Whether you’re a late bird or an early riser, amazing coffee can be found beyond the chains. California takes its coffee game seriously, and so should you. Here are our local picks.

The Golden State has no shortage of coffee that’s as pretty to look at as it is delicious to drink.

San Francisco

1.) Awash in minimalist, natural light, white walls and blonde wood, the design-savvy Saint Frank in Russian Hill features specialties like almond macadamia milk latte along with drips, pour overs, espressos and cold brews. Nab a seat by the window and watch the world pass by.

2.) The beloved Blue Bottle Coffee (with various locales) still reigns as some of the best joe in the city. Want something on ice? Sip the smooth, New Orleans cold brew or opt for a subtle cappuccino, or the macchiato, which a barista always tops with coffee art (and yes, it’s practically begging for an Instagram).

3.) The industrial, two-story Sightglass serves its iced coffee in mason jars and their latest beans pick up a smooth taste with hints of cantaloupe and ripe strawberry.

4.) For those caffeine enthusiasts who don’t mind traveling for their coffee, the tiny outer Sunset café, Andytown, rules for its Snowy Plover: mineral water spiked with espresso and a dollop of whipped cream.

The Snowy Plover is one of Andytown’s signature brews. (Photo credit: Ruben Marquez)

Los Angeles 

5.) Nestled on a corner in Silver Lake, locals love the eco-friendly, indie Cafecito Organico. The shop might be small but there’s plenty of patio space to sip your Americano, punchy espresso Clandestino or a raw cocoa mocha.

6.) At the base of Runyon Canyon, preferably after you’ve hit the hiking trails, refuel at Blackwood Coffee Bar with an iced coffee and organic yogurt bowl starring strawberry rhubarb compote, made fresh at the shop. Or grab the signature cold namesake with two espresso shots and a zesty orange kick.

7.) Along a lovely, tree-lined street in West Hollywood, the sweetly whimsical Alfred Coffee and Kitchen is known for its bright visuals (just check out their Instagram) and to drink, too-pretty-to-drink lattes, matcha, tea and fresh juices from Raw Juicery and to nosh, breakfast burritos.

8.) LAMILL coffee fuels a morning work session at the buzz-worthy Jane Q restaurant inside Hollywood’s Kimpton Everly Hotel. Caffeine-lovers will be well taken care of by lead barista M’lissa Muckerman as she whips up classic coffee drinks like pour overs and lattes. Feeling punchy? Try the vodka cold brew for an extra kick.

Jane Q’s lead barista, M’lissa Muckerman, tops off an iced brew.

Sacramento

9.) The new gleaming, airy space at Temple Coffee Roasters with exposed brick and tiling made from pennies, makes a perfect spot for an almond milk mocha, rich hot chocolate (with a hint of coconut) or cascara tea using the coffee plant’s berries and nitrogen infused.

10.) With various locales, Chocolate Fish Coffee doles out a velvety, smooth white mocha and a latte-like flat white. For serious brew aficionados, try a cup from the Curtis Seraphim pour-over module and a few nibbles of a lemon blueberry scone.

11.) The spacious Insight Coffee (with a few shops) is perfect for sips of a sweet spiced chai latte and paired with a savory chive and cheddar biscuit. Want to up your coffee game? There are roasting classes and tea connoisseurs can jump into the mix with matcha and rare oolongs.

Insight Coffee is one of our favorite Sacramento spots to get a coffee fix.

San Diego

12.) In Little Italy, the rustic-woodsy Bird Rock Coffee Roasters features crowd-pleasing pour-overs, blends and single-origin beans to go. Live music and rotating local art round out this neighborhood spot.

13.) Order a Turkish latte with cardamom and raw sugar at the newly opened corner spot, Lofty Coffee. With a sidewalk coffee, you’ll find tea lovers drinking a refreshing lavender iced tea and snacking on made-in-house lemon poppy seed cookies and chocolate croissants.

14.) With its whimsical Alice in Wonderland theme, Littly Italy’s Heartsleeves Coffee is the perfect spot for an iced Vietnamese cold brew enjoyed with an apricot walnut scone. And for a lovely spring treat, the creamy lavender latte doesn’t disappoint.

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