Cool Beans: 25 Top Coffee Shops
“How do you take your coffee?” Seriously though. Is there anything better than a good cup of coffee? For me, it’s the definition of a simple pleasure. My idea of happiness is a well-made, no-frills latte: two shots of delicious espresso stained with milk foamed velvety smooth. But it’s also the coffee shop itself. The aroma that lives in the very walls. And the sounds! The whooshing steam, the grinding beans, the clinking of cups and glasses. It’s always the warmest place in wintertime, all steamy and cozy. Friendly faces of the baristas who sling those beans for you, your comfortable chair, the spot by the window, the cool music, the baked goods, the artwork on the walls. Voila! A simple cup of coffee becomes a religion. Café culture! With so many wonderful local spots, we thought we’d run down the best of the best, perhaps shout out your current favorite, or introduce you to a new love of your life.
Located in Old Town Auburn, The Pour Choice is a third-wave craft coffee bar and taproom serving java, craft beers, and wonderful wines. The coffee is killer (we recommend the cortado: half espresso, half velvety smooth milk), the loaded banana bread is a must (hello, fresh banana and peanut butter between two slices of banana bread!), and the three levels of seating with not one but two patios make it the perfect hang! 177 Sacramento Street, Auburn, 530-820-3451, thepourchoice.com
Bru Coffee House in Loomis is a coffee shop with purpose. As part of the nonprofit EveryONE Matters Ministries (everyonemattersministries.com), their profits go directly toward helping those experiencing situational homelessness in the community. And the coffee is, of course, excellent. A low-key favorite is the midnight mocha, a rich tasty drink that’s as dark as a winter’s night. And make sure to grab a pastry or a scone, too: They’re baked locally! 3565 Taylor Road, Loomis, 916-251-7105, everybru.com
Downtown Loomis is getting a glow-up thanks to Smithville & Co.! There’s specialty coffee, like the iced Mexican mocha that is already a local favorite, a Bavarian pretzel charcuterie (swoon!), loaded toasts and pastries aplenty, plus protein smoothies. Along with live music, pop-ups, and the Instagramable décor, there’s really no reason not to fall in love with this coffee shop newbie! 3637 Taylor Road, Loomis, 916-390-0877
Auburn’s Baked & Brewed has all the reasons for you to keep coming back: fresh-baked pastries seven days a week, delicious coffee, a rotating array of local artwork on display, and a pretty patio. Dig into their extensive breakfast and lunch menu, and you’ll find so much gold, like their famous bail out bagel: eggs and cheese with your choice of ham, sausage, or bacon on any one of their delicious bagels (we hear great things about the jalapeño!). 958 Lincoln Way, Auburn, 530-889-1373, auburn-ca.wixsite.com/baked-n-brewed
Pause Coffee House, the Fair Oaks favorite, has expanded to Rocklin. Their honey lavender latte is well-loved for obvious reasons, and we know in our hearts that the sweet crêpe with Nutella will be everyone’s favorite eventually, because we’re personally going to drive around in a van with a loudspeaker and let the people know. Because WOW. 2168 Sunset Boulevard, Rocklin, 916-787-5676; 8121 Madison Avenue, Suite A-1, Fair Oaks, 916-241-9483, pausecoffee.house
Edwin's Coffee & Tea is a Rocklin mainstay. Between house-roasted beans and Mom’s house-made pastries, locals are in love. In addition to the always-great coffee on offer, we have it on good authority that their poppyseed muffin is the one to beat. However, the quiche gets a lot of raves as well, so we’re committed to trying all the baked goods just to make sure. 2600 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 108, Rocklin, 916-632-9753
Abraham Lincoln’s endorsement of Roseville’s Fourscore Coffee is still pending, but the café’s brown sugar latte is truly presidential in its greatness. And look closely at the Lincoln Memorial statue: Is his hand clutching one of Fourscore’s delicious jalapeño cheddar scones? Who’s to say? The important thing is that he would be because they’re that good. 325 Lincoln Street, Roseville, 916-390-0367, fourscorecoffee.com
