10 places in Los Angeles to get a damn good cup of coffee

In the last few years Los Angeles has found its coffee roots. After a slow start the city is booming with exceptional baristas serving high quality beans. And that includes all the features coffee drinkers love: expensive machines, specific dairy options, local roasters, fair trade, and even vendors at farmers markets.

There is also a competition to create the perfect coffee experience. Shops are experimenting with interior design and culture programs – like banning laptops, offering no seating, and – in true LA spirit – wide open outdoor spaces.

This makes visiting the top ten coffee shops in Los Angeles a fun adventure. Here they are, from LA Weekly, with the address included – for more details on each shop read the full article.


1. Espresso Cielo – 3101 Main Street, Santa Monica

2. Balconi Coffee Company – 11301 W. Olympic Blvd #124, Los Angeles

3. Coffee Commissary – 801 N. Fairfax Ave., #106, Los Angeles

4. Farmers’ Markets – at the Crenshaw market, USC market, Hollywood Yamashiro market

5. Cafecito Organico – 2 locations in Los Angeles – 534 N. Hoover Street & 710 N. Heliotrope Drive

6. Spring for Coffee – 548 S. Spring Street, Los Angeles

7. CoffeeBar – 600 S. Spring St., Los Angeles

8. Intelligentsia – 3 locations:

  • 3922 West Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles
  • 1331 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice
  • 55 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena

9. Cognoscenti Coffee – 3156 Glendale Blvd, Los Angeles

10. Cafe de Leche – 5000 York Boulevard, Los Angeles


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The Zero Waste coffee maker

One of the keys to living Zero Waste is to find those genius products that reduce your waste and offer a superior product. I’ve found just that for my coffee and it’s called the Moka.

I like this coffee maker because there are no filters to change or pods to throw out. There are only a few moving parts and it lasts forever (4 years and counting). In fact, it is such a genius design that it was first patented in 1933 and hasn’t changed all that much. Over 200 million of them have been sold, making it one of the most popular coffee makers ever.

Here it is:


It comes in several sizes and starts at $20 for the 1-cup version. This is the one my family uses because it serves one person perfectly. We occasionally run into trouble when two people need coffee at the same time, and there is a 3-cup version for only $22. Which sounds like a good deal, but maybe not.

If you’re going to buy one, start with the 1-cup version. If you find that everyone is wanting coffee at the same time (this rarely happens in my household) then go for the bigger one. We actually own both but never use the larger one. Whenever we did a lot of coffee would be wasted and we would always switch back to the 1-cup.

Now, for those coffee experts out there, comes the taste. In my opinion, the Moka offers a superior taste and consistency to any other home coffee maker on the market. The coffee is a blend between drip and espresso, giving it a creamy consistency with a little extra water that enhances the flavor. The only thing that beats it is a professionally prepared espresso, though, many times I find those are inferior as well (the quality depends on the barista).

The Moka is a heat based system, meaning you will have to put it on your stove. The process of setting it up is real easy. You unscrew the bottom and add water and coffee. Screw it back together and then put it on the stove. The water will steam up and then shoot through the coffee (like espresso) as it rises and then condensing in the top. During which a nice smell of coffee will waft through the house and it is ready to serve when the bubbling sound stops (like popcorn in a microwave!).

I have fallen in love with my little Moka and I bet you will too. It is the perfect Zero Waste coffee machine for the eco-minded, or even the coffee snob. And, for the price it can’t be beat.

Travel writing – visiting the tiny island of Giglio, a wrecked cruise ship in the harbor and old-time Tuscany in the villages

(Filippo Monteforte / AFP/Getty Images / June 8, 2012)


GIGLIO ISLAND, Italy — My ferry was full of school groups, delivery trucks and tourists when we left the Tuscan port of Santo Stefano and headed toward the island of Giglio, 12 miles away. I sat on deck with the other foreigners, enjoying the spring sunshine: It was too cold for the Italians, who huddled downstairs drinking espressos.

