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4 Coffee Recipes Inspired by My Favorite Drinks in L.A.

Plus a few easy ways to support your local coffee shops!
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Quarantine predictably changed so many aspects of my day-to-day life, and it certainly threw off my coffee routine. Before COVID, I was consistently making pour-overs five mornings a week, and treating myself to drinks from coffee shops the other two (Dayglow on weekdays and any new spot I discovered near a weekend destination!).

When sheltering-in-place began, most of my favorite coffeehouses closed, so I had to get creative. I invested in a compact espresso machine (which has completely changed my life–not an exaggeration!) and attempted to recreate some of my favorite caffeinated beverages from across the city until I could enjoy them again.

Now that they've reopened, I've adjusted my mornings to include one take-away coffee per week, and have committed to supporting my favorite coffee shops in other ways, like purchasing their beans, buying products from their websites, and stocking up on gift cards that I can use more regularly whenever life allows me to.

For those of you who live outside LA and don't have the option to try these delicious concoctions in person, I've made an effort to replicate them as best I can, and I hope they bring you as much joy in the mornings as they've brought me:

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Indulging in an overpriced, creamy latte is one of my favorite little pleasures, and this one is an all-time favorite (I just happen to be lucky that it's walking distance from my house). If you like sweet caffeinated drinks, this one is likely to be your new favorite. While Superba offers this drink both hot and iced, I've opted for the cooler option since it's been in the 90s in LA, and even though my recipe requires espresso, you can also substitute this with any strongly brewed coffee of your choice, and add milk to taste.

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Dash of cinnamon
2 to 3 shots of espresso
Ice
1/2 tbsp sweetened condensed milk (or more, depending on how sweet you like your coffee)
1/2 cup milk of your choice (or more to taste)

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1. Place the cinnamon in a cup, and brew the shots of espresso over the spice.

2. Add ice to a large glass, and pour the sweetened condensed milk over the ice.

3. Let the espresso cool for a few minutes (to make sure it doesn't melt the ice and dilute your drink!), or incorporate a portion of your milk to reduce the temperature.

4. Pour the cinnamon-espresso and milk over the ice, stir, and enjoy!

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I remember being equal parts shocked and intrigued the first time I tried Maru's spiced cold brew. It's was spicy, which I somehow wasn't expecting (feels like a "d'oh!" moment, I know). But it was simultaneously refreshing, and unlike anything I'd ever had. Any time I'm on the east side of LA to see my sister, you can find me picking one up.

I'm not the biggest fan of spice, so I adjusted this recipe to have just a bit of a kick (it's more of an undertone), but you can add more if you're braver than I am!

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5 tbsp ground coffee beans (I used Patria's Ethiopian beans)
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
Dash of cayenne 
1/2 tsp of cinnamon
1/4 tsp of cardamom
2 1/2 cups filtered water
Milk, to taste

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1. Put ground coffee, vanilla bean paste, and spices in the filter of a cold brew bottle (I use Blue Bottle's!).

2. Add filtered, cold water to the bottle, and give it a slight shake.

3. Place in the refrigerator to chill for 8 to 12 hours. 

4. Remove the filter, pour over ice, mix in milk of your choice, and enjoy! (Makes roughly three servings, and you can keep it in the fridge for a few days.)

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I absolutely love a sweet and floral coffee drink—if I see a menu item with rose or lavender, you can bet I'll be ordering it. When I swung by Bloom & Plume back in July, I let them know it was my first time visiting and asked what they would recommend. Without missing a beat, they told me that they make a mean Honey Lavender Latte, and I couldn't have said "yes please!" any quicker. I've thought about it ever since (I went back a second time three weeks later to grab another), and I've been drinking a similar version at home on the days when driving across the city just isn't feasible.

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2 tbsp ground coffee or espresso beans
1/2 tsp of ground lavender, plus an extra pinch for aesthetics 
1 tsp of honey
2/3 cup milk of choice (I went with oat!)

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1. Add ground beans and lavender to the portafilter, and brew two to three shots of espresso into a mug.

2. Simultaneously, add honey and milk to the mini milk pitcher. Use the steam wand to incorporate the two, and to heat/froth the milk. (You can also make milk with a frother like this one, then mix in honey.)

3. Pour the sweetened milk into the mug, and sprinkle ground lavender over the foam.

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Besides my coworkers, the thing I miss most about our West Hollywood office is its proximity to Dayglow, which Food & Wine anointed as one of the best coffee shops in the US. In the winter, I treat myself to their peppermint mocha (the best I've ever had), but thanks to our planner, Jayme, I'm also partial to their Warhol, a drink made with ingredients I never knew would blend together so beautifully.

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3 shots of espresso
2/3 cups of cream (I used whole milk)
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
Dash of cinnamon
Orange peel

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1. Brew the shots of espresso.

2. Place cream, vanilla bean paste, and cinnamon in the mini milk pitcher. Use the steam wand to heat/froth the milk/vanilla/cinnamon.

3. Run the orange peel around the rim of the mug you plan to enjoy your drink from.

4. Pour the espresso into the mug, followed by the milk, and twist the orange peel to release some of the oils on top of the beverage. Use it as a garnish, and add an extra dash of cinnamon if you're feeling fancy!

Note: In case it was not clear from the intro, these coffees are my interpretations on the real thing—to get that, be sure to visit Superba, Maru, Bloom & Plume, and Dayglow. x

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