A Guide to Costa Mesa Coffee Shops
The dreamy manifestation of a vision initially conceived amidst the java farms of Uganda, Neat Coffee’s minimalistic yet delicately vibrant design makes it one of the prettiest Costa Mesa coffee shops there is. For all those Instagram connoisseurs of cuteness out there, you’ll find no shortage of subtle olive green verdure, amber-brown tones, and light hardwood floors bringing aesthetically satisfying life to this otherwise soft white interior. Neat is a multi-roaster shop carrying beans from some of the best roasters on the west coast, furthermore, seasonal syrups for delicious favorites such as the Honey Cinnamon Oat Milk Latte are handmade in-house and their almond milk is locally sourced.
Refreshingly spacious and harboring ample seating arrangements ranging in diversity from extended workbenches to cozy couches to cushioned barstools, you’re sure to discover the perfect workstation, no matter the number of people coming along, at MoonGoat Coffee Roasters. Power all that productive potential using any one of their responsibly sourced coffee blends, which feature flavorsome ingredients and playful names (e.g. Dark Side of the MoonGoat or Zing in Your Step).
This java house is also open later than most, making it a beacon for dubiously ingenious characters cursed by fruitful creativity that seems to appear amidst the twilight hours.
Proudly serving world-renowned Tectonic joe, Coffee Nature is a high vibe-having, plant-speckled cafe conveniently located in an unassuming strip mall off Bristol Street. Ownership changed hands in 2015 and since then the shop has undergone an undeniably beautiful remodel underscored by colorful skateboard decks, hanging woven chairs, and comfortable furnishings. Aside from unique specialties like the Chagaccino and universally cherished nitro cold-brew, they also offer a variety of breakfast options including mouthwatering toast toppings from avocado to prosciutto pesto.
Jeni woke up one morning, turned to her husband Oscar as they were laying in bed together, and stated with conviction, “I want to open a coffee shop!” After a long confused stare, he responded, “but we have no coffee shop experience.” She then giggled while explaining that drinking it three times a day was at least a good start! Thus this quaint, aesthetically glamorous gem prone to virality was born, complete with a signature cafe menu fit to impress any veteran java savant, hot “Bad Habits” neon signage, pretty pink tones, and a whole lot of attitude.
Take, for instance, the fashionable cups sporting artistically designed, pointedly humorous, Instagram-worthy terminology such as “Thirsty Bitch,” “Not Today Satan,” and “Don’t Be An Asshole.” This is all a part of the central focus here at Coffee Dose, which is to make our beloved California a much better place, in their own words, “one Anti-Bitch Serum at a time.” And in case you were wondering Karen, no, you cannot talk to the manager.
A sea shell’s throw away from bustling Orange Coast Community College and prestigious Vanguard University, Bad Coffee’s dependably knowledgable baristas have an endless supply of energy-deficient students heavily relying on their handcrafted, espresso-infused beverages around the clock. Sparse seating nearly exclusively available at the bartop establishes this java outpost – advantageously nestled along Harbor Boulevard at the intersection of the 405 and 55 freeways – as primarily suited for grab n’ go purposes but if you can snag a comfy stool, don’t miss out on that front-row seat to the magic befitting a neighborhood jewel among Costa Mesa coffee shops.
Portola Coffee Roasters is the brainchild of owner and roastmaster Jeff Duggan and his wife Christa. Every year, Jeff journeys to the far stretches of Africa, South America, and Central America in an effort to search the world over for the greatest quality coffee beans which, upon finding, he then serves at his numerous coffee houses throughout Orange County.
With their flagship location in Costa Mesa, and others in Tustin, Santa Ana, Old Towne Orange, Huntington Beach, and one most recently opened in Long Beach, Mr. and Mrs. Duggan have undoubtedly created something special. We’re just thankful they work so hard to share it with the rest of us!
Milk & Honey
The lively foliage touched, twinkling light spangled, rustic-looking Milk & Honey storefront beautifully blurs those boundaries between nature and the everyday bustle of life in beachside Orange County. Their outdoorsy vibe begins to make even more sense when considering the building is a part of The CAMP, which is a green, eco-friendly retail campus dedicated to an active, healthy lifestyle mindful of environmentalism and supportive of the local community. Venturing beyond the spiritual goodness of organic coffees and organic loose leaf teas you can also expect to find this intimately sized cafe serving shaved ice, frozen yogurt, refreshing fruit smoothies, and nutritious acai bowls.
The product of a coffee journey that originally began with small-batch roasting from home and frequently hosted pop-ups all over Orange County, Buenas Coffee captures aspects of Latino heritage and culture in a single delicious cup. For example, the Jugo Sánchez is essentially a Mexican Arnold Palmer, instead consisting of hibiscus tea and a specialty orangeade; their horchata is vegan and made from coconut sugar, brown rice, vanilla, and it’s topped with an orange garnish.
Nook Coffee Bar takes up residence within an artsy small business community/shopping mall known as The LAB, whose planners recognized the need for a trendy, unconventional hang-out packed with a wide array of cafes, restaurants, and retail shops that don’t belong to national brands. Needless to say, Nook is locally owned and features elevated takes on classic java favorites, furthermore, they do offer signature concoctions such as the Spanish Latte or Honey Lavender Latte. This storybook storefront flanked by outdoor rainbow benches is fairly petite inside, however, feel free to soak up some golden state sun rays out in their vegetation-filled, stone seat dotted, WiFi enriched garden.
Thunderking Coffee Bar is located within SOCIAL restaurant. Combined, they create what may be the most exhilarating experience of any of these spectacular Costa Mesa coffee shops; especially considering guests have a full-service mixologist-toting alcoholic bar at their discretion. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
Whether you choose to enjoy a cup of Thunderking’s artisan coffee while on your way to having a productive day or a cocktail from the bar because you’re feeling a bit more social, you can’t go wrong and you’ll always be left longing for a taste of the other.
If you enjoyed this guide to the best Costa Mesa coffee shops, be sure to check out our list of the Top 10 Coffee Shops in Orange County!