Where should you go when you need a cup o’ joe in the Monterey Bay? Before you default to Starbucks, check out these local brewing companies for your morning jolt.
1. Verve Coffee, Santa Cruz and Capitola: This artisan roasting company recently opened a new location on Pacific Ave. in Santa Cruz, jazzing up hordes of college students, locals, and visitors alike, but those who live in Capitola have been flocking to the funky coffee house on 41st Ave. for years. Its employees regularly enter (and win) barista competitions all around the country. Thanks to its rich flavors, huge cups, and tasty pastries, Verve is a favorite spot to sit and sip a brew or two.
2. East Village Coffee Lounge, Monterey: The certified organic and fair trade coffee is delicious, to be sure, but the real draw of the the East Village Coffee Lounge is its community-hub vibe. The cafe regularly hosts live music and entertainment, from open jam sessions to spelling bees to poetry slams. There is something happening at East Village nearly every night of the week.
3. Cafe Lumiere, Monterey: A heated debate rages in Monterey if Cafe Lumiere or East Village has the best coffee in town, but you can taste test both for yourself before coming to a final decision. This casual coffeehouse offers hearty sandwiches, paninis, and breakfast alongside a rich coffee menu. Perfect place for breakfast, lunch, or an afternoon pick-me-up.
4. The Windmill Cafe, Santa Cruz: This hidden beach gem is housed in the historic Lincoln Windmill building and features a rustic decor with walls bedecked with the work of local artists. Besides serves steaming cups of coffee and creamy espresso, the Windmill has an abundant menu full of vegan and vegetarian options. It proudly serves Santa Cruz Roasting Company coffee. One of its more delightful features is a garden patio dining area.
5. Cafe Kevah, Big Sur: Why not have your breath taken away while looking up over your cup of coffee? Cafe Kevah, housed within the larger Nepenthe restaurant property, has a wide open terrace that looks out onto the great Big Sur forest below. You can see 40 miles of coastline on a clear day. Kevah focuses on serving premium gourmet coffees, foods made from fresh, often local ingredients, and just-out-of-the-oven baked goods.