It's Boba Time Best Boba in koreatown

8 Boba Shops In Koreatown That Are Worth A Visit

Blog, Boba, Drinks, Guide

By now, you should already know what “boba” is. Otherwise known as bubble tea, it’s a chewy tapioca ball that sinks to the bottom of your favorite beverage, offering a fun and addictive “eat-while-you-drink” experience.

Best Boba in Koreatown, CA

While the best boba drinks are often found in the San Gabriel Valley, Los Angeles offers its own impressive and growing number of options for when a trip out east is a little too daunting for you. Here are some of our favorite places to go when we’re in dire need of a boba fix:

Kung Fu Tea

Kung Fu Tea Best Boba in Koreatown CA

From the moment you step into the store, you’re embraced with that freshly-made boba aroma. Kung Fu Tea has a wide variety of drinks that are consistently great, and the boba itself is always chewy and sweet. They also have a check-in offer (on Yelp) and an app to rack up points for free drinks. If you visit, we recommend their Wintermelon Tea Cap.

Parking: There is a small lot in this strip mall, but spaces are hard to come by on busy days. 5-10 min walk from Wilshire/Western Metro station (Purple Line).

Gong Cha

Best boba koreatown gong cha

One of the great hallmarks of Gong Cha (aside from its omnipresence in Asia and So-Cal) is its limitless options to customize your drink. You’ll make a decent hole in your wallet trying all the possible ways to have your boba. There’s also a FiveStar Rewards program to put your boba addiction spending towards some free drinks. Hard to pick a favorite, but we recommend the Brown Sugar Milk Tea.

Parking: Garage lot in the back (enter on Oxford), you get 1-hour free with validation. Right outside the Wilshire/Western Metro station (Purple Line).

I Love Boba

I Love Boba Koreatown CA

This little shop holds a special place in our hearts because it’s one of the few boba places where you can actually sit and work due to its relaxed ambience and roominess. The drinks are no-frills, but the boba quality is definitely not bad either. Ask for a stamp card and get a free drink after 9 stamps. Try their Taro Smoothie, it’s one of our go-to’s.

Parking: Large parking lot, but can get crowded as this mall is packed with great restaurants. In the evenings, you can valet for $2. 5-10 min walk from Wilshire/Western Metro station (Purple Line).

It’s Boba Time

It's Boba Time Best Boba in koreatown

Some might consider It’s Boba Time the reigning king of boba in Koreatown – it’s been there for so long now that it’s become a default boba go-to for many folks out there. If consistency and variety are important to you, you may find yourself at home here. We like to order one of their classics – Jasmine Green Tea.

Parking: There’s a small lot right outside where you can typically valet for $1-2, but if you let them know you won’t be long to pick up a drink, you can park for free. 5 min walk from Wilshire/Normandie Metro station (Purple Line).

Tan-Cha

Tan Cha Boba Koreatown

Tan-Cha is another boba success story, with humble beginnings opening its first store in Rowland Heights back in 2017. Today, you’ll find a number of locations throughout California, one of which sits in the heart of Koreatown! And for a shop that boasts specialties in tiramisu milk tea and cheese foam drinks, you should do yourself a favor and give one or the other a try.

Parking: Street parking is your primary option here. 5-10 min walk from Wilshire/Normandie or Wilshire/Vermont Metro Stations (Purple/Red Line).

Snow Monster

Snow Monster Boba Koreatown CA

If you’re looking for an Instagram-worthy boba shop, you’ve found it in Snow Monster! Drinks can be upgraded into reusable glass jars in novelty shapes that make the experience a whole lot more “grammable”. But it doesn’t stop at boba – they’ve got ice cream and cotton candy to have every sweet tooth covered. We recommend their Thai Milk Tea, and if you’re in the mood, a scoop of that taro ice cream, too!

Parking: There’s a free lot in the back (enter through Alexandria or Kenmore), but later turns into valet parking after 4pm. 5 min walk from Wilshire/Normandie Metro Station (Purple Line).

