A Guide to Monterey Coffee Shops
Captain + Stoker Coffee
An aesthetically gifted hallmark among Monterey coffee shops, Captain + Stoker offers visitors java that’s been roasted fresh on-site, as well as an instagrammable side of vintage vibes underscored by bold earthy tones set against minimalistic white walls, a great big wooden slab table, gravity-defying bicycles floating throughout the space, and the cutest hanging light fixtures secured at the base of thick knotted ropes.
In the interest of preserving our Earth for future generations, they utilize cups, containers, straws, and lids that are all compostable, and similarly maintain a healthy selection of vegan options.
East Village Cafe
Taking up residence within a historic building that is over a hundred years old and made of chalk rock, East Village Cafe captures a cool urban feel while visually emphasizing the “East” in its name via gorgeous Himalayan art displays. The cafe is perhaps most known for making insanely good Chai, sourcing locally roasted organic coffee, and fostering an exceptional work environment, in the case a few productive hours on the laptop are necessary.
On the same patch of the Pacific that inspired the likes of Rickets & Steinbeck, you’ll find Tidal’s flagship coffee house, the perfect spot for a professional meeting, a working lunch, or a pick-me-up overlooking the beating waves of Monterey Bay. Their Golden Bean award-winning blends, fresh-baked pastries, and toasted paninis are made in-house daily.
Alta Bakery and Cafe
Set in downtown’s restored Cooper Molera complex – which dates back to 1827 and is the former home of the families who played in and built Monterey, from its early years as the political and commercial capital of Mexican Alta California, through the development of the State of California – Alta Bakery and Cafe is a bustling nod to the enduring spirit of our Golden State’s history and a prime destination for daytime dates, especially if you’re a fan of budding gardens, well-manicured courtyards, orchards, old picture-perfect wooden barns, 19th-century architecture, and educational museums.
Whether craving a specialty coffee beverage, house-made chai, unique pastries, avocado toasts, salmon toast, a glass of beer, or one of several flavorsome mimosas, this adorable adobe outpost has got you covered!
Plumes Coffee & Tea
A locally cherished java destination for over 20 years, Plume is one of the longest operating Monterey coffee shops on this list. Their spacious unit exudes an old-timey charm and in its past life was a jewelry store; rather resourcefully, the front’s U-shaped window display area has since been transformed into counter seating with impeccable views of things going by at the intersection of downtown’s two busiest streets – an FYI for all those ardent people watchers out there.
The team here specializes in slow drip coffee by the cup, has at their disposal over 35 different kinds of Fair Trade organic roasts, and serves exclusively organic teas.
Water + Leaves
Nestled among the shops lining Old Fisherman’s Wharf, overlooking the glistening Pacific Ocean, Water + Leaves’ design combines exciting harbor views with a dash of dreamy coastal flair. As boats of every size whisp on by, this wooden java outpost serves coffee, tea, all-natural honey, along with delightful breakfast dishes such as waffles, sandwiches, and pastries.
Water + Leaves is a great stop for energizing drinks whilst enjoying a long walk up and down the beach or to catch cool surfside breezes and watch boats cruise out to sea.
Paris Bakery Cafe
Beginning the moment you step inside, Paris Bakery Cafe transports you to France with the smell of fresh artisan breads, wooden furnishings, and authentic french decor. Feel free to dine on their petite streetside patio or take a short stroll down by the neighboring Del Monte beach for a romantic picnic near the sea. Either way, both are an ideal setting for a warm summer’s evening spent across from your special someone, and who knows what’ll taste sweeter, true loves kiss or the touch of cream on your lips after enjoying a delicate pastry – guess there’s only one way to find out.
Born and raised in Doué-la-Fontaine, France, the cafe’s owner Jackie Jegat began baking at just 16 years old, then served as a baker’s apprentice for a shop in Saumur, and after 24 months of apprenticeship, moved to Paris, where in 1978, at age 23, he opened his first bakery in Chatou, a suburb of the city. Jegat eventually moved to California in 1981 and several years later started Paris Bakery Cafe, which has been a beloved Monterey mainstay ever since.
The Wild Plum Cafe
Somewhat hidden on a side street just off the main drag, but easy to spot thanks to its red-orange doors, Wild Plum definitely has more of a cozy sit-down restaurant feel, and with that being said, offers guests the opportunity to enjoy a truly green culinary experience where they can taste the difference – from organic & locally sourced produce, hormone-free Diestel turkeys roasted on-site and grass-fed beef, to the house-baked bread and pastries. Only naturally, no pun intended, they also feature local organic coffee.
Acme Coffee Roasting Co
Just a rock’s skip from Monterey, in the neighboring community of Seaside, is ACME Coffee Roasting Co, an operation dedicated to lifting the smokescreen surrounding specialty coffee by offering its own delicious and affordable cup of morning luxury. The folks here are known for roasting clean-grown, fairly-traded, and the highest-ranking coffees, also keep in mind, beyond a couple of benches out front, there isn’t very much seating available, so perhaps plan to grab & relish elsewhere.
Old Monterey Cafe
Family-owned Old Monterey Cafe is practically tradition considering the restaurant has been serving locals and tourists alike wholesome dishes from its diverse, mouth-watering breakfast menu since opening in 1985. Bingo, this is the cozy abode where pancakes can dwarf the radius of a human face, plates are packed end to end with all the usual fixings, and charming knick-knacks and photographs adorn the walls.
If you enjoyed this guide to the best Monterey coffee shops, be sure to check out our list of the Top 10 Coffee Shops in Santa Cruz!