Looking for the best coffee in town? Over the past few years at UC Irvine, I’ve discovered several wonderful coffee shops scattered throughout the neighborhood. Some were a bit more well-known, but there were also hidden gems only known by the locals. Here is a list of some of my favorites, as well as a couple coffee shops I’m longing to visit.
1. Krisp Fresh Living
I first found out about Krisp Fresh Living last spring, when a friend invited me to share a farewell cup of coffee before graduation. Maybe it was the atmosphere of the coffee shop or maybe it was the good company, but whenever I think of Krisp Fresh Living, I am reminded of this heartwarming experience. Since then, it’s been one of my favorite coffee shops to meet up and study. I’ve tried their honey lavender latte and pistachio rose latte, both of which were made to perfection, however, their blueberry matcha latte smelled delicious as well.
2. Portola Coffee Roasters
Portola Coffee Roasters is one of the more well-known and established coffee shops in Socal. I would visit Portola Coffee Roasters for the hip vibes, high-quality brewed coffees, and to simply kill some time on the weekend. Since the closest Portola Coffee Roasters is located at The District in Tustin, you will most likely find yourself in a bustling environment with people on the go left and right. However, if that doesn’t bother you, plug in your earbuds and be sure to try their refreshing cold brew coffee.
3. Thunderking Coffee Bar
Located in SOCIAL within Costa Mesa, Thunderking Coffee Bar is a spot you’ll want to visit if you’re looking for a fun day out with a group of friends. Their unique menu is comprised of a number of snappy drinks, each named to make you crack a smile. For instance, they offer the Papaya Don’t Preach, a cold brew with papaya syrup, oat milk, honey, and coffee. ;) They also offer a number of vanilla and mocha lattes.
4. BLKdot Coffee
Located in the Irvine Google building complex, this coffee shop offers a hip, modern atmosphere for anyone looking for a creative spot to work. Their Vietnamese coffee, known for its intensely sweet but strong coffee flavor, is my top recommendation if you’re looking for a caffeine rush to keep you up throughout the night. Otherwise, I would settle for a drink from their variety of espressos, lattes, and sea salt coffee.
5. Paris Baguette
Typically known for their butter croissants and Danishes, Paris Baguette also offers a variety of coffee drinks to their customers. Last weekend, I had stumbled into this quaint bakery located just along Barranca Parkway and ordered a café latte. I was surprised to find that they were having a bogo promotion that day! As a result, I was able to share a delicious latte with my roommate.
6. Urth Caffe
I had fallen in love with Urth Café early on in my high school years. As the years progressed, my love for their Spanish lattes and matcha green tea lattes have only grown stronger. If you’re looking for a scenic brunch spot, I would suggest visiting their Laguna Beach or Pasadena locations.
7. Tru Bru Organic Coffee
Tru Bru Organic Coffee is located right in the heart of Orange County, along Chapman Avenue. If you’re looking for a lively, cheerful spot to enjoy a cup of coffee, this is your spot. They offer a variety of drip coffees, cold brews, and lattes. Some of their most popular drinks include their mochas, cold brews, drip coffee, and chai teas/lattes.
8. Bad Coffee
Bad Coffee is one of the coffee shops I’m very interested in visiting, so stay tuned because I’m actually planning to make a visit tomorrow morning. Just based off of online reviews and suggestions from friends, I am curious about their cappuccinos and lattes, so you can only guess what I’ll be ordering.
9. 7 Leaves Café
If you’re looking for a casual spot to grab a cup of coffee or tea to go, 7 Leaves Café is your place! I would recommend ordering their handcrafted House Coffee or Sea Salt Black Coffee if you’re looking for a quick wake-me-up. Although they have multiple locations across Socal, the closest shop to UCI students is right along Jeffrey Road.
10. Bodhi Leaf Coffee Traders
Bodhi Leaf Coffee Traders is yet another coffee shop I am longing to visit. Located throughout Orange County, this modernized coffee shop offers a variety of iced cold brews, lattes, and teas. If I did have the opportunity to visit, I would bet that their cinnamon, rose or pumpkin spice lattes would be one for the books.