Koreatown may be the LA neighborhood with the most coffee shops serving decidedly lousy coffee. There are coffee bars on every corner, most of which seem to mostly do business in smoothie type drinks along with everything from waffles to pretzels. Universally though, the coffee is an afterthought.
I'm hopeful that as really good coffee continues to catch on, that will change. A good sign came recently when Bourbon Street Cafe opened at Seventh and Vermont (on the NE side of the street in the same strip mall as Kobawoo). Bourbon Street Cafe is a Koreatown rarity, a cafe that seems concerned with...coffee. There are no pretzel-dogs, waffles or sweet potato lattes, but there are Intelligentsia coffee espresso drinks, individually made cups of drip coffee and affogatos.
The coffee at Bourbon Street may not rise to the level of Intelligentsia, or even some of the other places that serve it, like Square One, but in a sea of mediocrity, it still stands out. My cappuccino had a bit more milk than I like, but was solidly made and had good flavor. A straight espresso had good flavor but lacked any crema at all (I also noticed a fair amount of inconsistency among the different baristas). Affogatos were made with supermarket ice cream (Thrifty) but had good flavor and good proportions.
Overall, Bourbon Street is a good edition to the neighborhood and I hope it portends a shift in Koreatown coffee culture. They are making coffee at a higher level than anywhere else I've been in Koreatown, and while not in the same league as the city's great espresso bars, there are definitely days when I will walk there instead of driving to Intelligentsia or Cafecito Organico.
Bourbon St. Cafe
698 South Vermont Ave, Suite 103
Los Angeles, CA, 90005