Top 7 Coffee Shops in Palo Alto

A Guide to Palo Alto Coffee Shops

Blue Bottle Coffee

palo alto coffee shops

Around the early 2000s, in nearby Oakland, a slightly disaffected freelance musician and coffee lunatic, weary of the commercial coffee enterprise and stale, overly roasted beans, decided to open a roaster for people who were clamoring for the actual taste of fresh coffee. His humble vision has since blossomed into a network of cafes across the United States, Japan, and Korea, with that being said, one of the more awe-inspiring installments among Palo Alto coffee shops is Blue Bottle’s Unversity Avenue location.

Housed within what was once the famed and illustrious Varsity Theatre, a space that for fifty years treated moviegoers to blockbuster films, visitors can now expect to encounter the aesthetically satisfying intersection where luxurious style meets cozily procured grace in a splendid crossover that devoted java connoisseurs, digital nomads, and coffee date arrangers can appreciate.

Whether you choose to stay inside or take your single origin, blend, or espresso coffee out onto the romantically lit, arched hallway-lined courtyard, understand that just a few minutes’ reprieve in a cafe like this one can feel like a tiny vacation.

Cafe Venetia

Though near and dear to the heart of downtown, Cafe Venetia is also deeply rooted in the culture of Venice, Italy, where caffè-bars have served as social and intellectual gathering spots for over three centuries. They continue this tradition from bean to cup by sourcing coffee directly from a Northern Italian roaster, and transforming it into high-quality espresso drinks to be enjoyed in a refined setting rife with red accents, well-maintained plant life, and old-world charm.

Verve Coffee Roasters

Verve’s spacious store just down the road from Stanford’s campus is truly sensational, it showcases a bright bohemian atmosphere brimming with life thanks in part to an abundance of crafty seating arrangements that allow for “long-overdue” and productive gatherings of virtually any size; that’s not to mention the warm hazel tones set against creamy white walls, natural sunlight, lush plant life, and phenomenal coffee. Can’t go wrong here.

Coupa Cafe

Located in a 1930’s historical building, this gem among Palo Alto coffee shops offers visitors a pleasantly sophisticated environment featuring plush chesterfields, a crackling fireplace, chandeliers, plenty of comfortable seating, and speedy WiFi for students and work away from homers. Coupa is proud to serve exquisite single estate, certified organic and fair trade coffee from various Arabica coffee growing areas of the world such as Venezuela, Colombia, Mexico, Guatemala, Brasil, Ethiopia, and India, among others.

Aside from the java, they are known for their delicious Spicy Maya Hot Chocolate, Chai Tea, and Chocolate bonbons and truffles made from the finest cacao.

Palo Alto Cafe

Photo by Jenner B.

Since opening in 1996, family-owned Palo Alto Cafe has been a locally beloved provider of fruit and vegetable juices, nutrient-packed smoothies, and freshly roasted coffees. Inside, the wholesome atmosphere is perhaps most accentuated by warm tones, ample wooden furnishings, and friendly service. As far as breakfast is concerned, guests can expect to discover a menu loaded with traditional favorites ranging from omelets to bagels to sandwiches.

Backyard Brew

Walk too fast down California Avenue and you will more than likely miss what can certainly be considered a hidden gem among Palo Alto coffee shops. Tucked at the end of one slim alleyway marked by insanely cool mural artwork on each side, exists an outdoor oasis of sorts known as Backyard Brew – a refreshingly familiar, typically sunny respite from the hustle and bustle of Silicon Valley.

If your taste buds have been hinting at a flavorful adventure for some time now, the creative folks behind this counter handcraft delectable signature drinks such as the Jordanian Chai, the maple syrup, cinnamon, and espresso enriched Oh Canada, and a Nutella Mocha.

Philz Coffee

Photo by Ken L.

Let’s rewind our figurative clock to the year 1978 – when Phil Jaber purchased a convenience store in the heart of San Francisco’s lively Mission District. During his off-hours, the young man blended and tested brews, attempting to formulate the perfect cup of coffee. After 25 years of experimenting, he finally decided to move his very own kitchen table into the convenience store, and thus, Philz Coffee was born.

While Phil’s humble java empire now spans all of California, with locations in Chicago and the Washington D.C. metro area, since the moment he operated his first storefront, he’s consistently stuck to a single fruitful principle: better the days of everyone who walked in.


If you enjoyed this guide to the best Palo Alto coffee shops, be sure to check out our list of the Top 5 Coffee Shops in San Mateo!