Sip and Stroll
A good cuppa coffee can serve as many things—a wake-up elixir, a social drink, an energy booster. When the temps drop, it can even act as a very delicious hand warmer during a weekend stroll around town. Which is why it is totally acceptable (if not encouraged) to plan your day around this ubiquitous, treasured ritual. Just in case you don’t know where to order your java, here’s a roll call of the best coffee stops in every neighborhood. Plus: where to go with your to-go cup afterwards.
Succulent Coffee Roasters in Balboa Island
Had it with autumnal pumpkin concoctions? At Succulent Coffee Roasters, you’re invited to look beyond frothy, syrupy-sweet drinks and try coffee au naturel. Pop into their coffee shop in Balboa Island, and you’ll be treated to a slew of varieties—a minimum of five offerings at any given time—that are roasted in the operation’s LA facility. Two classics are a standout. There’s the Superbloom, which is brewed as drip coffee and boasts natural sweetness and notes of bright, red apple. There’s also The Ninth, which sings with flavors of red cherry and rich chocolate and makes for a mean espresso.
Explore: Balboa Island, a place that’s rife with all sorts of quirky shops and galleries, particularly if you stroll up and down the area’s main street.
Alta Coffee in Cannery Village
Alta Coffee’s warm and dark-wood-accented digs makes it a perfect place to settle in with a book or a laptop if you’ve still got some work to crank out. Like your coffee on the sugary side? Try the Highland Cream—wonderfully dark espresso balanced out with sweet whipped cream. If you want to dial up the sweetness even more, opt for the toffee latté, which comes with drizzled chocolate and chunks of toffee. In other words, it’s your morning pick-me-up and evening dessert rolled into one.
Explore: Cannery Village, a coastal neighborhood (formerly a fishing community) that has a lot to offer—from waterfront dining and watersports to a 1938 movie theater and everything in between.
Zinc Café in Corona del Mar
This popular breakfast and lunch spot dishes up a variety of fresh grub—a selection of house-made salads, quiches and of course, avocado toast. Also on the menu? A variety of coffee drinks, thanks to beans provided by Intelligentsia Coffee (aka one of the pioneers in the third-wave coffee movement). The folks at Zinc offer up perfectly extracted cups with diverse preparations like French press, hammerhead (a shot of espresso combined with drip coffee), the tried-and-true Americano and café au lait, to name a few.
JuiceMi in Balboa Village
Aside from colorful, plant-based smoothie bowls, JuiceMi also whips up the most aesthetically pleasing lattes in town. Start off with their dairy-free mocha, which is concocted with cocoa nibs. The establishment also just rolled out two new additions to its drinks menu, including a white mocha caramel and pumpkin chai latte. And it would be a shame not to mention JuiceMi’s superfood lattes, like the matcha pandan latte, which is caffeine-free but still packs a lot of energy.