Fun abounds in the Northern California city of Santa Cruz. You can visit the Mystery Spot, Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Lighthouse Field State Beach, Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, and many more.
But one of the best things to do in Santa Cruz is to drink coffee at one of the many coffee shops in town. Whatever your tastes or mood, there is a café out there that will satisfy you.
Coffee is a big deal in Santa Cruz, so many independent cafes and roasteries produce high-quality beans and beverages. You can find coffee shops with different flavors from Brazil, Cuba, or Vietnam and organic, fair-trade, or vegan choices.
We list some of the most popular coffee shops in Santa Cruz for you. If you are in Santa Cruz, visit these coffee shops and cafes and enjoy the excellent coffee in this city.
Coffee Shops in Santa Cruz
Verve Coffee Roasters
Verve is a coffee roaster launched in 2007 by two friends. The company cares deeply about finding the finest coffee globally. Craft, quality, and relationships matter a lot to them.
Four stores are in Santa Cruz, while another four are in Los Angeles. They also have stores in San Francisco, Manhattan Beach, and Palo Alto. They also have locations in Japan.
Everything from pour-overs to velvety lattes demonstrates their dedication to quality. The bakery and cafe serve delicious foods and meals, such as breakfast sandwiches. It’s the best spot to relax in the middle of the city.
Verve Coffee Roasters offers a subscription service in addition to their handpicked coffees and best-sellers. They have a wide selection of brewing supplies, equipment, and accessories. Verve Coffee is a must-stop for anybody in Downtown Santa Cruz.
11th Hour Coffee
11th Hour Coffee embodies coffee as an art form, uniting people and igniting creativity in the community.
Two brothers established the company. By day, they roast and craft delightful coffee; by night, the shop hosts events like comedy nights and pop-up food alongside a full bar.
The menu presents various coffee drinks, including nitro cold brew, mochas, lattes, and cafe au lait. Additionally, it serves tasty food options like almond scones, avocado toast, and panini sandwiches.
You can find 11th Hour Coffee at two Santa Cruz locations: Center Street (Downtown) and Ingalls Street (Westside).
The Downtown spot features a roasting facility, ample indoor and outdoor seating, a store with coffee equipment and plants, and a selection of food and coffee to enjoy.
As one of the best coffee shops in Santa Cruz, for those who cherish coffee and community, 11th Hour Coffee is the go-to spot in Santa Cruz.
Santa Cruz Coffee Roasting
Santa Cruz Coffee Roasting is a coffee haven with a rich history of roasting expertise spanning over 40 years. Their small-batch roasting technique extracts the finest nuances from their top-notch coffee sources. Building enduring relationships with coffee growers worldwide is a core value, with a focus on sustainability and social responsibility.
Step inside the warm roastery, and you’ll find jars of freshly roasted beans lining the countertops. The cozy seating invites you to enjoy your coffee while experiencing the true roastery ambiance. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable, sharing their passion for the craft.
Conveniently located on Pacific Avenue in Santa Cruz, this spot is perfect for gatherings, offering a relaxing outdoor setting for people-watching. The establishment provides live music, free Wi-Fi, and daily specials besides aromatic brews. The skilled barista guarantees each cup is a masterpiece.
Santa Cruz Coffee Roasting actively engages with art displays and events. It’s a place where coffee lovers can savor the perfect brew while embracing a sense of community and art, so join the experience!
Firefly Coffee House
Firefly Coffee House is a local business that’s been around since 2007. It’s a funky hangout with two locations in Santa Cruz: 131A Front Street and 1700 Commercial Way.
They serve craft coffee drinks, chai, juice, and baked goods, including sweets and loaded bagels. The coffee specials, like the macchiato or crème brûlée iced latte, are terrific. If you want something unique, go for their London Fog, which is Earl Grey tea with vanilla syrup and steamed milk – super good!
One of the highlights here is their homemade bagels, made in-house and boiled. They also have vegan options. If you’re in Santa Cruz and looking for a charming coffee spot, try Firefly Coffee House.
The Abbey Coffee Lounge
The Abbey is a delightful coffee, art, and music lounge catering to the Santa Cruz community.
One remarkable aspect of The Abbey is its inclusive nature. It has captivating art pieces on the walls, making it an art installation. The place features a piano, mirrors, a stage, classic furniture, and modern elements.
Despite being next to a Christian church, they welcome everyone, regardless of their religious beliefs. It’s a serene and welcoming environment, free from pushy Christian beliefs.
A must-try beverage is their Iced Brickhouse latte. It blends homemade vanilla syrup and a hint of caramel with espresso and almond milk, topped with ice. The result is a truly delicious treat.
The Abbey is an excellent place to connect and engage with family and friends or on your own. If you visit alone, you can enjoy your time with a warm cup of coffee, tea, or a delightful pastry while getting lost in a captivating book.
Cat & Cloud Coffee
Three friends founded Cat & Cloud in 2015. They launched this business intending to create unique experiences and connections.
Their four locations in Santa Cruz County are Abbott Square, Portola, Eastside, and Westside. The leading shop (Portola) is in the Pleasure Point neighborhood. The shop has a large and beautiful dog-friendly patio.
Try their Creamy Beige, a delicious iced coffee drink in summer. If you are a latte lover, you must-try their Oat Milk Latte, which includes cinnamon, honey, and milk.
In addition, for convenience, you can head to their Abbott Square location in Downtown Santa Cruz. Cat & Cloud is within walking distance of various shopping, food, and beverage options.
Lulu Carpenter’s is one of the most renowned coffee shops in Santa Cruz. Discover this inviting coffee house in a beautiful brick building built by a soldier in 1865.
