Ten Great OC Coffeeshops

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Dave Lieberman

We're sometimes accused of being too North County-centric around here. We can't help it; even leaving aside the snark about Laguna Engabachada, the fact is the population's up here in the 714, and choice in restaurants tends to follow the population.

Coffee, however, is a different story. There's good coffee all over this county. This is a list of 10--I could have easily listed 30 places far, far better than Fourbucks or the Coffee Leaf and Tea Bean. Read on!

10. The Neighborhood Cup

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The coffee's good at Neighborhood Cup, but it's the atmosphere that's the big draw. Neighborhood Cup is the closest thing Aliso Viejo has to a downtown, a community center where people come to hang out. People come to chat, there are car shows on occasion, and it offers the world's most immense serving of bread pudding to go with the coffee, too. 1 Journey, Aliso Viejo, (949) 716-5100; theneighborhoodcup.com.

9. Caffe Lucca

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Dave Lieberman
Everyone in Old Town Orange knows about the gelato at Caffe Lucca--Courtney Perkes at The Orange County Register just wrote a great review of the place last week, just five years after we did--but its draw to me is the espresso with those addictive orange-chocolate madeleines. If you've got to have the ice cream, though, get it as an affogato--drowned in espresso. 106 N. Glassell St., Orange, (714) 289-1255; cafelucca.com.



8. Revo Cycles and Espresso

What's more fun than a shop full of tempting bicycles and aftermarket parts? A shop full of tempting bicycles and aftermarket parts and caffeinated customers, of course! I got delivered here a couple of years ago by a SAG van on the MS Bay-to-Bay Tour from Irvine to San Diego and was hooked. 34155 Pacific Coast Hwy., Dana Point, (949) 496-1955; revocycles.com.


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32 comments
jdrobison
jdrobison

I'll add another to the list that combines the coffeehouse kind of environment that people like with quality coffee. Tru Bru Organic Coffee on Chapman and Newport in Orange, across the street from Rancho Santiago Community College. They opened in April. They roast their own in the shop and I was impressed with the quality of bean selections as well as the care they put into the roasting. Along with the espresso drinks, they offer batch brewed coffee as well as manual brew in V-60's. And the food is pretty decent too!

Natasha Stirling
Natasha Stirling

Love portola....but what happened to Christopher Garren??

Steve Manciet
Steve Manciet

I love love love, Peet's Coffee & Tea does this count??

Ed Bopp
Ed Bopp

Albert Lopez Kean and Portola are 1 and 2 haha

jdrobison
jdrobison

I'll add a couple to the list where you can get better coffee than most of these and the environment is good too:


Cafecito Organico at The Lab (yes, they're from LA but it's in OC, so...)

Hidden House in SJC (I'm adding it because we don't have many roasters here so I think it's fair to give them a nod)

Laura Taeger
Laura Taeger

Wow...no mention of The Koffee Klatch in Laguna Beach?! That place is one of my faves!

Chris Chapple
Chris Chapple

"Laguna Engabachada"? Really? Looks like even the non-latino personnel have to throw in some Spanglish at the Weekly. This is a good piece but you included a reminder that the Weekly is a Latino-centric publication whose first priority is to promote la raza and Aztlan. Why does such a publication call itself OC Weekly?

WhiteyAlmighty
WhiteyAlmighty

"Laguna Engabachada", Dave? Really? Looks like even the non-latino personnel have to throw in some Spanglish at the Weekly. This is a good piece you wrote, but you included a reminder that the Weekly is a Latino-centric publication whose first priority is to promote la raza and Aztlan. Why does such a publication call itself OC Weekly?

Violeta Paez
Violeta Paez

I can't believe I live so close to some of these places and I've never been!

Mary Jane Doe
Mary Jane Doe

Minor correction-The Lost Bean is on Newport Ave rather than Newport Blvd.

Jimmy Rhee
Jimmy Rhee

The picture above crystallizes why going to The Lost Bean can be one of the worst coffee shops experiences.

joanne
joanne

Wrong! Although, Portola has a great staff and crazy brewing equipment, for many their coffee is undrinkable. It just doesn't taste good me! My vote goes to Kean!

Ryan Cox
Ryan Cox

I am suprirsed that Milk and Honey in Costa Mesa didn't make this list!!

MeToo
MeToo

What about Norms? That's what I call coffee shop. these are just Seattle wanabe foo foo joints! I want ham and eggs over easy with my coffee! Not a scone.

Cameron
Cameron

So sad to see the Gypsy Den not listed...but then again, both locations have absolutely zero of the authentic charm/attention to detail that made them great. Founders long gone, candya$$ owners (see what I did there?) with no clue = a tragedy, since I have great memories of what the place once was. 

Great to see Martin D getting props for doing what he does so well at Kean!!

Karen
Karen

Thanks for the write up! Which recent coffee battle are you referring to? Kean Coffee won OC Weekly Best of 2011 Reader's Choice for both "Best Coffee" and "Best Coffeehouse", if we recall correctly.......

909Jeff
909Jeff

What? No starbucks? Coffee bean? Peets? 

jdrobison
jdrobison

@joanne Where do you go for great coffee? I'm curious to know what you think does taste good if you think Portola is undrinkable. I mean, if you're asserting that having Portola in the #1spot is "Wrong!", where should they place and who is better?

Wrongagain
Wrongagain

You have either never been to Portola or only like coffee with milk or cream added.

Dave Lieberman
Dave Lieberman

Hi Karen,

It's the linked article in there. It only had to do with espresso, not the coffee itself. We love both places!

909Jeff
909Jeff

I kill me sometimes!

Dave Lieberman
Dave Lieberman

Gala Bakery is a Viet coffee place. Or did you mean the hot-girl cafes in Garden Grove?

20ftJesus
20ftJesus

Oops, my bad, but good idea on the bikini girl cafe list. 

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