A Guide to San Luis Obispo Coffee Shops
Near and dear to the heart of downtown, Scout’s Garden Street location is an aesthetic standout among San Luis Obispo coffee shops, taking into consideration its cute boho decor, exposed brick walls, white accents, wooden tabletops, touches of well-cared-for plant life, hanging art fixtures, and useful amenities for a productive workday.
This space embodies the real-life manifestation of one husband and wife duo’s decade-long dream and has been a treat for locals, tourists, and students alike since opening in 2014. The combination of scratch-made pastries, craft roasted coffee, and curated goods in a creative environment make stepping into Scout a memorable and magical experience.
Blending the vibrant cafe scene of Berlin’s Kreuzberg neighborhood with the chill breezy lifestyle of this central coast town, Kreuzberg California is a tantalizing java institution where you can grab a cappuccino in the morning, a sando at lunch, and then close up your laptop for cocktails with friends at night.
The coffee bar sits center stage and is surrounded by ample seating ranging from stools to armchairs to couches, colorful upside-down shaded lamp light fixtures, and daring wall art that contributes to an atmosphere perhaps most describable as old-world elegance harmoniously meets a tasteful grunge.
Two charming private study rooms that can be booked for between two and eight hours serve as the storefront’s window displays and worry not if those are unavailable as Kreuzberg California’s layout has no lack of nooks and crannies perfect for whatever the occasion may call for, whether conversing with friends or getting some alone time.
If you truly love and appreciate the art of fine java, there may be no better option than Coastal Peaks, the team here is passionate about micro-roasting the world’s finest gourmet coffees and has on hand some 75 different blends and varietals, including rare organic and fair trade coffees as well as Cup of Excellence coffees. Their comfortable lounge area offers plenty of seating, free WiFi, scrumptious pastries, and one of the few places in the nation where a guest can roast their own coffee or get coffee prepared by a Chemex, french press, cold brew, Air Press, Turkish, or siphon brewing method.
A beloved fixture of downtown, Linnaea’s Cafe maintains a relaxed yet lively atmosphere that is popular with businesspeople and students alike, providing a cozy refuge and welcome respite from busy city life. Upon discovering the tabletop dappled garden oasis tucked away behind this shop, one visitor wrote in heart-stopping fashion, “the lush courtyard – completely enclosed by creeping vines and patchwork bricks and concretes, textures and surfaces bleeding into one another randomly and without caution – is the most succulent private space I’ve been in California.”
Doubling as one of the city’s premier venues for live music, Linnaea’s host’s weekly events with some nights reserved for poetry, storytelling, artist receptions, weekly jazz jams, and monthly folk music jams (live performances have been put on hold due to the pandemic, check out their website or event calendar for updates).
The gorgeous artwork adorning the walls of the cafe is booked almost a year in advance. Every September a call for art is placed in the regional papers and on their social media. Having been a community hallmark since 1984 and voted “Best Hidden Gem” by Cal Poly students, Linnaea’s may just take the cake as the most locally immersive, homegrown SLO coffee shop there is.
Nestled among downtown storefronts, Kin is a visually refreshing break from albeit common minimalistic decor, this java outpost features jet black and olive green walls, vibrant plants hanging from above, dark tables sporting colorful doodles, and a hallway lined with many books. The team here specializes in brewing methods such as pour overs, siphons, aero press and Kyoto cold brews, and offer delectable espresso-infused house drinks such as the maple cinnamon sweetened Taking Back Monday and lavender hinted, chocolate enriched Valentine.
All things considered, Kin is a great place to spark conversation with staff, read a book from the readily available library, or admire some imaginative local art.
You can’t miss Libertine’s metallic gray exterior on the corner of Broad and Pacific Streets, which is just off the main drag. Whilst stepping through their roll-up, garage-style front door guests are greeted with the invigorating aroma of Slake Coffee, the mouthwatering sight of iconic breakfast burritos (vegan option available), scrumptious pastries, Mighty leaf teas, and the delightful opportunity to kick back, relax, and enjoy house-brewed beer.
Nautical Bean is a family-owned favorite among San Luis Obispo coffee shops, their Parker Street location offers a spacious environment – with creative accents, ample mismatched seating arrangements, and free WiFi – that’s ideal for working beyond the sometimes all too familiar comforts of home. Aside from delicious specialty coffee drinks, they put together exceptional sandwiches, a rockin’ chicken & cabbage salad, and a fantastic raspberry dressing topped feta chicken, among other daylight hour dishes.
Named after the noble beast who helped one fabled old man “liberate” coffee beans from his nearest ship dock, Black Horse Espresso has two San Luis Obispo coffee shops, each providing a fun and comfortable atmosphere where members of the community can hang out and enjoy a great cup of coffee. In addition to handcrafted caffeinated beverages, teas, freezes, and hot chocolate, be sure to try their famous fresh baked goods prepared daily by an in-house pastry chef.
Owned and operated by a dynamic husband and wife duo with 20 years combined experience in the java industry, Field Day is an up-and-coming specialty coffee company proudly serving Little Wolf and Sey Coffee roasters, Mizuba Matcha, and Soul Chai. Their wholesome digs on Monterey Street serve as an aesthetic treat accentuated by white walls, light wooden tables, cute potted plants, and a wonderful selection of merch and other goodies.
This java tale started long ago with a bought and refurbished food truck named Polly. For three years, the founder of Lucy’s traveled up and down California’s shimmering central coast, enjoying her part in caffeinating people at work, weddings, and special events. Since these humble beginnings, Polly has been put to rest as a new brick and mortar store named Lucy’s is brought to life, and we can assure you, the latter isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Alongside flavorful coffee drinks made from locally roasted beans, guests can expect to find foods made with organic or local ingredients whenever possible, including artisan toasts, oatmeal, fruit, muffins, and more.
If you enjoyed this guide to the best San Luis Obispo coffee shops, be sure to check out our list of the Top 10 Coffee Shops in Fresno!