10 Vegan-Friendly Coffee Shops for Getting Work Done in LA
Walk into any cafe in Los Angeles and you’re bound to see at least two people with their headphones in, typing away on a computer, drawing up designs on an iPad, or studying a dense textbook. Even for the portion of people working day jobs in LA, most people spend a good chunk of their time focused on their own endeavors, whether it be writing a script, running a blog, or producing a beat. Sure, the comfort of home is nice, but something about working in a new environment with total strangers, artsy drinks, and a fresh feng shui really sparks up the creative juices. That’s why we’ve got you covered on ten of LA’s best vegan-friendly coffee shops to work and study at!
RVCC Intersect is one of LA’s hidden gems. This spacious, cozily decorated collective combines coffee shop, barber shop, and tattoo shop all in one—but don’t worry, you won’t hear that commotion while you’re getting your work done. Entering the shop, you’re greeted by dark decor, a large wooden espresso bar with bar stools, plenty of outlets, and comfortable couch seating, as well as more traditional tabletops for reading and laptop work. They have a relatively straightforward coffee menu, including espresso, lattes, and drip coffee, along with a few tea options, such as a chai tea latte. One of the best parts about this place is they offer almond and oat milk at no extra charge! You really did just read that right. Visit RVCC Intersect for a relaxed vibe, chill music, kind service, plenty of open seating, and their signature lavender latte.
Alchemist Coffee Project
Surprisingly, K-Town may have more coffee shops per block than any other neighborhood in the city. While there’s definitely a handful worth visiting, Alchemist Coffee Project—located off of Vermont and Wilshire—boasts plentiful seating, heartwarming espresso, one-of-a-kind decor, and accommodating baristas. Offering soy milk, almond milk, and oat milk, they have a milk alternative to hit every coffee drinker’s sweet spot. Being that Koreatown is full of hardworking freelancers and students, Alchemist Coffee Project caters to the crowd by running extension cords to tables where there’s not an outlet nearby. They also pack a lot of seating into a relatively small space, giving you a likely chance of being able to nab a spot. This creatively-decorated coffee spot is perfect for those who thrive off the energy of bustling cafes, as Alchemist Coffee Project is normally vibrant with life.
Art & Science Cafe
Old Town Pasadena
Art and Science Cafe, located a few blocks East of the main strip, is a tight-knit coffee shop hosting modern decor laden with marble countertops and an emphasis on black and gold. Their menu is unique and perfected, with a focus on artistic lattes, such as their rose latte, hot chocolates, caffeine boosters, (e.g. their Military Latte, which combines espresso and Japanese matcha), and a variety of teas. Because they serve one of San Fran’s most trusted coffee roasters, Four Barrel, their espresso drinks don’t even need the bells and whistles to be enjoyed to the fullest. They offer tons of milk alternatives as well, including coconut milk, oat milk, soy milk, macadamia milk (a fruity favorite of mine), and almond milk—all at no extra charge. While seating is tight, there’s usually a couple of open spots, as well as free wifi, plenty of street parking, and even some outdoor seating! Swing by for cute latte art, a jolt of caffeine, and an afternoon work sesh.
Verve Coffee Roasters
Beverly Grove, DTLA, West Hollywood
This small chain is a prime example of a place that maintains its quality as they expand. With an aesthetic focused on open spaces, rustic wood decor, and clean designs, Verve Coffee Roasters might just be the perfect spot for those who work best in minimalist environments. For most of us, the reason we visit a cafe is to enjoy great coffee, and no doubt, Verve has that, but Verve also offers something unheard of by most other coffee shop s… fast wifi. Who would’ve thought? When it comes to coffee, Verve delivers in quality, as well as options; they offer soy milk, hemp milk, and house-made almond milk. And to cure your habit of nibbling away at food while you work, Verve has an impressive selection of vegan pastries, from lemon loaf slices to baked donuts. Now it’s a party—you, coffee, and a pastry! Visit one of their three locations across the city to get your minimalist coffee fix.
Bru is a hidden gem among the sea of over-hyped cafes of Los Feliz. This well-established coffee shop is a weekly staple among Los Feliz natives; walk in and you’ll see writers getting down on scripts, folks hanging out on the patio with their pups, and a quiet upstairs area for the real focused workers. The baristas here won’t look at you crazy when you ask for decaf; rather, they’re always in a mood to accommodate and spark up a conversation. Bru takes their craft seriously by making their syrups and concentrates from scratch, brewing loose leaf teas, serving a variety of single-origin pour-over coffees, and using Ritual coffee. They carry just about every non-dairy milk alternative a serious coffee connoisseur could ask for: Oatly oat milk, Califia Barista Blend almond milk, and soy milk. Plus, there’s a variety of vegan snacks to hold you over while you work, including granola, energy bars, and even cold meals from Clean South (one of LA’s biggest vegan comfort food vendors)! With options aplenty, friendly faces, great coffee, and a section of seating dedicated to those who need to get their study on, Bru is the perfect spot to visit when you need to get away from the hype and get some work done.
