is usually a line and getting a table (either on the covered patio or outside on the sidewalk area facing Sunset) can be tricky; it’s all just part of the fun.
It’s all about the coffee here. Just the names of the single origin coffees stocked here are hopelessly exotic: Ngogomo, Rugerero, Finca Matalapa. . . . Intelligentsia works directly with farmers all around the world to insure the quality of the beans. These people take coffee roasting seriously too, they roast the beans for their Los Angeles locations with an Ideal Gothot 40-kilo roaster in a facility in Glassell Park. All of this adds up to a cup of coffee boasting a taste that is exciting and reflects coffee excellence.
LAMILL Coffee (1636 Silver Lake Boulevard 90026)
Hours: Sun-Thurs–7am to 10pm, Fri-Sat–7am to 11pm
On Silver Lake Boulevard near the reservoir is LAMILL, another Silver Lake coffee-lover’s paradise. LAMILL is locally owned and is more of a full service joint, serving wine, fine food, and deserts as well as coffee. They have an interior dining area as well a series of outside tables. Don’t let the food options fool you! The LAMILL people also take their coffee to heart and treat the dark brew similarly to wine (right now they are selling Panama Esmeralda Baru Geisha coffee for $93 a pound!).
The menu offers coffee prepared in 7 ways: Clover, Chemex, Eva Solo, French Press, Hand Drip Iced Coffee, Japanese Hand Drip, and Siphon Brew. (Just figuring out what you are ordering is a course on high-end coffee preparation). In addition to those techniques, they offer a full arrange of espresso drinks and have artisan teas as well. Whew! Prices vary based on the type of coffee you choose (the Clover starts at $3.50).
This place is dedicated to quality; and this commitment shows in their food and beverages. There is no question that coffee is a very serious matter at LAMILL. They also have a store next to cafe that sells coffee, tea, and supplies.