Mr. Boba

Mr Boba in Koreatown Los Angeles

With two prime locations and ample menu items to boast, Mr. Boba is a homerun for those sudden cravings, a quick pit stop after eating with friends, or after a late-night show at the Wiltern. With plenty of seating, board games, and a loyalty stamp card, you can bet we’ve been here more times than we’re willing to admit! Our personal favorites are their smoothies and juices – definitely consider ordering one if you’re stopping in.

Parking: Free parking in a gated, private lot. 5 min walk from Wilshire/Western Metro Station (Purple Line).

Sweetea Bar

Sweetea Bar Best Boba Los Angeles

A cozy little cafe located at the edge of K-Town, we are fans for the atmosphere alone. Sweetea Bar offers a simple and natural selection of teas that truly upgrade your boba-drinking experience and always come out tasting fantastic. Their Rose Petal Milk Tea has got us hooked, it’s a must-try when visiting this quaint spot.

Parking: Free private parking lot. 5 min walk from Wilshire/Vermont Metro Station (Purple Line).

Honorable Boba Mention

Boba Guys

Boba Guys Los Angeles

Boy, are we a sucker for Boba Guys. Originally from the Bay Area, this hip shop made its way down south and opened up two locations here in Los Angeles. (Lucky us!) While it’s technically not within the confines of Koreatown, we’re willing to stretch the boundaries a bit because we love the creative specialty drinks here. They’ve perfected the art of making boba down to a science, and we’re all the more grateful for it. If you can’t decide on what to get here, the Strawberry Matcha Latte (with Oat Milk) is a favorite we can’t get away from.

Parking: Street parking is the way to go here. Not exactly close to a Metro station, so an Uber/Lyft or a bus ride would be your best option!

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Hemp Seeds Plant Based Food

Superfoods: Are Hemp Seeds The Next Ingredient To Shake Up 2020?

Blog, Food, Info Blog, Meatless, superfoods, Vegan

Hemp and CBD. Both have been bubbling atop a booming industry that’s just waiting to burst. However, many remain hesitant due to the stigma associated with getting “high” if ingested. Though not the case whatsoever with hemp seeds, it remains in the back of the minds of many.

The overwhelming enthusiasm for hemp took place back in 2018 when a Farm Bill passed legalizing the commercial production of hemp. This cracked open the door for larger production of the crop, as long as specific state and federal barriers are cleared, of course. 

Hemp Seeds: Plant-Based Superfoods

Hemp Seeds Plant Based Food

Currently, one of the major attractions associated with hemp is its natural profile and unique ability to follow current and future trends including plant-based, grain-free and other diets that are emerging.

Hemp seeds are high in protein, amounting to double the amount found in chia or flax seed. Vitamin E, Omega-3 and -6? Yeah, they’re in there, too. Heck, it actually lacks a number of known allergens and is low in carbs. 

Basically, hemp seeds are high and rich in healthy fats and fatty acids that are essential for the body. 

The Benefits That Come With Hemp Seeds

Did you know that eating hemp seeds can potentially reduce your risk in getting heart disease. Why is that? Hemp seeds contain a significant amount of amino acid arginine, which produces nitric oxide in your body. This gas molecule induces relaxation upon your blood vessels while dilating them. This leads to lower blood pressure, thus resulting in a reduced risk in heart disease. 

Skin Disorders

Studies suggest your immune system depends on a proper balance of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. As mentioned prior, hemp seeds are an ideal source of polyunsaturated and fatty acids that are essential.

From dry skin to eczema, hemp seeds can reduce the need for skin medication and relieve dry skin. 

Plant Based Proteins

Hemp Seed ingredients are good for you

Protein takes about 25% of the calories in hemp seeds, which is high. By weight, hemps seeds provide amounts of proteins that are similar to beef and lamb.