To the surprise of many, the San Gabriel Valley is quickly becoming dotted with note-worthy coffee and tea shops. While many are boba-focused cafes, some of them serve up coffee that competes with even the most hipster shops in the city. One to note is Cafe Roule, a cafe serving up organic tea, boba, and coffee in a minimalist environment, with clean white walls, wooden decor, and a cute grass wall. While it’s a tight space, they’ve figured out a way to fit a lot of seating in a comfortable manner, which is perfect, as they’re always pretty packed with students, making for a focused environment. Now let’s talk about drinks—they feature handcrafted milk teas, lattes and other espresso standards, and a variety of signature matcha drinks. Unlike most boba shops, Cafe Roule can make all of their milk teas (except the Hokkaido Milk Tea) vegan by replacing the “non-dairy creamer” with soy milk! See, contrary to the name, “non-dairy creamer” actually contains a milk derivative called sodium caseinate, which is essentially a milk protein. While most boba shops aren’t able to make their drinks without it, here, almost the whole menu is yours for the tasting. And in addition to drinks, as strange as it is, Cafe Roule offers some of the best french fries you can find in the city. So french fries, milk teas you can actually drink, and a studious environment? What are you waiting for?!
If you’re ever heading to or from LAX and looking for a coffee shop, Coffee Connection in Mar Vista—just a few miles away from LAX—is a great choice. With one of the largest seating areas, an adorable outdoor courtyard, complete with a lit up tree in the middle, mix match mugs, the ambiance is great. Plus, as far as drinks go, they’ve got a variety of nostalgic-flavored drinks, and every milk alternative in the game. The spacious and homey environment, vegan snacks and pastries, and unpretentious attitude make Coffee Connection a low-key getaway.
You’re probably thinking, “Joe Coffee sounds like some diner that has coffee in the name, but actually specializes in pancakes and breakfast sausages, while old and weak-brewed coffee sits on the burner for 2 hours,” but that couldn’t be further from the truth here. Joe Coffee is a little coffee shop located off of Lankershim that’s painted inside and out with art from one of their own employees, Phillipe Bourque, which will give you something to stare at for hours on end. On to the drinks: along with the usual coffee shop staples, Joe Coffee has something really special if you’ve got a sweet tooth. That’s because they combine syrups to create indulgent flavor combinations, such as a butter rum latte, red velvet latte, coconut latte, and much more. As far as milk alternatives go, they stays up to date with soy milk, almond milk, oat milk, macadamia milk, and, get this—chocolate hazelnut milk. Order that with your next iced latte for a creamy, rich, and sweet treat. While seating Joe Coffee is limited, there are outlets aplenty, artistic vibes, and enough options to make a vegan’s heart melt.
This coffee shop has stood the test of time in an area popping up with new coffee shops every other week. Cafe Vita holds their own for several reasons: they roast their own coffee, have some of the nicest baristas, have one of the largest seating areas around (complete with an upstairs area for serious workers), have plenty of outlets, and have a have a modern, but dark interior that allows the mind to stay focused on the tasks at hand. Besides the environment, particular attention to the cafe’s coffee is necessary though because unlike some other shops on the list, Cafe Vita doesn’t offer any flavored syrups. Instead, the focus remains on the flavor of their beans, which are so intently-crafted that you won’t miss the vanilla or mocha. For their milk-based drinks, they offer oat milk, rice milk, hemp milk, almond milk, and soy milk. With well-crafted coffee and a stoic environment, the hours will fly past you while you work away in Cafe Vita.
Nothing But Coffee
As mentioned before, Koreatown is filled to the brim with incredible coffee shops. Nothing But Coffee is another one of them to note. This impeccably-clean shop with light wooden decor, white walls, and light blue and gold accents has generous seating, meaning you should normally be able to nail down a spot in this medium-sized cafe. For drinks, their espresso drinks are crafted around Balrog Coffee, a new craft roastery native to the LA area. While their milk alternatives are simple (soy and almond), and the drinks being fairly stripped back overall as well, they do have a couple specialty drinks, like their Charcoal Latte, which can be made vegan. But what really makes Nothing But Coffee a standout is their hours. LA is full of people who are up at all hours of the day, so it’s a wonder why so many coffee shops close at 6pm. No worries though because this shop stays open all the way to 2am every day of the week! Nothing But Coffee’s fairly central location, late hours, and menu here make it a great spot for group work, collabs, and the like.
With so many cafes in the city, it can be hard to go through all the Yelp pages to see which have drinks worth your while, milk alternatives that suit your fancy, and ambiances that suit your taste, which is why we compiled this list to help make your search just a tad bit easier. We hope you’ve discovered a new coffee shop that may just be your next creative home-base.
Ryan is a cook, writer, and musician born and raised in Tampa, FL. With years of recipe testing for his Asian-American food blog, No Eggs or Ham, behind him, he strives to sharpen the image of vegan food by highlighting chefs who push the boundaries of plant-based cuisine. Unlike the advice your mom lent you, he encourages you to play with your food every chance you get!
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