Best Coffee Shops in SB
If you are a coffee fanatic, then I am sure you have tried many of the coffee shops that Santa Barbara has to offer. We are fortunate to have many aesthetically pleasing places where high school students, college students, and adults can go to have a delicious drink, work on homework, or get together with friends to have a chat. The definition of “good coffee” is different for everyone, but here are some favorite shops not only for the taste of their coffee, but also the atmosphere.
The French Press is a great place to go to chill out and do homework, either by yourself or with friends. The staff there is friendly and welcoming, and it is my personal favorite place to go to when I need a quick caffeine pick-me-up. Out of all the coffee shops and places to grab a drink, The French Press has the best tasting lattes and cups of coffee. There is one in Goleta on Storke Avenue, and two downtown: one on State Street and the other on Anacapa Street. The milk to coffee ratio is perfect if you are looking for a stronger tasting cup. They also offer milk alternatives such as almond milk, oatmilk, and soy milk. Unlike some coffee shops, they have a case of pastries and bagels made fresh that morning, and they offer delicious thick pieces of toast with avocado, raspberry jam, or homemade almond butter and honey on top.
Runner up to The French Press is Handlebar Coffee Roasters. There are two locations, one on De La Vina Street and the other on Canon Perdido Street downtown. Both are very busy usually, but the Handlebar near downtown is a little less busy than the other. Handlebar on De La Vina has a more rustic vibe, while the other one is homey and quiet. They roast their own beans, and the machine is displayed so you can watch the staff roast them in the morning, giving the coffee shop a delicious aroma. Their lattes have a milkier taste than I like, but they are still delicious, the second best in town. They even offer Affogato Milkshakes, coffee blended with ice cream, for a sweeter treat. Everyday they serve avocado toast with eggs, salads, yogurt parfaits, scones, and croissants, and on the weekends there are brunch specials. All are delicious.
“Coffee shops are not only great to go to when I need to really focus on my school work, but they have good drinks too,” said junior Max Kadlec. “My favorite drink is a vanilla latte, which I usually get from Handlebar, because it doesn’t taste too much like coffee.”
If you are looking for a specialty coffee and are bored of the regular black coffee or lattes, Crushcakes Cafe located on State Street or in Goleta on Hollister is a great option. Both offer delicious cupcakes, breakfast and lunch options, but their specialty coffees are also amazing. Their regular coffee and lattes are not the best, usually too watery for those who like strong coffee. However, their Cinnamon Honey Latte or the Dark Side Mocha Latte are dangerously delicious and will get you addicted. The Crushcakes Cafe in Goleta has a cute cafe vibe with outside seating under beautiful trees, a peaceful place to work and drink a delicious specialty coffee.
“Crushcakes and Handlebar are the two best in town,” said senior Tristan Depew. “I’m obsessed with the Darkside Mocha from Crushcakes and the lattes from Handlebar. If you don’t go to either, you are missing out.”
Places like Goleta Coffee and Java Station have great atmospheres especially for those who need a place to study, but their coffee is not so great, especially when comparing prices. These shops tend to be overpriced, considering that their coffee lacks flavor, and alternative milks cost extra. Yes, most coffee shops have raised their prices for lattes, specialty drinks, and now charge more for oat milk or almond milk, but the quality of coffee makes it worth the money.
There are so many different coffee shop options to choose from, so if you are looking for a new place to hangout with friends, drink some delicious coffee, or do homework, any of these coffee shops are great.