West Roseville’s MoJoe's Café does it all: strong coffee, hearty breakfasts, fresh-baked pastries, sandwiches, and ice cream, not to mention an ever-rotating array of fun events and classes. With an upstairs area and a shared patio with kitchen747, there’s really no reason to stay at home. You can’t keep us away from their signature snickerdoodle latte, and don’t blame us if you fall in love with their homemade cinnamon roll or best-selling bacon breakfast burrito. Just invite us to the wedding. 2330 Pleasant Grove Boulevard, Roseville, 916-742-4729, mojoesroseville.com
Roseville’s Shady Coffee & Tea is something of a hidden gem. Between the great coffee, the homemade pastries (we’re looking at you, apple turnover), drive-thru, and the seasonal drinks (peppermint white chocolate mocha and gingerbread latte, to name a few), they’ve earned the devotion of their local customers. Plus, they host regular open-mic nights and are known for their dog-friendly patio. 325 Douglas Boulevard, Roseville, 916-742-4117, shadycoffeeandtea.com
The “shakerato” at Roseville’s beloved Bloom Coffee & Tea is an exciting pick-me-up with two shots of espresso pulled long to bring out the bitterness, shaken over ice, and balanced with vanilla syrup—yes, it’s better than an alarm clock! And their breakfast burrito is the bee’s knees: applewood smoked bacon, roasted potatoes, two eggs, cilantro pesto, and jack cheese (the vegan version is equally delicious, too!). 1485 Eureka Road, Suite 100, Roseville, 916-773-2332, bloomcoffee.com
Chocolate Fish Coffee Roasters—which has locations in Folsom, East Sacramento, Land Park, and inside select Raley’s—was recently honored as a “2023 Roaster of the Year” finalist in Roaster Magazine (only three roasters in North America made the list!). In addition to their award-winning, house-roasted beans, they make some pretty good, and pretty to look at, beverages, too: including one of the Southern Hemisphere’s favorites: a flat white (if you know, you know). Espresso aside, you can also settle in for some delicious food: pastries, breakfast sandwiches, and avocado toasts, oh my. 25055 Blue Ravine Road, Folsom, 916-358-9950, chocolatefishcoffee.com
Coffeehouse-aesthetic and indie music is alive and well at The Fig Tree Coffee Art & Music Lounge in Downtown Roseville, thanks to live tunes from local bands four nights a week including open-mic Saturdays. Plus, they serve supremely good coffee and tea. Try the bowl of soul (chamomile tea steeped in milk with honey and chocolate drizzle) and the individual fig pies; both may just be the keys to happiness. 222 Vernon Street, Roseville, 916-771-7010, figtreecoffee.com
From humble beginnings in a garage, Kingdom Coffee Roasters has been making Folsom’s coffee dreams come true since 2016. (Personal anecdote: My trusted coffee-nerd friend was an early adopter of Kingdom and from day one, he raved about how good the coffee was. He was right!). Minimalism is the key to the Kingdom: great house-roasted beans, brewed to perfection and crafted into the pearl latte (among others): a sweetly cozy combination of espresso, sweetened condensed milk, and steamed milk that you won’t soon forget. Plus, there’s great breakfast sandwiches and avocado toast, delicious pastries from Estelle’s Bakery & Pâtisserie, and the chillest good vibes around. 305 Iron Point Road, Folsom, kingdomcoffeeroasters.com
Sacramento favorite Temple Coffee has expanded to Folsom—serving up finely crafted coffees and teas along with house-roasted beans and locally made pastries. The vibe is thoughtful and delicious—no bells, no whistles—just good coffee in cool environs. We’re a fan of the gibraltar (a delicate balance of espresso and milk), and if the Samoa donut is on offer, shoot your shot because you will not be disappointed. 2776 East Bidwell Street, Suite 500, Folsom, 916-293-8305, templecoffee.com
Folsom mainstay Coffee Republic started business way back in 1991 (remember 1991? Back when customers carried Filofaxes instead of iPhones.) They’ve come a long way baby! The patio is as spacious as ever, and the tiramisu-flavored latte is still a fan favorite, along with the innovative breakfast entrées, like their signature “CR” avocado toast with everything seasoning and Mike’s Hot Honey on sourdough. Welcome to the future, where we love hot honey! 6610 Folsom-Auburn Road, Folsom, 916-987-8001, coffeerepublicfolsom.com