And then, Giglio’s white cliffs appeared in the distance and gradually grew closer.

Except that there are no white cliffs on this granite island. I was looking at the wreck of the Costa Concordia, which ran aground Jan. 13 just outside Giglio’s harbor.

As the ferry whipped past, my eyes were drawn to the great wreck, which lay on its side with a long, rusty gash in its hull. It name was inscribed on a white bow towering above the water. The ship was so close to the tiny harbor, massive and modern and incongruous.

Giglio is known around the world because of the Concordia, but I was hoping to see a Giglio that was not defined by the disaster in which 32 passengers and crew died. Thirty-five years ago, my husband, Mike, lived on Giglio for several months, shortly after its inhabitants gave up mining granite and pyrite and abandoned self-sufficient agriculture in favor of tourism. He remembers an unspoiled family vacation island, little known outside Italy, where affluent Romans (plus a handful of foreigners such as Los Angeles political power broker Stanley Sheinbaum) spent their summers in apartments or second homes.


Keep readingLife returning to normal on Giglio Island after Costa Concordia


Continue reading Travel writing – visiting the tiny island of Giglio, a wrecked cruise ship in the harbor and old-time Tuscany in the villages

Preparación del mejor espresso

El Molido es esencial

El molido ideal resultará en un flujo lento y constante de espresso en el vaso. Si es demasiado grueso, el espresso se filtrará liviano y poco concentrado. Muy fino, el café goteará, una gota amarga a la vez.

Para unidades de presión más baja lo ideal us un molido extra fino, con textura granulosa. La textura apropriada se puede obtener con cualquier molinillo económico.

Las unidades de alta presión con calidad comercial requieren un molido más fino con textura similar al polvo. Este se obtiene más fácilmente con un molido de café especializado tipo placa.

Algunas variaciones en el molido hacen una gran diferencia en el resultado, y el café molido fino se pone rancio rápidamente. Para obtener los mejores resultados se recomienda moler los granos justo antes de preparar el café. Si usas café en grano, solamente comprá la cantidad a utilizar para unos pocos días.

Podemos proporcionarte una muestra de café molido para que uses de referencia al moler los granos en tu casa.

Definir la dosis

La dosis correcta prácticamente llena el filtro permitiendo sólo un pequeña puede causar que el café salga impetuosamente y no de la manera adecuada: lenta y uniforme.


Apisonado se refiere a la cantidad de presión con que se empacan los granos de espresso en el filtro. Si el café molido se empaca firmemente, el agua fluye lentamente a través del mismo, asegurando una completa extracción del sabor.

Si el agua parece filtrarse muy rápidamente, aún con un apisonado firme, necesitarás utilizar un grano más fino. De manera inversa, si tu máquina no proporciona un buen flujo, tratá de usar un molido más grueso.

Velocidad de vertido

En condiciones ideales, una carga sencilla de espresso deberiá producir 30 ml de bebida en unos 20 segundos; una carga doble resultaría en 60 ml de bebida en la misma cantidad de tiempo pero con el doble de grano molido.

Se recomienda experimentar con el molido, la dosis y la presión de apisonado hasta lograr la mejor velocidad de flujo y el mejor sabor.

Menos con más

El error más común al preparar un espresso es usar un café molido en exceso. Resultando una bebida que parece un café colado fuerte, no un café espresso auténtico.

Máquinas de espresso para uso en el hogar

Si te apasiona el café espresso, o te gusta beber un cappuccino puro cada día, considerá invertir en una máquina y un molido de calidad profesional. Si preferís un espumoso café latte, las máquinas más económicas se ajustarán bien a tus necesidades.

Las cafeteras y las máquinas para preparar “cappuccino” en el hogar funcionan a presión y no incluyen ni bombas ni pistones. Sirven para preparar un café fuerte, pero no producen la presión necesaria para preparar un auténtico espresso. Además, tienen poca capacidad para preparar leche al vapor.

Photos by: Laughing Squid (red sign), John (blue bottle), OliBac (three beans)