The beach cities of Southern California are quite unique in that there are more green juice places per capita than coffee shops. [Not that I consulted with the city planner or anything… Just based on my observations].
Sure, you can find a major coffee chain every half-mile in Newport Beach, but when I want coffee; I want some really high-quality goods. Orange County has a bunch of excellent coffee shops, but for today, we will focus on Newport Beach and the neighboring Costa Mesa.
There are a few places that top the list when scouring these locations for the top cup of joe. They are all excellent, so try them all!
1. Kéan Coffee
2043 Westcliff Dr #100
Newport Beach, CA 92660
Kéan was founded by Martin Diedrich, a craft-roasting expert, who named the coffeehouse after his son, Kean. Diedrich’s goal in opening this shop was to stay true to the ideals of what a coffeehouse should be—beautiful, eclectic, globally aware, and delicious! Most of the beans Kéan uses are organic and fair-trade, and all beans are roasted in-house. There is also a Tustin location, but the Newport location is the original. Kéan is always hoppin’ so don’t mind waiting an extra minute for your drink—it will be worth it! The baristas are highly trained and make beautiful latté art. The wall near the bar is decorated with barista awards! Kean also serves a wide variety of hot and iced teas. Kéan is a must-try when visiting Orange County.
What to Get:
- Mocha – Best in OC!
- Napoli – Sweet and delish – White chocolate and hazelnut.
- Acai Bowl – A frozen treat of blended acai berries, topped with granola, bananas, and honey
506 31st Street
Newport Beach, CA 92663
Alta is a hidden gem down by the beach. It is on a more quiet side street, to get you slightly away from all of the hubbub, but close enough to take your drink with you on a nice stroll by the water. Alta is also a restaurant, with lots of delicious choices for lunch or dinner, plus it is just a great hangout spot with pretty outdoor seating.
What to Get:
- Dirty Vanilla Chai – Vanilla Chai Latté, with a shot of espresso. It will change your life—seriously.
3313 Hyland Ave
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Portola has multiple locations, some of which are in Tustin, Orange, and Santa Ana. The Costa Mesa location is only one exit up the 405 from Newport Beach, and is tucked away in the SoCo shopping district. SoCo is an ultra modern shopping center, where the stores are more open cubes than enclosed stores. Portola is floating in the middle with gigantic beaker-type lab devices slowly dripping coffee. There are a few chairs by a long tabletop in the actual Portola space, but there are also more tables in the middle community area, as well as outside. Portola carries incredibly high quality beans and takes pride in the science of preparing each drink to provide the best tasting product. The baristas were super friendly, and the coffee was incredible. Portola was voted the ‘Roaster of the Year for 2015’! Congrats! I highly recommend Portola for every coffee fanatic.
What to Get:
- Gaspar – Exactly like a Cortado [a mini-latté of sorts] – my fave.
- Any of the coffees! – Truly, Portola takes such pride in their beans and brewing process that all of the pour overs, cold brews and drips are amazing. Ask the barista for a recommendation!
270 E. 17th St., #18
Costa Mesa, CA 92627
Photo : Sidecardoughnuts.com
Sidecar is actually a doughnut shop, but they also serve great coffee! Plus, who doesn’t love a good doughnut? The doughnuts are made with the highest quality of ingredients, and are my favorite doughnuts in OC. They have a few flavors that are staples, and then rotate flavors of the month. …But this is about coffee! So, Sidecar purchases Stumptown coffee from Portland. For those who do not know Stumptown… It’s insanely good. In fact, the best in Portland, and Portland knows her coffee! Sidecar private labels Stumptown beans, and worked with Stumptown to create their own blend…which means that you are getting one heckuva cup of coffee. Pair it with a doughnut [or two], and you have yourself an incredible day ahead.
What to Get:
- Black Coffee – When you have this quality of beans, don’t mess with success and get a cup of good ole American coffee. Perfect for pairing with a sweet treat!
- Americano – Always a good choice if you want a stronger version of regular coffee!
- DOUGHNUTS – Maple Bacon, Cinnamon Crumb, Orange Cardamom, Vanilla Twist, Butter & Salt… Just get them all
Back to you! What other spots do you recommend? One can never have too much coffee.