World Traveler Coffee Roasters is spreading the love far and wide, with three locations—in Roseville, Folsom, and El Dorado Hills—ensuring that great coffee is always nearby! The house-roasted beans must be one reason folks keep coming back, along with the great handcrafted espresso drinks (rose vanilla latte, anyone?). And, we just have to say it: The eclairs and mousse cakes made by their in-house chef are as beautiful to behold as they are to put into your belly. Straight from a Paris window, these delights are true works of art, so make sure you visit in person. Pick a location and move in! 603 East Bidwell Street, Suite A, Folsom, 916-932-4563; 4364 Town Center Boulevard, El Dorado Hills, 916-817-1435; 106 North Sunrise Avenue, Suite C7, Roseville, 916-297-7919, worldtravelercoffee.com
El Dorado Hills’ Double Shot Coffee Bar is one of the newer café kids on the block, opened in August 2022. Family-owned, they’re serving up great craft coffee, including the con panna: a double shot of espresso completed with the perfect amount of whipped cream. Delish! There’s also home-made pastries and cookies (we have it on good authority that the mixed berry scone is “the one”) and every Californian’s favorite: avocado toast. 3381 Bass Lake Road, Suite 100, El Dorado Hills, 916-468-6998, doubleshotcoffeebar.com
Caffé Santoro in Diamond Springs is keeping the Foothill region warm and toasty with handcrafted coffee drinks and breakfast sandwiches galore. And if you brew at home, they’ve got the hookup: They roast their very own coffee beans. On the beverage front, we love their Mexican mocha, made with Azteca D’Oro 1519 spiced ground chocolate and laced with cocoa liquor, real vanilla, almond, and cinnamon. If you’re feeling fancy, try their “Big S” premium mocha with Ghirardelli dark chocolate. (Yum!) Food wise, the choices are vast, but the “bre” breakfast sandwich is a hot favorite, with eggs, avocado, tomatoes, cream cheese, basil pesto, and bacon on your choice of bagel. And if you’re still hungry after all that, treat yourself to a scoop of ice cream; don’t miss dollar scoop Wednesdays! 93 Pleasant Valley Road, Diamond Springs, 530-350-9335, caffesantoro.com
Depoe Bay Coffee Company has been roasting their own beans in Downtown Auburn for over 20 years. Their peanut butter mocha is to die for (do we really need to explain why?) and among their many pastries and sandwiches on offer, the sunrise bagel is worth waking up for: melty cheese and scrambled eggs on your choice of one of their many delicious bagels, with ham, bacon, or sausage. 893 High Street, Auburn, 530-889-1021, depoebaycoffee.com
Foxwood Coffee has been holding it down in Shingle Springs since 2016 with killer coffee and great food. Their vanilla lavender latte will take the chill off the Foothill mornings, and with so much breakfast fare to choose from you’ll eat good in the neighborhood for weeks! Our favorite is the Tuscan sunrise burrito (scrambled eggs, spicy sausage, feta, hashbrowns, salsa, spicy aioli, and Southwest chipotle pesto)—all lightly pressed on the grill for extra crunch. 4068 Mother Lode Drive, Suite A, Shingle Springs, 530-350-7393, foxwoodcoffee.com
From their beginnings inside Smith Flat House to their current Diamond Springs’ location, Love Birds Coffee & Tea has been bringing a taste of Italy to the foothills since 2016. Modeled on a classic Italian coffee shop, their baked goods are all made in-house (never say no to their homemade biscotti or cannoli), along with the chocolate sauce, butter caramel, spiced chai, and flavored syrups. The breakfast menu is on-point, too: We’re all about the meat lover’s wrap (eggs, sausage, bacon, potatoes, spinach, tomatoes, and green onions), but they also kettle boil their own bagels, so…um, good luck choosing between those. In addition to their spacious courtyard and huge restaurant, they also have a convenient drive-thru for folks on the go. Pronto! 4181 Highway 49, Suite 100, Diamond Springs, 530-300-9891, lovebirdscoffeeandtea.com
With two busy locations in Placerville, drive-thru-only The Bean Barn packs a lot of flavor, fun, and friendly faces into a small footprint. Favorites include the toffee coffee, Aztec mocha, and the black & white; and don’t pass up seasonal hits like the caramel apple cold foam. Between the great service and delicious coffee, they’ll keep you moving! 4531 Missouri Flat Road, Placerville, 530-621-0602; 428 Placerville Drive, Placerville, 530-622-2758, beanbarn.org
