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A Local’s Guide to Santa Cruz Coffee Shops: Part 2

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCSC chapter.

It’s been over a year since my last local’s guide to coffee shop article, so I thought it was time to update that list. It helps that some new shops have opened up. And with UCSC campus having severely limited dining options for coffee, check out these shops to study for finals or to take a much needed break.

11th Hour Westside

Where: 402 Ingalls St, Suite 19, in the cutest little shopping section

Vibe: Look, I know that I put 11th Hour in the first article, BUT WESTSIDE IS DIFFERENT! The new westside location is a small store, with only a few tables inside, but a large outdoor seating area. The drink menu is mostly the same, with new additions of wine, beer and mimosas (!!), but the food is different (and better in my opinion). This new location gets all of their food from Kelly’s Bakery, a Santa Cruz staple. And boy are their sourdough bagels my favorite thing on the planet right now. 11th Hour Westside is open and airy, with a much more laid back, neighborhood vibe then the og store.

Barista’s Pick: Nitro London Fog. The perfect drink for someone who doesn’t want a ton of caffeine or wants to change up their normal coffee order. This vanilla earl grey tea latte is chilled and tapped, giving you a uber smooth and delicious cold drink.

Flower Bar

Where: 912 Cedar Street Santa Cruz, CA 95060, across the street from Penny’s ice cream

Vibe: This new store doubles as a flower shop and cafe, and is super modern. Black walls with gold details make the flowers really pop. They serve coffee, tea, beer, and wine, also doing a weekend brunch! Flower Bar has tons of indoor seating, not much outside. The store also makes a commitment to sustainability, locally sourcing all their flowers and using non toxic materials. Highly recommend if you want to treat yourself or someone you love!

Barista’s Pick: Their latte with rose syrup. The rose adds a sweet, delicate flavor to go along with your new flowers.

Firefly Coffee House

Where: Two locations, one downton and the other on the eastside.

Vibe: Firefly is a staple in Santa Cruz. They serve good coffee and even better bagels. Definitely a more hole in the wall kind of place, but we all know that they always have the best drinks. The interior is super bright and eclectic, making it an inviting space. They also are on doordash! So if you are craving a bagel and coffee, you don’t even have to leave your home.

Barista’s Pick: A chai latte (made from local Santa Cruz Chai) and their breakfast bagel. Yum!

Tabby Cat Cafe

Where: 1101 Cedar St, in downtown.

Vibe: This small but mighty coffee shop is a local’s favorite. This shop offers a phenomenal pour over menu, offering customers the chance to try new and well made coffee you can’t find anywhere else. The menu also includes a large selection of tea, coffee shop staples like lattes and mochas, and locally sourced food. They pride themselves on being a community gathering place, displaying local artists and having free movie screenings! Its a smaller shop, with limited seating inside and only one or two tables outside.

Barista’s Pick: One of their pour over coffees. I’m partial to a Costa Rican bean, but chat with the barista to pick one that you’ll enjoy the most.

Companion Bakeshop

Where: They have two locations, the one in town is on Mission St. 

Vibe: Okay so technically, this isn’t a coffee shop, it’s a bakery. But anyone who’s gotten coffee from a bakery knows that their drinks just hit different, and Companion is no exception. I love Companion, it’s super cute and open, and everyone who works there is amazing. They don’t have a ton of indoor seating, but they do have huge picnic tables in the front for customers. They serve Cat & Cloud beans which, if you read my last coffee shop article, you know are really freaking good beans. A great place to go if you want to treat yourself, they will not disappoint.

Barista’s Pick: A hot latte with whatever pastry is fresh. Talk with one of their bakers to see if they have any seasonal treats!

Hi y'all! I'm Elise and I'm a History and Politics double major and Classical Studies minor. When I'm not holed up in the library, I love to hike, journal, make coffee, and wander through museums.