Story by Nancy Ransohoff
Photos by Derek Johnson
Whether you swing, bleary-eyed, by your neighborhood coffeehouse to grab n’ go on your way to work, linger with your laptop or meet a friend for a catch-up, Santa Barbara buzzes with locally owned spots that offer a personal touch with your cup o’ Joe.
Handlebar Coffee Roasters (128 E. Canon Perdido St.) has geared up and quickly established coffee cred as a friendly neighborhood coffee bar and microroaster. Owned by former professional cyclists Aaron Olson and Kim Anderson, the skinny space has outside patio seating and also serves teas and locally made pastries. French Press (1101 State St., 805/963-2721) features rich espresso drinks made from Santa Cruz-sourced beans, oodles of seating inside and out, free wi-fi, locally made pastries and a user-friendly vibe. French Press fans can now get their caffeine fix at the new second location on the corner of Cota and Anacapa streets (528 Anacapa St.).
The coffee version of the “Cheers” bar where “everybody knows your name,” Vices & Spices (3558 State St., 805/687-7196) has poured for a loyal following since 1975—they come back for the stellar coffee, wide tea selection, spices, great gifts and conversation. Coffee Cat (1201 Anacapa St., 805/962-7164) has a perfect perch kitty-corner from the courthouse and across the street from the central library—bring your book, sip fair-trade organic coffee and nibble a crepe in the courtyard. Daily Grind (2001 De la Vina St., 805/687-4966) has perked up locals for 17 years with its organic fair-trade coffee, smoothies, muffins, breakfast burritos and sandwiches. The Grind plans to be steaming up at a second location at 2912 De la Vina St. by the first of the year. Locals and folks passing through on the nearby 101 refuel at Café Luna (2354 Lillie Ave., Summerland, 805/695-8780). Kick back on the patio or in front of the fireplace with a cup of locally roasted Green Star coffee and a pastry from Renaud’s, or dig into breakfast (try the house-made quiche), lunch or a wood-fired pizza for dinner.
Santa Barbara Roasting Company (321 Motor Way, 805/962-0320), or RoCo, as locals fondly call it, has kept its devoted customers wired for more than 20 years. They roast and air-cool beans in small batches—you can peek at the process while sipping a steaming cup and noshing on pastries from Our Daily Bread.
The Good Cup (1819 Cliff Dr., 805/963-8699): Whether headed to the beach, nearby Santa Barbara City College or to work, Mesa-goers stop to chill out at this roomy shop, where smiles and good cups runneth over. Plenty of indoor and outdoor seating, free wi-fi, loose leaf teas, sandwiches, D’Angelo’s and Debbie’s Delights freshly baked pastries, and scoops of creamy gelato keep ’em happy.
Downtown’s Café Zoma (918 State St., 805/965-5593), now known as Downtown Good Cup, is a fab place to land before or after a movie at the next-door Fiesta Theater or for a leisurely shopping break with well-crafted java drinks, tasty pastries, cozy leather couches and local art. Adding a welcome jolt to the local caffeine scene is Goleta-based artisan coffee roaster Green Star Coffee (805/683-2555), where the green spotlight is on certified organic fair-trade shade-grown coffees. Beans from premium growing regions are hand blended, slow roasted in small batches and sold wholesale to local coffeehouses and restaurants, corporate clients and online. Local caffeine fiends can pick up their orders at 6489 Calle Real, Suite G, or find it at Whole Foods, Lazy Acres or Plow to Porch Organics.