Whole Latte Love

There's more than meets the eye to Brew/Well in Koreatown

Let us apologize to some of our readers.

We know that the charming six-month-old coffee shop Brew/Well in Koreatown, wedged next door to Korean supermarket Assi, was the secret spot you didn't want anyone to know about.

There's free Wi-Fi, ample outlets for laptops and a very spacious parking lot. The atmosphere is subdued enough for studying but upbeat enough for conversation. And, most importantly, the coffee–currently brewed with beans from L.A.'s own Adante Roasters–is superb.

Owners and sisters Grace and Elizabeth Rhee create drinks that humbly bridge the gap between coffee austerity and indulgence. For example, your espresso shot can serve as the base for a stellar Gibraltar ($3.50)–the quintessential drink of the Third-Wave coffee world–or transformed further into a toasted lavender cappuccino ($4.50) thick with floral-scented foam. The Rhees make the lavender syrup themselves, stripping buds from a plant on the counter.

Barista-owner Grace Rhee

"Great beans and great coffee are the baseline," explains Grace Rhee, "but I think getting creative with drinks is the more exciting part."

Holiday creations like caramel apple cider with allspice or the creamy butterscotch tea latté (made with a custom Art of Tea blend) are a vast improvement over the sugary drinks found at most coffee chains.

Instead, save your sweet tooth for pastries from Quenelle, such as airy chocolate Guinness cake ($5) or pistachio scones with apricot-jasmine jam ($4).