I know it's been mentioned more than once that it's hard to find a really good cup of coffee in the SGV. The types of tea houses that serve a million iterations of milk tea, boba and taro are everywhere. Some are very good and I visit them often when I'm out here. But sitting down to a nice latte, an espresso, or a legit pour over seemed to be a pipe dream. The short-lived Fleur de Lys on Atlantic did a nice cup, but after shutting down a while back, there seemed to be no hope outside of Charbucks.
Yesterday was a bit of an eye-opener for me. My son had a class to attend at Cal State LA in the AM so I got a little earlier start in the SGV area than I normally do on the weekend. Wanting a "real" cup of coffee (latte to be exact), I yelped "coffee and tea" on their "Nearby" function. De Cafe Baristas was one of the first listed - they're located in that newish megadevelopment on Atlantic and Hellman in Monterey Park. I wanted to visit this huge center anyway so I dropped in for my cup, and I was really surprised at how good my cup was. Deep complex flavors, perfectly balanced with just the right amount of steamed milk, the foam was perfectly soft, and a beautiful embellishment on top to boot. They proudly indicate their use of Intelligentsia coffee beans, offer a full coffee/espresso menu, and even do pour overs with a chosen single-source coffee bean of the week. I think most of their business rolls in from the adjacent movie theatre. What hurts them here is the somewhat difficult access relative to parking. The parking is all underground, so grabbing a quick cup, which so many coffee drinkers tend to do, is not going to happen. One has to be somewhat determined to come here. Nevertheless, they are a legitimate source of real coffee.
Cloverleaf in Temple City is in my top three places for Taiwanese-style baked goods. They, along with Flour and Tea, and Oh My Pan have a standard of quality that is head and shoulders above the dozens of other bakeries offering similar goods. What sets Cloverleaf apart from everyone else is their ability to also do some very decent renditions of more "American" types of baked goods, as well as serving espresso-based drinks that are of a standard that most would find worthy. I visited them yesterday for the first time in many months, and I noticed they now also have a pour over station with a list of six singular-origin coffee beans as well. While I didn't have a chance to sample their pour over (I came for their breads), two other customers ordered it.
It now appears that real coffee house-level coffee is becoming accessible in the SGV. I'm sure I've only touched the surface - any others worth trying around the Valley?
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