Lord Windsor Roaster’s perfect macchiato. Photo by Brian Addison.
There are two culinary arts rising in Long Beach: craft beer and specialty coffee. And each of them share a similar situation in that they are widely overshadowed by wine as well as widely ignored by restaurants and chefs as something that should be cared for like any great plate of food or glass of vino. That misguided mentality, though, is slowly beginning to change.
Everyone knows that you can go to Portfolio or Berlin and get a great cup of joe, but we want to offer you five houses of caffeination you maybe haven’t been to before. From the airport outpost of a local roaster to the locals-only specialty shop along Broadway, here are some new spaces you gotta check out.
Lord Windsor Roasters, 1101 E 3rd St (Alamitos Beach)
This middle-of-a-neighborhood joint eschews free wi-fi and multiple drink options in favor of straight-forward, excellent coffee and that all-too-modern idea that coffeehouses are meant to bring people together to converse and interact. Procuring beans from Coffee Shrub and Cafe Imports, they roast right in house and offer—particularly as roaster and owner Wade refines his skill—some of the best beans and drinks in town. Whether you’re getting a pour-over or a perfect macchiato backed with sparking water (pictured above) or quite arguably the best iced coffee in town, Lord Windsor is where it’s at. And they’ve even reached out to local eateries, having just trained the staff at James Republic in the East Village how to properly serve their espresso.
Makai Coffee, 2769 E Broadway (Bluff Heights)
Makai is thoroughly Long Beach—and I mean that quite literally. It alternates between three local roasters—the aforementioned Lord Windsor, the coffee-on-bikes boys over at Rose Parks, and downtown’s True Beans—and huddles itself on a rather interesting corner: Broadway and Temple. What was once the second location of the infamous Sipology and then moved on to the now-defunct Temple Coffee, Makai is proving to be the little shot that could. Our suggestion is the Gilbraltar, Makai’s more milky take on a traditional macchiato.
The Green House, 149 Linden Ave (East Village)
Speaking of the infamous Sipology, The Green House took over the failed businesses original location in the East Village and has since become a staple for residents. With drinks originally curated by Sterling Houghton (now appropriately at Makai), this two-story Boho-style coffeehouse has been serving some of the best espresso in town a la Rose Parks Roasters. And though I have sadly never seen their Ethiopian Goji Berry served as an espresso again—chocolately goodness that is decadent on an entirely different level—they have not altered or sacrificed their quality on a single level.
Eco Coffee, 5475 E. Carson (Lakewood Village)
This amazing little shop at the west end of Heartwell Park is what a Starbucks wish it could be: a ton of options with the highest quality ingredients and baristas that actually care about the drinks they make (even the blended ones). This is the joint for the lovers of Joe that like a little sugar with everything. Always serving up organic, fair-trade beans, one has the option to pair their caffeine with anything ranging from almond to coconut milk—and they even have a horchata latte (yes, you read that right).
Polly’s, 4100 E Donald Douglas (Long Beach Airport Concourse)
Okay, I am admittedly snobby about my Joe—but I am not one to shy away from longtime staples. And when I had first stepped foot into Long Beach staple Polly’s on the insanely comforting concourse at LGB, I was a happy panda. You won’t find pour-overs or French presses or [insert seemingly pretentious form of serving coffee here] but rather just good ol’ Joe, roasted by Belmont Shore’s Polly’s, served drip-style to wake you up or calm you down (depending on your body’s ability to process caffeine) before you jet off. It’s cheap, it’s good, and even better, you’re actually giving back to Long Beach while simultaneously getting your fix. Win, win.
Also check out: The Flea Espresso Bar (2023 E 4th St.), Royal Cup Cafe (994 Redondo Ave.) and Brew-Haus (250 W. Ocean Blvd.) for more top-notch coffee.
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