A complete protein resource is a rare thing in the plant kingdom, and hemp seeds prove to be that source that’s needed for those waning off typical meats into the plant-based food world. 

PMS & Menopause Symptom Reduction

Physical and emotional symptoms resulting from PMS are likely caused by sensitivity to hormone prolactin. GLA, or gamma-linolenic acid, found in hemp seeds, produces a chemical that reduces the effects of prolactin. Because hemp seeds are high in GLA, studies have indicated that hemp seeds can reduce symptoms of menopause, too!

Hemp Seeds Healthy? Yes. Hemp Seeds Tasty? No.

Granted, hemp seeds aren’t necessarily packed with flavor and consumers aren’t currently in a rush to sprinkle them in their cereal or atop their favorite salads. Instead, companies like Manitoba Harvest, incorporate hemp seeds in granola bars and other easier-to-eat formats. 

Hemp Yeah! Let’s give hemp seeds a shot.

hemp seeds superfood meatless

Overall, hemp seems appear to be extremely healthy for you. They may be one of the few “superfoods” out there that can be worthy of withstanding the test of time. Hemp is confidently in play for food in the future!

Have you tried hemp seeds? Oils? In a tea or coffee mixture? Or, are hemp seeds sailing away with the wind and non-worthy of being called a superfood?

Let us know your thoughts!

Budget Bites in Los Angeles: Koreatown Plaza

Blog, budget bites, Food, Guide

We don’t need to explain how tough it can be as a middle-income earner living and surviving in Los Angeles. With housing prices on the constant rise with gas doing the same, searching for food and reaching deeper into your wallet can become less and less appealing. Eating is crucial.. and so is saving money!

Fear not, fellow food seeker! Cause there are, and always will be, budget friendly bites in Los Angeles and all throughout the greater Los Angeles region! In this article we’ll cover one of our favorite local spots in Koreatown, the Koreatown Plaza food court

Koreatown Plaza, Los Angeles, CA

Located on the southeast corner of Western and James M.Wood, Koreatown Plaza is not only a mall, but it’s a place for people to hang and chill, bro. On those hot summer days, visitors crowd around the central water fountain and bask within the Plaza’s ice-cold AC system.

los angeles budget bites koreatown eats

I’d like to tell you to just travel head first directly into H-Mart on a Saturday around lunchtime, avoid eye contact with anyone and just hit those sample rows.. Or go into Bosco Bakery, get a decadent sweet or savory pastry and people watch.. but that’s too easy and isn’t necessarily budget friendly eating! We’ll talk about H-Mart and Bosco Bakery [mini choc-cakes are fire bruh] another time. 

The food court highlights a solid selection of Korean as well a few additional Asian dishes that are worth a try when you’re eating on a budget!

Though not hip nor chic, while you eat underneath hazy yellow lights and a lack of decor, the establishment shouldn’t be overlooked, definitely iconic and has been in Koreatown for decades. Business owners have come and gone, however, a few spots have withstood all of the latest food trend waves and always changing Los Angeles landscape while holding their ground. 

Here, we’ve highlighted budget bites in Los Angeles, two of which happen to be our favorites in Koreatown Plaza: Tonkatsu House & Pho 2000

Tonkatsu House

Hands down, one our favorite spots in the Koreatown Plaza food court. For around $8, you get a piece of tonkatsu that can easily feed 2-3 people. With it, you receive a mac salad, greens and some rice. The tonkatsu is layered with breading that’s crisp, a juicy inside and a sauce you’ll happily smother all over your sides.

Match that with sweet staff members and Hawaiian decor, and your boy’ll be burpin’ out an Alo-Ha at the end of the meal! Truly, a budget eat win that you can eat for lunch tomorrow!

Pho 2000

Often overlooked due to the ‘new-wave’ options and traditional KTP food court staples, Pho 2000 is consistent, tastes amazing and falls completely in-line within the budget bite family. What I love about these spots is the shareability with low price points. A bowl of their house Pho will cost you a little under $8. Yes, that’s what we call a budget friendly bite!

