We all know coffee is a big deal in Latin America. It’s so deeply embedded in Latin culture that coffee-related metaphors pepper our conversations on everything from race to sex; so important to us that iconic songs are written about it. And since countries like Costa Rica, Colombia, and Guatemala export some of the boldest, most flavorful beans in the world, there is no shortage of places to get a good cup here in LA. So hit play on the homie Juan Luis Guerra’s classic and check out five LA coffee shops where you can get a good cafecito.

Tierra Mia Coffee

Tierra Mia takes the process of coffee roasting to a whole new level—they take the time to roast virgin green beans in their own shop. Their coffee drinks reflect the extra love put into them. You can literally taste the difference in beverages like the Cubano con Leche. At Tierra Mia you will find a drinks that are the perfect combination between quality coffee and Latin flair. Their signature drinks are as tasty as they are unique—think Mocha Mexicano, Horchata Frappe, and Mojito Mint Lemonade. Both locations, the one in Echo Park and the one in the downtown area, carry an impressive array of baked goods to match the diverse coffee-based beverages. Their pastries like the Tres Leches muffin, Guave Cheese Streusel, and Piña Colada muffin, also achieve a seamless balance between the quotidian and the Latin.

Tierra Mia Echo Park
1201 N. Alvarado St.
Los Angeles, CA

Downtown
653 S. Spring St.
Los Angeles, CA

Café de Leche

Located in the heart of Highland Park, the café itself feels warm and bright, as it is adorned with brick walls and big panel windows that allow for lots of light to come in. The constant hustle-and-bustle of the shop combined with its industrial, modern décor creates an atmosphere where you can work, grab a cup of coffee, or simply hang-out. It’s not rare to see local celebrity musicians forming new beats over their signature drink, Horchata over espresso. At Café de Leche you can always find an eclectic mix of families, artists, and traditional Latin culture. This mentality of a café being more than a pit stop for coffee is reminiscent of coffee shops in Latin America, where a coffee shop often doubles as the local neighborhood joint.

Café de Leche
500 York Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA

La Monarca

Don’t be fooled be the tiny size of this café located on the corner of Wilshire in Santa Monica. This quaint and cozy shop has a huge menu. Their coffee menu is extensive with offerings like Café Oaxaca (espresso with Mexican chocolate and milk) and Café San Cristobal (café americano with Mexican chocolate, half & half and whipped cream). The food items on their menu offer a broad scope of things from the traditional Mexican Molletes to the Quiche de Chorizo, and the Vegetarian Chorizo Sandwich. There is an impressive array of funky desserts to match the savory plates, like the Dulce de Leche Empanadas and Dulce de Leche Pudding. La Monarcha, is aptly named as the coffee shop reigns supreme when it comes to quantity, as there is plenty to choose from.

La Monarca
1300 Wilshire Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA

Cafecito Organico

Guatemalan born Angel Orozco opened the first Cafecito Organico in 2004. The concept was simple– to develop direct relationships with sustainable coffee producers in Central America in order to buy the best quality beans available. Since then, Cafecito Organico has opened multiple locations in Malibu, Silver Lake, and Venice (inside of TOMS café) and Orozco now works with coffee growers all over Latin America. The café goes by mottos like “hecho a mano,” meaning, “made by hand” referring to the fact that they do their own bean roasting and “café o muerte,” or “coffee or death” suggesting how seriously they take the coffee making process.

Silver Lake
524 N. Hoover St.
Los Angeles, CA

Guelaguetza

Although technically not a coffee shop, this Oaxacan restaurant makes its way on the list for its impressive list of coffee and hot drinks. Their Oaxacan drinks are reminiscent of something The Aztecs would drink (cocoa and coffee were considered the drinks of the gods in the Aztec culture). They have various Atole drinks, which is a traditional Mexican drink made from corn dough. They also serve customary Mexican coffee called Café de Olla, where coffee is brewed to perfection in a pan, and then mixed with cinnamon. Even for L.A. it is hard to match the authenticity of these conventional Mexican caffeinated drinks.

Guelaguetza
3014 W Olympic Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA