There’s no point denying it: Aussies are coffee snobs, and that’s because we get it so, so right. You never appreciate a good cup of coffee more than when you leave the country, but if you’re heading to LA (Coachella, anyone?!), you’re in luck. Australian cafes are popping up all over the place, run by expats-slash-flat-white-fiends who couldn’t stand the thought of sipping on one more dirty dishwater coffee.
When you hop off the plane, skip Starbucks and cure your jet lag with a cheeky lamington and an Aussie coffee in LA.
76 South La Brea Ave, La Brea 12186 Ventura Blvd, Studio City
Welcome to America’s newest coffee cult: Bluestone Lane. When the owner, Nick Stone, moved to NYC in 2014, he couldn’t find a cafe that measured up to Melbourne’s, so he opened his own. Fast forward to today, and there are cafes dotted all over New York, Pennsylvania and Cali, including two in LA: La Brea and Studio City (with Santa Monica coming soon). Both locations are beautiful and sun-drenched, with tons of plants, outdoor seating, and high ceilings that are the pinnacle of luxury after being cooped up in a plane for a hundred hours. They serve up Bluestone’s signature coffee blend, as well as cold-pressed juices, pastries, smoothie bowls, baked eggs, and of course, avo smash.
1814 Berkley St, Santa Monica
If Bondi had a sister suburb in LA, it’d be Santa Monica – and that’s where you’ll find this gem. The duo behind Bondi Harvest, chef Guy Turland and designer Mark Alston, were kind of a big deal Down Under (think YouTube channels and cookbooks), and now they’re making waves on the West Coast. The rustic-chic café has a surfy vibe to suit its location, and the menu to match. The coffee is courtesy of Aussie roaster, Vittoria, and the food is fresh, local and seasonal. Roll off the sand and stay for brunch, and dig into the famous Caveman Bowl with cauliflower rice, kale, turmeric quinoa, fermented veggies, fried egg, hummus and bacon, because you’re only human. Or, try the ‘tartine’ (what us Aussies would call toast), stacked with grilled haloumi, avo and honey.
714A S Los Angeles St, Los Angeles
In gritty-meets-pretty downtown LA, this bakery is go-to for homesick Aussies and travellers swinging through the City of Angels. After moving to LA, Sydneysider Samantha Bryan opened it when she was craving a good coffee and a perfectly chunky meat pie, and couldn’t get her fix anywhere. That was in 2013, and Bronzed Aussie is still buzzing – once, Hugh Jackman left a Hollywood film set to rush there for a cup of coffee. When movie stars come a-knockin’, you know it’s good. Meat pies aside, the bakery whips up chicken and veggie versions (the spinach and fetta is delish), plus sausage rolls, custard tarts and lamingtons. If you can’t get enough of the nostalgia, there’s also fish n’ chips on offer. Grab a bite ‘to go’, and then wander around to check out the street art.
Top tip: The Bronzed Aussie gets its beans from Longshot Coffee, a mobile espresso bar that cruises around caffeinating LA. And guess what – it’s owned by an Aussie!
1604 Pacific Ave, Venice
After a swim or sunbaking session at Venice Beach, stroll up the sand to Great White, where sandy feet and salty-skinned, bikini-clad customers are always welcome. Sitting pretty under the ‘Venice’ sign, the chilled café is fairly new, but has built up a loyal following of Aussie celebs, expats and visitors. It serves up coffee, smoothies and speciality drinks, like matcha and charcoal lattes (it is LA, after all). It also has great brunchy food, like housemade granola, breakfast burritos and corn fritters. Come lunchtime, there are grain bowls, salads and insanely good fish tacos, but if you’re ravenous (or nursing a hangover), the juicy burger or fried chicken sandwich will sort you out. Oh, and for a real taste of home, order a good old Bundaberg beer.
Ministry of Coffee
1010 Glendon Ave, Westwood, Los Angeles
If you live in Sydney, you might have spotted Ministry of Coffee in Rose Bay or Pyrmont. And if you like your coffee strong, you’re probably besties with the barista. The café blends Australian and Turkish traditions, and brews up local, organic and ‘robust’ coffee beans – in other words, this is a cup that will jolt you awake! It also serves up comfort food that’ll remind you of home, like raisin toast, banana bread, and poached eggs with hash browns, smoked salmon, rocket and avocado salsa. To switch up your coffee, the iced latte is heaven on a scorching LA day, the mocha is made with fancy Belgian chocolate, and the affogato is a pleasure we refuse to feel guilty about.
Paramount Coffee Project
456 N Fairfax Ave, Fairfax, Los Angeles
Nestled in LA’s Fairfax Village, the guys behind Paramount Coffee Project (which also has a shop in Sydney’s Surry Hills) know their shit. They scout the best beans from around the world, and will brew your coffee just how you like it, whether that’s as simple as a skinny cap or flat white, or a little out of the box, like a vanilla bean latte or espresso spritzer. For your second bevvy, try the pumpkin pie hot chocolate or – wait for it – a Vegemite milkshake. Sweetened with butterscotch, you’ll either love it or hate it. For an adventure that is guaranteed to be a good time, order the lamington-stuffed French toast or the Dirty Bird chicken sanga.
Top tip: Vegetarian? Pop into Pollen, an Aussie espresso bar in Echo Park. It dishes up housemade English muffins, lemon and poppyseed pancakes, and a ‘vegan benedict’ that hits the spot.
4155 Verdugo Rd, Glassell Park
You ripper! This local haunt is the perfect place for that post-festival debrief – and they have JAFFLES! Trust us, after spending a weekend dancing in the desert, there’s nothing better than digging into that cheesy, crispy goodness. Or the ‘Nutty Nana’, a jaffle stuffed with sliced banana and lashings of warm Nutella. The coffee is up to our sky-high standards, and our fave is the lavender-almond milk latte, a rich, caramel-y concoction that is a meal in itself.
1523 Griffith Park Blvd, Silver Lake, Los Angeles
Just off Sunset Boulevard, this Australian coffee house just flung open its doors this month, and it’s already a smash success. It’s as cute as you imagine, with pops of millennial pink and terrace tables that bask in the sunshine. The food is fresh, simple and hints at home: think macadamia granola with edible flowers, salted caramel smoothies, and toast topped with sweet and savoury delights. But the menu’s shining star is fairy bread. Hi, what’s up, your carefree childhood is calling!
Featured images belong to lichipan.
Words by Katia Iervasi.