Orange County’s coffee shops are tucked into the most unassuming corners of suburbia — including industrial parks, luxury apartment complexes, strip malls, and outdoor plazas. Despite the sometimes-veiled storefronts, the experts who occupy these java shops beckon coffee lovers with an array of remarkable caffeinated experiences. Each of these spots can be pursued with the assistance of this map — and they’re well worth the effort. To discover the essential places to eat in Orange County, head over here.Read More
17 Remarkable Coffee Bars to Discover in Orange County
Caffeinate well with properly made lattes, cappuccinos, and coffee
Before opening Vacancy, Bonnie Williams and her husband were local surfers who craved a post-surf coffee stop. There happened to be a vacancy along PCH, and thus Vacancy was born. The owners have Australian origins, and therefore the flat white is veritably delicious, as are the iced maple latte and the Gothic mocha.
The Phin Smith space was designed to foster productivity and vibrancy among its patrons, and although this part of Garden Grove was relatively sleepy when the cafe was originally established, the city’s vivacity now spills into the dynamic space. The drinks mixed up by Phin Smith are as delectable as the atmosphere, but the Vietnamese iced coffee and coconut blended are fan favorites, inspired by the owners’ global travels.
This sunny spot is a true daydream and one-stop shop for beans, boards, and denim alike. While coffee memberships are common, Daydream offers its members access to a rotating quiver of 50 surfboards. It’s the ideal spot to pick up both a rose cardamom latte, as well as an ethically sourced, upcycled piece of fashion.
The MoonGoat mission statement is “People Product Place,” and while the product is fantastic, the priority is definitely people here. The aesthetic is friendly but not pristine and remains ever-adapting to the needs of the patrons and employees. The coffee shop supports students and creatives, as well as a culture of sobriety. And MoonGoat strives for greater sustainability through its coffee growers and distribution practices. For example, the coffee in a can is not only recyclable but refillable.
Kéan Coffee Artisan Roasters
An offspring of the Diedrich coffee family, Kéan is one of the few cafes in the area that roasts single-origin, globally sourced, green beans on-site. The roasting itself is done by a renowned roaster and cupper, while the bar is overseen by an award-winning barista. Coffee connoisseurs can anticipate an excellent cup of joe, be it a cappuccino, an espresso with seltzer back, or a nitrogen cold brew.
Kit allows coffee lovers a more creative way to get their daily caffeine intake through several specialty drinks. A strawberry Alarm Clock is a sweet start to the day, channeling the bliss of a strawberry milkshake while containing two shots of espresso and fresh strawberry puree. For an additional dopamine hit, Kit sells plants alongside its beverages.
Hopper & Burr
The Hopper & Burr brick-and-mortar is relatively unmarked, as it resides within Orange County’s first skyscraper. Within that historic building is a coffee powerhouse, operated by four brilliant baristas who really love espresso and all that it’s capable of. For a sample of what Hopper & Burr can do, the Litmus Tasting Flight is ideal, while the Campfire Cappuccino offers a multi-sensory experience. Come for the coffee but stay for the sustainably produced food items, like the ricotta toast, which is topped with vegan ricotta made using the remnants of house-made almond milk.
The ceiling of Stereoscope is adorned with a stunning Renaissance-style painting, although it requires 3D glasses to discern it. It’s a colorful contrast to the stark white, multi-textured backdrop of the walls, floor, and equipment. Stereoscope also has a NASA-designed pour-over system that factors human error into its consistency, while minimizing wait times. The combination of all of the above has garnered this coffee shop a reputation for its awe-inspiring design.
Contra Coffee and Tea
The bedrock of Contra is a mix of creativity and science, as designed by two Cal Poly college friends, Julie Nguyen and Paul Del Mondo. Nguyen is a true beverage scientist who uses her education and her experience to craft “beverage formulas.” Each drink is served cold, over ice, and with an oat milk base. Some come from a tap, while others are shaken. Because there’s no espresso to produce, baristas spend more time with visitors than with the beverage machine. And those who camp out in the cafe aren’t always tied to a laptop, but bring paints, paper, games, books, and other creative endeavors.
This coffee house was designed to rekindle a childhood love of dessert through an extensive coffee and pastry menu. Regardless of which season it is, the cafe offers an array of designated seasonal treats, a multitude of chai renditions, and a heavenly array of European pastries.
Although the location itself is complicated to find, the brand is easily recognizable by its cheeky slogans and plethora of pink. Plus, the spot is a popular watering hole for influencers, which means that even the dogs are dressed and ready for their close-ups. Dose was opened by a husband-and-wife duo who wanted to take their coffee addiction to the next level by serving it with a side of humor, which they do in every way possible — including calling the baristas “vibe dealers.”
Wall Writers Coffee
A dreamy and expansive space, with high ceilings, pop art, and warm lighting, Wall Writers is an easy spot to linger in for hours, which is exactly how it was designed and why there’s an assortment of seating options. As a bonus, the drinks, such as the ube matcha, are just as appealing as the ambiance.
Seven Seas Roasting Co.
Despite the walls and the logo, an American-style tattoo is not a prerequisite for entrance to this charming coffee shop; instead, all are welcome and greeted with resounding warmth from the staff. This is the type of place where employees know everyone’s name and all of the beverages are tasty, especially the lavender honey latte.
Maison Cafe + Market
Maison Café brims with sincerity, from the homemade cinnamon-doused cashew milk to the servers themselves. The spot is a full-service breakfast and lunch eatery owned by a powerhouse of a woman who’s not only a single mom, but an entrepreneur, restaurateur, and chef. And for every cup of joe sold, the dollars spent help Wild Goose Roasters accomplish its mission of supporting California food banks.
Hidden House Coffee
Located in a historic house on a picturesque street that feels utterly removed, this hidden gem is worth the venture. While the coffee menu is delicious and the pastries are baked in-house, it’s the good-heartedness of the owner that elevates this cafe to something truly unusual. Hidden House is owned by a local Marine, and the San Juan location has incidentally been dedicated to town veterans, as noted by the cafe’s Wall of Honor. There’s also local lore about the place bringing luck in love after multiple people, including the owner, fell in love on the front porch.
Mayfield is technically a Levantine-leaning restaurant and market, but its coffee program is fine-tuned and exceptional, grander than some cafes even. Neither a server nor a bartender would dare make a coffee here without months of training first. Mayfield’s owner, George Barker, is partial to the Fancy Man cappuccino (made with bourbon barrel-aged maple syrup and cinnamon, and topped with Maldon smoked sea salt) paired with sticky toffee pudding. Or for a nightcap, the Italian Job includes espresso, house-made soda water, and Italian Amaro.
As a rule, employees at ZebraHouse are hired based on their personalities and not on their skillsets. This results in a corresponding and palpable air of confident coolness. Try the breakfast sandwiches and the blended coffees, or discover the permanent “hidden” menu — all of which are easily attained via drive-thru or walk-up service.