While there are still some coffee-date holdouts, Los Angeles has recently seen a marked shift away from the traditional caffeine fix in favour of alternative, oftentimes super-healthy, drinks. From downtown to the beach, cafes and shops have popped up slinging a different kind of brew: tea, kombucha and other wholesome herbal or juice blends. Iced, hot, frozen, mixed with boba pearls or smooth, it’s a new day in a city where Starbucks has never been less cool. In LA, matcha has become mucho prevalent, and there’s even a soft-serve take on green juice. Consider your thirst quenched.
American Tea Room DTLA, 909 S Santa Fe Avenue
Not only does this months-old Arts District spot (just a quick drive from The Standard, Downtown LA) pour teas of all colour and flavour – from mojito to Georgia peach to brown rice – it also has an interactive digital Tea Zone, where true enthusiasts can learn about a given blend by scanning it. This is a place built for comfort and relaxation: there’s a 25-foot living wall, fire-pit tables with USB charging stations and a 30-foot reclaimed wood bar. Standout drinks include the OJ-matcha blend called Green Tea Terere, as well as the Masala Chai Horchata.
Alfred Tea Room, 705 N Alfred Street
Across the street from the always-packed Alfred Coffee is Melrose Place’s latest chic addition. Between all the pink tile, cheeky sayings (for example: ‘I love you so matcha’), and cactus-adorned cups, this tea-centric outpost seems designed with Instagram in mind. Sans coffee, there are still plenty of options: traditional fine and ‘fancy’ tea blends, matcha, boba, Thai tea and cold brews on tap (including nitro chai and kombucha).
Shuhari Matcha Cafe, 1522 Abbot Kinney Boulevard
Abbot Kinney’s newest neighbour is a white subway–tiled mecca for the nutrient-rich green tea called matcha, which they refer to as the ‘un-coffee.’ The trendy Japanese beverage is the main focus at the minimalist cafe with an extensive retail selection (such as loose-leaf teas and Japanese ceramics) and a serene relaxation area. Matcha comes in the form of lattes, sparkling drinks, ice cream and shakes, alongside other steeped green teas and sliders.
Moon Juice, locations in Silver Lake, Venice and Melrose Place
The West Hollywood extension of wellness alchemist Amanda Chantal Bacon’s Venice business opened 4 August, just behind Alfred Tea Room. A quick drive from Chateau Marmont and The Standard, Hollywood, it’s a bright, modernist shop where those seeking natural relief of an ailment – trouble sleeping, dull skin, lackluster sex drive – or simply delicious-tasting juices, tonics and snacks can indulge. New for this location: Moon Dust Lattes, which combine cold-brewed caffeine-free gynostemma tea (or Vittoria Coffee) with Lait de Coco or Almond Moon Milk and one of six dusts, ranging from the famous Gwyneth Paltrow–endorsed Sex Dust (good for energy and creativity, too) to Brain or Spirit. Wifi is complimentary, and there are tables outside beside a stone for giving a #moonhug.
The Punchbowl, 4645 Melbourne Avenue
Regardless of your order at this Los Feliz staple, you can rest assured it is raw, vegan and 100 per cent organic, aka authentically LA. With a charming, slightly rustic ambience and the ‘apothecary’ menu written on chalkboards, the Punchbowl feels as wholesome as it is. Shakes, cold-pressed juices, smoothies, milks and shots have cute names (for example: Beauty and Brains, which is infused with strawberry and rose) and healing ingredients like evening primrose oil, cayenne, bee pollen and turmeric. It’s the perfect stop after a Griffith Park hike.
Pressed Juicery, various locations
The cold-pressed company (backed by the Olsen twins, among others) that’s perhaps responsible for the city’s entire juice craze opened its latest outpost in Brentwood in June. Not only does Pressed Juicery sell a comprehensive array of refreshments – including green juices, fruity blends, nut milks and wellness shots – it also serves Freeze, a vegan, gluten-free soft-serve made from the same ingredients as the juices. The four flavors – chocolate, vanilla, greens and fruits – can be topped with almond butter, cacao drizzle and chia seeds.
Kreation Kafe & Juicery, various locations
Cold-pressed juices and teas are also the focus here. Made from certified organic fruits and veggies from the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market, the elixirs are designed to nourish and replenish. Enjoy them in-house, take them to go or have them delivered. Also on the menu: superfood-packed Syringe and Tonic Shots (like Laughter, Decongestant and Sexy), grab-and-go salads, soups and raw snacks.