The portion size is phenomenal and can easily be eaten and shared between two adults. Solid, quality Pho that’s prepared well and served relatively quick. 

Pro Koreatown Plaza Tip: Water is served basically at every eatery, however, you’ll need to order to receive a cup!
Pro Pro Koreatown Plaza Tip: There are bathrooms located directly outside of the food court if the bathrooms within aren’t to your plaza standards.

So, have you been to Koreatown Plaza? What’s your favorite spot in the food court? Let us know your thoughts about eating on a budget in Los Angeles!

The Rise of Meatless: Beyond Meat And Impossible Food Inc.

Blog, Burgers, Food, Meatless, Vegan

When it comes to food consumption in the United States, it seemed like there was a period of time where it didn’t matter what we put into our bodies. To add to that notion, as humans, we’ve neglected our environment and the creatures living within its beauty. 

With more and more consumers becoming health-conscious, keen on where their food is coming from and continuing to seek food options that don’t harm animals nor our environment, companies like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods provided us all with the Meatless meat options that changed how food is produced and what we eat. These companies have busted down the doors that were often clogged with ground or angus beef and provide people seeking plant-based substitutes, or Meatless Meat, as a replacement.

Wait, did we say plant-based meats?! Call the cops, meatless is on the horizon! These aren’t your typical old-school veggie burgers, that’s for sure!

Beyond Meat & Impossible Food Inc.

Let’s take a quick look at today’s two biggest competitors, the fast-food chains that have invested in them, companies jumping on the meatless bandwagon and if Meatless Meat is simply a facade or here to stay.

Beyond Meat

Beyond Meat Burger Patty Plant Based

Founded by Ethan Brown in 2009, Beyond Meat is Los Angeles based and produces plant-based meat substitutes. The product officially became available to consumers in the United States in 2013.

Beyond Meat made waves in 2016 by releasing the first plant-based burger to be sold in the meat section of common groceries stores, including internationally. 

They develop and manufacture a number of protein-based food products and offer vegan meat substitutes made from mixtures of pea protein isolates, mung bean protein, rice protein, coconut oil, canola oil and a range of vitamins and minerals. Potato starch, apple extract, and pomegranate powder are also found within these mixtures.

What Exactly Are Beyond Meat’s Meatless Burgers Made Of?

Beyond Meat Burger Meatless

Let’s be real. Beyond Burger looks and tastes like beef and even bleeds like one! It’s made without GMOs, soy or gluten. Here’s are the ingredients:

“Water, Pea Protein Isolate, Expeller-Pressed Canola Oil, Refined Coconut Oil, Rice Protein, Natural Flavors, Cocoa Butter, Mung Bean Protein, Methylcellulose, Potato Starch, Apple Extract, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Vinegar, Lemon Juice Concentrate, Sunflower Lecithin, Pomegranate Fruit Powder, Beet Juice Extract (for color).”

Beyond Meat Distribution, Product and International Market

Beyond Meat Kentucky Fried Chicken Nuggets

The company claims have 27,000 different points of distribution throughout the U.S. In July of 2019, Beyond Meat began rolling out products to 50 international markets, partnering with Tim Horton’s and A&W in Canada along with Tesco in the United Kingdom. Dunkin’ Donuts also jumped on board by selling breakfast sandwiches that use Meatless Sausage products in Manhattan, New York with plans for national distribution. 

As of August 2019, KFC in Atlanta tested a version of Beyond Meats creations, Beyond Fried Chicken as a menu option. The product sold out almost immediately, within 5 hours. And, it sold more compared to one week of KFC’s popcorn chicken sales! It was described as a “Kentucky Fried Miracle”. 

