A Guide to Santa Barbara Coffee Shops
Established in 2011 by a dynamic husband and wife duo who in their past lives competed as professional cyclists all over the globe, Handle Bar Coffee Roasters has grown to become a hallmark among Santa Barbara coffee shops. Especially that great big java sanctuary they operate on De La Vina, taking up residence inside a warehouse-type space, the airy environment exudes a rustic-industrial charm dappled with low hanging teal light fixtures, plenty of wooden tabletops, and lively tile patterns; that’s not to mention its well-curated selection of specialty wine and beer!
Near and dear to the heart of downtown, this quaint, aesthetically gifted State Street cafe offers a cozy atmosphere that is suitable for a quick facemelter espresso at the bar or hanging out on the elevated patio and sipping on your cappuccino while people watching. Since hatching in the creative minds of two founders who once worked as baristas nearby, Dune has matured into a full-scale coffee roastery, bakery (with vegan options), and passionate team that thrives on making days.
Referred to locally as RoCo, Santa Barbara Roasting Company first opened back in 1989, and ever since then, this has been an organization deeply committed to providing people with the finest estate grown coffees from around the world as well as the highest level of customer service possible. Stepping through the shop’s front door gives way to a spacious interior featuring high, elegant ceilings, ample seating, exposed brick walls, a beautiful mural overhead, and depending on the day of the week, the sights and aromas associated with a fresh batch of flavorsome coffee being slow-roasted.
On that note, you can expect to find over 70 varieties of coffee here, including blends, single origins, flavored, decaf, and naturally grown.
Known for their several aesthetically vibrant Santa Barbara coffee shops, by way of picturesque courtyard experience, Caje’s State Street location is a standout certainly worth exploring. The dazzling cafe showcases verdure wrapped white walls, long flowing drapes and arched hallways, a soothing water fountain center stage, crafty wooden furnishings among numerous cute seating arrangements, dimly-lit lampposts, lush exotic plant life, a few fireplaces, and an overall paradisical setting where you and even your furry four-legged friend can soak in some more lavish California sun rays.
Let the good vibes roll with one of their photogenic, non-alcoholic coffee cocktails like the bourbon-pecan sweetened Burnout and flower garnished Bella Rose. On a final note, the property is used as a private events venue, therefore it may close early on some days.
This palm-tree encircled, white stucco building, sporting iconic black and white striped awnings, houses a shop just large enough to fit a roaster, espresso bar, and a takeout counter. Thus, stripped of any unnecessary elements, it goes without saying, coffee quality and customer experience are always at the forefront of Low Pigeon’s day-to-day operations.
If you do need a place to chill out for a bit, just outside, a cool shaded patio with cafe tables and chairs awaits.
In December of 1995, the folks at The Daily Grind opened their doors inside the former home of a Shell gas station that they had transformed into a unique and quirky coffeehouse; furthermore, they have another location taking up residence inside what looks to have been a Taco Bell.
Though, breathing new life into longtime hubs of the neighborhood comes second to keeping this coastal town well fueled and moving forward via delicious white chocolate mochas, fresh veggie juices, and sweet fruit smoothies, among other energizing caffeinated and non-caffeinated beverages.
The Daily Grind makes a conscious effort to give back year after year by supporting various local schools, non-profit organizations, medical foundations, and as many youth league sports as possible.
Part of a recently-built office plaza on Hollister Avenue and flanked by eye-catching teal umbrellas and patio furnishings, Dean is a modern daytime lounge featuring mellow tunes, big glass windows that fill the space with lots of natural light, and the perfect peaceful ambiance for zoning in on some assignments or catching up with a friend. A few beloved favorites at this hard to come by amalgamation of casual hospitality and calm relaxed cafe include Lori’s Vietnamese iced coffee, the iced oat milk chai, and their tastefully topped selection of toasts.
Best friends since school, Mark Wain and Gary Chau quit their corporate jobs in 2006 to start their dream of working together and owning a local neighborhood business – what better than to act on the inspiration received from their experiences with caffe culture in Italy! Fast forward nearly two decades, and every hand-crafted artisanal espresso or brewed coffee spurring the surrounding community of Caffe Luxxe along each morning is the ultimate culmination of these lifelong friends’ years ago European travels, intimate java studies, and hard-earned expertise.
Snuggled among a row of Goleta storefronts, Old Town Coffee is one of those more accommodating java getaways for students and digital nomads alike, given its reliable internet, abundance of charging outlets, ample seating, and large outdoor patio with table tennis available per the reasonable chance you could use a quick break from all those productive moments being spent on your laptop. Bear in mind, the WiFi gets shut off at 5:00 pm, then comes time to relax with friends as well as neighbors over a glass of hard-earned local beer or wine.
A small-lot roasting gem among Santa Barbara coffee shops, Dart’s adorable design is underscored by dreamy, highly instagrammable paper lanterns strung from the ceiling, crafty light wooden chairs, and a white tiger wall mural outside. Moreover, a well-manicured garden with lunch plants and cute seating of all sorts can be found just across the street. Also noteworthy, a percentage of every bean sold here will help sustain artist studios in Santa Barbara’s diverse art districts.
If you enjoyed this guide to the best Santa Barbara coffee shops, be sure to check out our list of the Top 10 Coffee Shops in Ventura!