It’s no secret that Koreatown is a mecca for coffee in Los Angeles. Fortunately for us, this healthy competition for the best drips and brews in town has us finding a new place to love every week. And when you’re drowning in a city filled with hustle and bustle, sometimes all you really need is a refuge – a safe haven to grab a cup o’ joe, crack open a laptop, and just soak in the ambiance.
Here are our top 10 favorite coffee shops to study/work in L.A.’s very own Koreatown. (Note: at the time of writing, all cafes offer WiFi and have outlets for you to plug-in when the juice is getting low.)
1. Document Coffee Bar
One of the more highly sought-after cafes in this neighborhood, Document Coffee Bar offers an environment to help get those creative juices flowing with communal tables and a clean layout.
Pro tip: They also carry OATLY for you oat milk fans! If you’re lucky enough to find a seat, we recommend ordering the house special: Document Latte.
Parking: Free with a large lot in the back. Close to the Wilshire/Western Metro station (Purple Line).
2. Alchemist Coffee Project
A bustling cafe that’s seen plenty of changes over the years, Alchemist Coffee Project has risen to the top of the crop with its consistently great coffee, delightful special drinks, and food offerings (for those study sessions that unexpectedly extend past lunch time!).
With a warm and inviting setting, grab a chair and try the Alchemist Shake, a blended coffee drink that’ll put frappuccinos to shame and have you feeling like this may be one of the best coffee shops around.
Parking: Small lot, free before 10:30am. After that, be prepared to pay $2 for valet. Close to the Wilshire/Vermont Metro station (Red/Purple Line).
3. Balcony Coffee and Tea
We love this place for the service, alone! But that aside, Balcony Coffee and Tea is somewhat of an enchanted cafe with a cozy, rustic garden feel – a real hidden treasure in Koreatown.
Try their Brad Pitt (yes, you heard that right). It’s one of their signatures and always a fave for this coffee addict.
Parking: Free small lot in a strip mall. 5-10 minute walk from the Wilshire/Western Metro station (Purple Line).
4. Sharp Specialty Coffee
Sharp Specialty Coffee is one of those “just right” coffee shops. Soothing ambience, excellent drinks. not too loud, not too quiet… we could go on! The only downside is that everyone else in K-Town seems to love it too, so seating can be tricky. But if you’re able to enjoy some time here, try their Spanish Latte.
Parking: Street parking is your best bet, but if you do go Metro, it’s located equidistant from Wilshire/Normandie and Wilshire/Vermont stations (Purple Line).
5. Urban Cate
We are big fans of Urban Cate. This two-story cafe has a clean and modern aesthetic with a touch of luxury, and let’s not ignore the fact that the second floor also opens up into a spacious and refreshing balcony.
With tableside service, it’s easy to lounge for hours and order more than one beverage while you click-clack away on your laptop. If that’s the case for you, definitely start with their coffee soda – it’s top notch!
Parking: Small valet lot for $2. 5-10 minute walk from the Wilshire/Normandie Metro station (Purple Line).
6. Awesome Coffee
If you’re the type to be more productive at night, Awesome Coffee might be the place for you.
One of the few places open past midnight (closed at 2am), this coffee shop sits atop the second level of a small strip mall and always has a seat available when you need it.
We recommend their affogato – it hits the spot!
Parking: Free large lot in a strip mall, but may be limited as it gets full from neighboring businesses. Close to the Wilshire/Western Metro station (Purple Line).
7. Have Some Coffee
Another cozy little coffee shop, Have Some Coffee has some unique and memorable drinks on their menu that’ll keep you well-caffeinated and focused on your work at hand. We like coming here for shorter study sessions as a means to refuel and recharge before we’re back on-the-go.
If you visit, try their signature Military Latte.
Parking: Free large lot, but limited to 2 hours. 5-10 minute walk from the Wilshire/Western Metro station (Purple Line).
8. Sunday Morning
If you’re the type that needs peace and quiet to get work done, Sunday Morning is the place for you. This cafe is entirely conducive to a peaceful atmosphere and has an environment best described as “Instagrammable”…not a bad thing, in the slightest!
Their drink menu offers lots to choose from and oat milk is also served here. Space can be limited, but if you find a seat, order their Strawberry Mocha Latte.
Parking: Garage lot in the back, $2 to park. Between Wilshire/Normandie and Wilshire/Vermont station, though slightly closer to the latter.
9. Design Cafe Dabang
One of the more casual and cool coffee shops on this list, Design Cafe Dabang is a go-to for when we’re in the mood to work someplace mellow. It’s more of a hidden gem in the outskirts of Koreatown, but we make this trek because the coffee is excellent, the ambience is chill, and we love the creative flow of this space.
The Dabang Latte is our go-to.
Parking: Street parking in a largely residential area.
10. Second Round
What sets Second Round apart from most other coffee shops is their offering of beverages on-tap (cold brew, nitro, and kombucha), though these tend to change every so often. That aside, it makes for a great environment to study as crowds are minimal and the interior is clean and modern.
As for drinks, we recommend the Creme Cafe Latte.
Parking: Free small lot, but $2 valet in the evening. 5-10 minute walk from the Wilshire/Western Metro station (Purple Line).
11. Caffe Bene Wilshire
Once a dominant chain in the industry, we’re seeing this business slowly disappearing across the city. However, one location still stands strong in Koreatown and we can’t deny that we frequent it quite often out of convenience and familiarity. Caffe Bene Wilshire has an industrial aesthetic with lots of room, plenty of outlets, and the luxury of a quiet second level space.
As for our recommendation, go against the grain and try their Misugaru (multigrain powder) Latte.
Parking: Small lot in the back for valet parking, marked at around $2-3 with validation (though we’ve heard reports of varying prices here, so YMMV).
Best Coffee Shops in Koreatown
Really, the best coffee shop in Koreatown can be based on number of personal factors unique to you.
Are there any on this list you thoroughly enjoy? Or is there another coffee shop in Koreatown that deserves to be dubbed ‘the best’? Leave a comment and let us know!