Impossible Foods Inc. / Impossible Burger

Impossible Foods Inc. is a company that produces and develops plant-based substitutes for meat products. Headquartered in Redwood City, CA, Impossible Foods was founded by Patrick O. Brown in 2011. The company aims to give consumers the nutritional benefits and taste of meat without the negative environmental and health impacts that come with the production associated with livestock products.

Impossible burger meatless meat

They research animal products at a molecular level then selects specific nutrients and proteins from plants. In return, the experience of eating a meat product is created.

The Impossible Burger is Impossible Foods’ signature product. It was released in 2016 and has since received both kosher and hala certifications. Earlier in 2019, Impossible Foods launched the Impossible Burger 2.0. It’s been stated as a tastier, juicer, more nutritious burger. It features 30% less sodium and 40% less saturated fat than their prior recipe. And,  has just as much protein as 80/20 ground beef from cows. The newer product is gluten-free, replacing wheat with soy proteins.

What Is An Impossible Burger Made Of?

Impossible Burger Meatless Meat

According to the Impossible Food Inc. website, Heme is what meat taste like meat. Thus, their scientists have made plant-based heme through fermentation of genetically engineered yeast. Here’s a list of Impossible Burger ingredients: 

“Water, Soy Protein Concentrate, Coconut Oil, Sunflower Oil, Natural Flavors, 2% or less of: Potato Protein, Methylcellulose, Yeast Extract, Cultured Dextrose, Food Starch Modified, Soy Leghemoglobin, Salt, Soy Protein Isolate, Mixed Tocopherols (Vitamin E), Zinc Gluconate, Thiamine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B1), Sodium Ascorbate (Vitamin C), Niacin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin B12.”

Impossible Burger Has Investors and Big Believers

Burger staples throughout the United States including Umami, Hopdoddy, Bareburger and 33 Melt in Florida all jumped on bored in 2017. In April 2018, White Castle expanded to include the Impossible Burger at all 377 of their locations. 

Impossible food inc. bao sandwich meatless plant based

Shortly thereafter, the Impossible Burger made its way into well over 5,000 restaurants across all 50 states as well as in Hong Kong, China.

Recently, Burger King jumped into the meatless meat world by introducing its Impossible Whopper, which has been dubbed the Tesla of food this last summer. Meatless meat is now being flame grilled at the ol’ BK.

Furthermore, Impossible Food Inc. makes plant-based sausage that is currently being tested on pizzas sold by Little Caesars earlier this year. 

Meatless Meat? We Want To Play, Too!

It isn’t a surprise that when new innovations arise in any industry, that corporations, competitors and investors will try to spin their own take on the product. In this case, the meatless meat train. Kellog’s just announced their meatless meat attempt, “IncogMeato,” while restaurants all throughout the country, like Burger King and Carl’s Jr., are jumping in on all the fun. Of course they are! The fast-food industry is doing all they can to keep themselves on market with those dropping off the meat-only menu wagon.

All in all, we don’t see this fade disappearing any time soon. Have you tried a Beyond Burger, an Impossible Burger or Meatless Product? What’s your favorite meatless option right now? Let us know!

The Best Coffee Shops to Study/Work in Koreatown, Los Angeles

Blog, Coffee, Drinks, Guide

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

Document Coffee Bar Koreatown
Photo Credit: 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

Balcony Coffee in Koreatown California
Photo Credit: Spoonderful

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

Urbane Cate Cafe Coffee Koreatown Los Angeles Best
Photo Credit: Spoonderful

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

Awesome Coffee Koreatown Best Los Angeles
Photo Credit: 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

Have Some Coffee Shop Koreatown California
Photo Credit: 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

Sunday Morning Coffee Koreatown Best Los Angeles
Photo Credit: 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

Cafe Dabang Coffee Los Angeles Koreatown best
Photo Credit: Spoonderful

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

Second Round Coffee in Koreatown California
Photo Credit: 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).

Honorable Mention

11. Caffe Bene Wilshire

Caffe Benne Wilshire Koreatown Los Angeles
Photo Credit: 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!