Four Great Study Spots Near East Los Angeles

Cozy coffee shops off-campus

Becky Nava, Contributing Writer

The threat of finals week looms, both ominous and inevitable, striking a mixture of fear and relief into the hearts of both first years and seniors alike. Between work and Netflix, friends and family, and the siren call of a city filled with endless distractions, it can be difficult to find a time and a space to study. Amid the chaos, there are a variety of cafes in the area that cure a lack of concentration with a healthy dose of caffeine.


Verve Coffee

From the raw wood tables to the wall of greenery lining the exterior, the design is straight off of a 2011 Pinterest board without the expected pretension. Exposed pipes and metal railings add to the minimalist, industrial setup. The shop’s popularity stems from its selection of pressed juices, a vibrant and healthy alternative to the caffeine-fueled beverages found in most shops. Beverages such as charcoal lemonade and strawberry milk are expensive, though the healthy ingredients and minimalist packaging will fool you into productivity. The honey lavender latte can be seen on most tabletops, a palatable and light beverage, or rather, coffee for people who don’t like coffee.


Copa Vida

The entrance to the shop offers a minimalist interior with bright, white walls and chairs with accents of wood. A dimly lit and much more tranquil space lies just past the bar. The atmosphere quickly shifts from that of excited chatter and clatter of dishes to furried typing and the occasional chime of a spoon against a glass. As an added bonus, unlike most cafes, it is open until 9 p.m. — making it perfect for those last-minute essays and late night-cram sessions. Prices are average with drinks anywhere from $4 to $7. The coffee will satisfy your caffeine craving but the selection of teas is the real highlight. The peppermint tea is like what you might imagine a liquid dragon’s breath: Both scalding and refreshing. Breakfast and brunch are popular times at the cafe and for good reason: The vegetarian burrito is a heavenly experience. Finding a bit of hash brown in each bite is an exercise in divinity, not unlike finding a pearl in a clam shell.



With dim lighting and a wood interior, the coffee shop is a welcome hobbit hole away from the bright and sunny streets of Colorado Boulevard. Despite its popularity, there is always ample seating, and more importantly, plenty of outlets. From bar stools and tables to outdoor seating, it caters to all: Study groups, weekend coffee dates, and lone wolf study sessions. The cafe, which started in San Francisco, moved to Chicago and has expanded to other major cities, offers a pricey menu of mostly drinks. The quality of the products and attention to detail almost make up for the prices: Drinks are between $5 to $12 and pastries are upwards of $5. There is an elevated creativity and range to the menu, as it offers everything from cold brew and lattes to milkshakes and affogatos, a scoop of ice cream in an espresso. While the selection of food is limited to pastries, the rose croissant is buttery and flaky which complements the sweet delicacy of the frosting.


Tierra Mia

With locations across Los Angeles, Tierra Mia melds coffee’s traditional Latin roots with modern tastes. The cafe offer its take on the pumpkin spice latte right alongside a rice and beans frappe. Their acclaimed horchata latte is a creamy, bittersweet experience with punches of cinnamon in every other sip. The Latinx flavors present in the pastries and beverages illicit feelings of home and childhood: Early morning pan dulce warm from the panaderia and coveted champurrado on chilly nights — flavors many Chicano/a residents can relate to. The music transitioned from 90s alternative rock to contemporary Spanish pop, just as easily as patrons and workers conversed in different languages. Many of the locations are also open later than most coffee shops — some until midnight. The later hours add to the warmth of the atmosphere, as patrons are dressed more casually and the workers have clearly bonded with some of the regulars.

Community News reporters are enrolled in JOUR 3910 – University Times. They produce stories about under-covered neighborhoods and small cities on the Eastside and South Los Angeles. Please email feedback, corrections and story tips to [email protected]