In May, Sacramento’s Pachamama expanded to Placerville in the location formerly occupied by Totem Coffee; and they’ve already won hearts, minds, and stomachs. The farmer-owned, organic coffee bar and roastery serves up house-roasted beans, handcrafted drinks (like their popular honey bear latte made with local wildflower honey), and choose-your-own-adventure bagels with everything from herbed cream cheese to coconut peanut butter, plus avocado, banana, tofu, prosciutto—anything your heart desires. Don’t miss the gluten-free muffins and daily special donuts, too. 312 Main Street, Suite 104, Placerville, 530-303-3845, pachamamacoffee.com
Big Wave Coffeehouse is bringing the aloha spirit to what was formerly Cooper’s Coffee in Folsom, thanks to iced matcha lattes with ube cold foam (ube’s a Japanese sweet potato and an exciting trend in coffee!), Hawaiian-themed sweet treats (courtesy of Kalani Kakes), and a delicious range of ono soda blends if you’re veering off the caffeinated path (add a sprinkle of li hing mui for a taste that is pure paradise). 189 Blue Ravine Road, Suite 130, Folsom, 916-351-5889, bigwavecoffeehouse.com
Just about a year ago, Historic Folsom’s Sociology Coffee Bar was serving java inside Escape Folsom; now, they have their own sweet patio! Their baker’s tonic had us at hello: espresso, sweet potato casserole syrup (yep!), condensed milk, sparkling water, and ice. Hello, indeed. They also serve house-roasted beans, scratch-made sourdough bread for killer avocado toast, plus breakfast tacos; in summary: There’s endless good vibes streaming out of this place 24/7. 705 Gold Lake Drive, Suite 390, Folsom, sociologycoffeebar.com
Hot Shots: Barista Spotlight
Roaster at Pachamama
Top tip for brewing coffee at home? Invest in a Burr grinder, use fresh beans, and think about what water you’re using.
What are you looking for in a good cup of coffee? For me, coffee tastes best when it’s sustainable and the farmers are supported… essentially a thoroughly balanced cup (with a nice view)!
Favorite coffee drink? It’s a toss-up between an oat milk cappuccino and a pour over.
Favorite method for brewing coffee? Aeropress. It’s super simple, has a huge range of what it can brew, and is portable.
Barista at Sociology Coffee Bar
Top tip for brewing coffee at home? Consistency is key. If you’re going to change anything, change one thing at a time—whether dose, grind setting, or water temperature—then give it a try before changing another.
What are you looking for in a good cup of coffee? I’m always looking for a tasty balance of sweetness and acidity.
Favorite coffee drink? A cappuccino—full flavor of espresso with just a few ounces of milk.
Favorite method for brewing coffee? The Orea—a flat-bottomed brewer with a very high flow rate that provides lots of flavor clarity and intensity.
Barista at World Traveler Coffee Roasters
Top tip for brewing coffee at home? Find something that works for you (it doesn’t have to be expensive) and be consistent with your brewing method. Make small adjustments until you’re able to dial in what you like; you don’t have to have top-tier equipment to get a good result!
What are you looking for in a good cup of coffee? I’m always looking for coffee that’s well-balanced with sweetness, acidity, and a pleasant bitterness; I want to be able to detect clearly defined flavor notes. I personally try to find the sweetness first and work everything else around that.
Favorite coffee drink? A cappuccino. The balance of the small amount of milk and foam with the espresso never misses.
Favorite method for brewing coffee? Pour over (I usually use a Chemex). It's simple and straightforward, and I can fine-tune each brew to my preference.
by Sharon Penny
The Pour Choice photo David Thuman @david.thuman. Mojoe's Café photo by Mackenzie Hilton. Shady Coffee & Tea photo by Jayson Angove. The Fig Tree Coffee Art & Music Lounge photo by Patrick Sheehan. Bloom Coffee & Tea photo by Mickey Baggett. Chocolate Fish Coffee Roasters photo courtesy of Chocolate Fish Coffee Roasters. Double Shot Coffee Bar photo by Kunlayakorn McCarthy. Temple Coffee photo by Justin Posey. World Traveler Coffee Roasters photo courtesy of World Traveler Coffee Roasters. Caffe Santoro photo by Tori A. Murphy. Love Birds Coffee & Tea photo by Laura Taber-Robbins. Pachamama photo by Rosa Angelica. Big Wave photo by Dallas Smith Photography. Sociology Coffee Bar photos coutesy of Sociology Coffee Bar. Other photos by Taylor Gillespie ©stylemediagroup.
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