Must Try Latte Spots in Southern California

Play Coffee in Downtown Fullerton
Play Coffee is a multi-roaster, coffee bar, and destination point in bustling downtown Fullerton.

‘Latte’ up your coffee game by stopping by one of these SoCal java locations

When you relocate to a new city, sometimes it’s a daunting task of getting into a new routine. You don’t realize it until after you move, you’re going to have to find a new place to get a haircut, a new veterinarian for your fur baby, even new eat spots for wings or Pho. If you’re trying to avoid the Seattle chains for a latte, hopefully this list of must-try latte spots on SoCal can get you acclimated to your new city quickly.

For this article, we kept it simple. Just a regular hot vanilla latte. No fancy milks or extra shots.

A chic, under-the-radar coffee shop is Thank You Coffee, off Anaheim Blvd in Anaheim is different from most little boutique coffee shops. Their cat theme is welcoming, and the esthetics of the shop keep it simple and open. While they didn’t use vanilla flavoring for their lattes, they do use agave flavoring that gives this latte the sweetness you’d expect from vanilla, but not overbearing.

In Downtown Orange, the Circle is commonly referred to as ‘the middle of town’, but just off ‘the Circle’ is a fun coffee and pastry shop called Pandor, that serves yummy treats and coffees. It’s a popular hangout for students and professionals alike, and it’s not hard to see why. The coffee is excellent, the pastries are delicious, and the atmosphere is inviting. The shop’s namesake is the Greek mythological character Pandora, who opened a box and released all the world’s evils. However, at Pandor, the only evils are bad caffeine withdrawal symptoms and sugar cravings. This simple vanilla latte ranks high on this list for its smooth taste and no overwhelming bitterness you might experience from espresso.

While in LA, scope out the location for Stereoscope Coffee in Echo Park. While Stereoscope Coffee is a chain with locations in Buena Park, Newport Beach and Long Beach, the popularity of the Echo Park location leads a line out the door for a midday Sunday swing through. Their standard vanilla latte was rich with flavor with the milk drowning out the acidity from the espresso. This location is small and tight, but didn’t deter guests from waiting about 10-15 minutes in line outside to order. Once inside, a dozen or so close-knit tables helped strike up conversations with your table neighbors.

One spot that you will likely fall in love with the charm and esthetic, as well as the latte, is Play Coffee in downtown Fullerton. Driving down West Commonwealth Ave in Fullerton, you might pass right by this quaint coffee shop, nestled between Joe’s Restaurant and D’Vine Mediterranean cuisine. What makes this coffee shop unique is the construction inside shipping containers that provides a quiet space for work or a casual place for conversation. With a very modern, contemporary design and creative branding, the vanilla latte also did not disappoint.

If you’re looking for a latte with some sass, any of the four Coffee Dose locations in Orange County aren’t for the sensitive. With staff wearing sweatshirts that say ‘Slut of Coffee’, this cheeky brand doesn’t take itself too seriously with obnoxious review quotes that line the walls from customers that aren’t in on the joke. Even though they only serve one size, this latte had a bold, rich flavor with a creamy, lingering aftertaste. Just remember, the drug references for ‘Puppy Uppers’ and ‘Anti (b-word) Serum’ aren’t real. It’s just fun that goes along with the “doctor-prescribed” dose of coffee to get you through your day.

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