The flagship store on Pacific Avenue is uniquely distinguished as the first business to reopen after the 1989 earthquake.
With a warm ambiance, Lulu Carpenter’s offers artisan coffee, tea, seasonal drinks, pastries, lunch, and brunch. Their welcoming space boasts a full kitchen and bakery.
Their popular drinks include Ultimo and Bowl of Soul, which you won’t find anywhere else in the area.
You can savor indoor and outdoor seating options, including a patio within a brick-walled garden – a perfect spot for reading on a pleasant day.
Lulu Carpenter’s has extended its presence to various locations in Santa Cruz, encompassing Midtown, Coffee Cat, and Westside.
Shrine is a community coffeehouse that belongs to St. Joseph church. They want to share the gospel through the “culture of encounter.” Pope Francis and his predecessors have talked about this culture.
The coffee shop has a beautiful look. You can see ample counter space in the front and a modern chic style inside.
Shrine uses fresh, local coffee beans from Cat & Cloud roasters and offers dark, light, and decaf craft blend options. They also have muffins, pastries, tea, hot chocolate, and iced drinks.
If you go to Lighthouse Field State Beach in Santa Cruz, you should stop by Shrine Coffee. You will find a warm drink and a friendly atmosphere.
Mariposa Coffee Bar
Mariposa is a specialty coffee shop located in Downtown Santa Cruz. Tram Vu and Chelsea Cabrera, two friends, started the coffee shop. They love coffee and delicious flavors from childhood.
Cabrera enjoyed Cuban flavors in Miami as a child. Vu loved Vietnamese food in San Jose. So, they wanted to share these flavors with Santa Cruz. In response, they opened Mariposa Cuban Coffee.
Mariposa offers authentic Cuban and Vietnamese coffee, vegan pastries, and Cubanos. The coffee shop has bright velvet couches and pillows against a dark background. It looks different and comfortable.
They also make specialty drinks such as Bella Bon Bon, a sweet double espresso with condensed milk and whipped sugar. Mariposa is great for coffee lovers and foodies in Santa Cruz.
Companion Bakeshop makes delicious sourdough bread and other baked goods with fresh organic ingredients. The bakery started in 2006 because of a friendly community and a passion for sourdough.
They use Cat & Cloud Coffee for every coffee and espresso drink. The baristas learn from Cat & Cloud staff, and they make all the drinks well. They also have loose-leaf tea from the Art of Tea and local Chai from Santa Cruz Chai Company.
Companion Bakeshop has pies, pastries, and special items for everyone. Some are gluten-free or nut-free.
Today, Companion Bakeshop has two places in Santa Cruz and Aptos, and more than 20 people work there. They also sell things like clothes and gifts from local makers.
Cafe Delmarette is a European-inspired cafe at 1126 Pacific Avenue in Santa Cruz. The cafe serves coffee prepared by Bay Area roasters and food from local organic purveyors. The menu boasts breakfast items, sandwiches, salads, and desserts from scratch.
The coffee menu changes occasionally, keeping things exciting for customers. Don’t miss out on the unique latte made with love! It can be enhanced with cardamom and honey or lavender syrup – simply divine! Tea enthusiasts will be pleased with the excellent tea selection, including iced tea and chai.
While the cafe might feel a tad crowded inside due to its small size, fear not! A spacious and inviting patio is out front, perfect for relaxing people-watching.
Overall, Cafe Delmarette is the go-to spot in town for grabbing a delicious coffee or a tasty meal made from local and organic ingredients.
Step into the Windmill Cafe, nestled within the Historic Lincoln Windmill building in Santa Cruz. You’ll find it by Twin Lakes Beach and Santa Cruz Harbor – a perfect spot to enjoy delicious meals with coffee in the beautiful surroundings.
Surrounded by blooming plants and flowers, the cafe exudes a peaceful and homely atmosphere. Notably, they warmly welcome dogs and even provide doggie treats!
Indulge in breakfast and lunch options catered to various dietary preferences. Vegetarians and gluten-free diners will have plenty to choose from.
Don’t miss their freshly baked gluten-free muffins and invigorating specialty coffee drinks. Visit The Windmill Cafe for a relaxing time with healthy food.
What types of coffee and espresso drinks find in Santa Cruz coffee shops?
You’ll find the full range of hot and cold coffee and espresso-based drinks at most Santa Cruz coffee shops. This includes drip coffee, pour-overs, cold brew, lattes, cappuccinos, macchiatos, and mochas. The baristas take great care in preparing each drink from high-quality beans. Many places also offer non-dairy milk alternatives.
What food and snacks are served at Santa Cruz coffee shops?
Most coffee shops have light food menus with baked goods, breakfast items, salads, sandwiches, and snacks. For baked goods, places like Companion Bakeshop, Lulu Carpenter’s, and Firefly Coffee House. Verve, Cat & Cloud, and Mariposa Coffee Bar also offer breakfast sandwiches and pastries.
Which Santa Cruz coffee shops sell beans I can take home?
Many specialty shops sell whole-bean coffee bags for home brewing. Santa Cruz Coffee Roasting, Verve Coffee Roasters, Cat & Cloud, and 11th Hour Coffee have single-origin beans and blends available on-site or online.
Which Santa Cruz coffee shops are good for studying or getting work done?
Some of the best coffee shops in Santa Cruz for studying include Verve Coffee Roasters, Cat & Cloud Coffee, and Lulu Carpenter’s. These spots have ample seating, strong wifi, and maintain a noise volume conducive to studying.
Note: Since all the information in this article is based on the date of publication, for some reason (health, economic, social), these businesses may be temporarily or permanently closed or moved to another location.