Whether you need a quick espresso pick-me-up or a relaxing morning latte, there’s no better way to get an early start than with a hot cup of java brewed on-site. Coffee lovers can rejoice when visiting, as Santa Barbara’s coffee scene offers a variety of atmospheres and roasts to suit your fancy. From bean to mug, Santa Barbara’s coffee aficionados can all agree that the following shops are the best in town to grab a cup of joe.
Established in 1989, Santa Barbara Roasting Company has the coffee grind down to a science. Their small-batch roasts (under 50 pounds each) have made a splash in the coffee-drinking community, and they continue to sell their beans in-shop as well as brewing on-site. Santa Barbara Roasting Company (RoCo as locals affectionately call it) offers over 70 varieties of organic and shade grown fair trade coffee. The prolific roastery offers a spacious brick-walled spot in downtown Santa Barbara for you to sip coffee and sample one of the assorted breakfast muffins, cookies, and bagels. The hand-painted art depicting Santa Barbara along the upper interior walls add an element of nostalgia to the industrial space. Don’t miss your chance to savor handcrafted coffee at one of Santa Barbara’s staple shops.
(321 Motor Way, Santa Barbara, CA 93101)
A large sunlit patio and ample seating complement the rich espresso and coffee drinks served at the Dune Coffee Roasters location on Anacapa Street. Opt for a more close-knit, studious vibe at the State Street address, or grab a warm brew on your way into town from the Goleta location. All three cafés offer spectacular fresh baked goods that make for a divine breakfast, and the sourdough toast, piled high with strikingly pink sliced radishes and creamy avocado, is an absolute must-try. What began as two baristas working an espresso machine has blossomed into a full-blown coffee shop, roastery, and bakery in the heart of downtown Santa Barbara. Dune offers dozens of unique flavors to sip, so grab a cup to go and peruse Santa Barbara’s iconic white-washed adobe and red-tile roofed side streets. Or simply relax in the shade to people watch and soak in the energy of our small seaside haven with a refreshing iced coffee.
(528 Anacapa St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101; 1101 State St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101; 250 Storke Rd, Goleta, CA 93117)
Across the street from the historic El Presidio de Santa Barbara, the original location of Handlebar Coffee is no stranger to bustling sidewalks and vibrant culture. A testament to their array of coffee, tea, and hot treats, Handlebar Coffee started as a passion project for owners Kim Anderson and Aaron Olsen, who realized their love for cafes and coffee when cycling professionally around the world. The couple moved to Santa Barbara back in 2008, opened the coffee shop and micro-roastery in 2011, and have been grinding bags of delicious coffee ever since. Recently, Handlebar Coffee opened up a second location on upper De La Vina street, which plays host to the same curated menu, plus live music and spacious patio seating. Handlebar roasts 2-3 times per week with beans sourced from Central and South America, as well as Africa. Swing by for an iced vanilla latte and warm scone–the perfect start to a morning in Santa Barbara.
Nestled in a small yet lively Funk Zone complex alongside Tyger Tyger and Monkey Shine, Dart Coffee Co fuels locals and visitors alike. The art-minded owners, Erika Carter and David Dart, contribute the eclectic coffee experience to their shared love of art and the sciences. Dart Coffee Co boasts an array of drip coffees, pulled-shot specialty drinks, and organic teas. Watch the beans roast right before your eyes as you decide which drink to order, and top off the morning with a warm, locally baked pastry. Even better; a percentage of every bean sold will go towards the Yanonali Street Artist Fund, an organization helping sustain artist studios in Santa Barbara’s diverse art districts.
(121 E Yanonali St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101)
First established as an artsy, laidback coffee spot in Isla Vista (and a fan favorite among UCSB students), CAJÉ has now expanded into the Haley Corridor, Santa Barbara’s newest neighborhood, and with a special twist. A titillating collaboration between owner Ryan Patronyk and his industry partner Sean Sepulveda, CAJÉ rules the daylight hours as a swanky brew stop, only to be converted to Lab Social, a secretive prohibition-era speakeasy that comes alive once the clock strikes 5:00 p.m. Daytime includes coffee drinks with innovative garnishes and too-pretty-to-drink designs, while nighttime ushers in tasty alcoholic beverages like the SB Margy, a lavender spin on the classic margarita. Feeling hungry? Both CAJÉ and Lab Social offer light bites throughout the day and into the night. Gaining entrance to Lab Social can be tricky, so keep an ear out for the password of the day.
(416 E Haley St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101)
With two locations along De La Vina Street, The Daily Grind has been serving up hearty breakfasts, fresh baked goods, fruity smoothies, and of course, hot coffee and tea since 1995. The expansive patios and shady retreats provide impeccable space for outdoor meetings and gatherings. Day in and out, the family-owned shop is always bustling with kind locals, and the coffee refills are simply $1! Try the chorizo breakfast burrito and “Peachy Keen” smoothie for the full Daily Grind experience. Also, feel free to bring Fido along for your morning stroll as the outdoor patio is pup-friendly.
(2001 De La Vina St, Santa Barbara, CA 93105; 2912 De La Vina St, Santa Barbara, CA 93105)
Where to drink coffee in Goleta, Montecito & Summerland
Nestled in the heart of Goleta, Old Town Coffee has established itself as the go-to spot for strong roasts and friendly people. The rustic interior and smell of espresso wafting through the air draws in customers, who come for a cup of coffee and stay for the outdoor games. Ping pong and cornhole adorn the patio and can entertain kiddos for hours, while you sip hot brew and munch on freshly baked goods. Trying to beat the heat? Order an iced oat milk latte on a warm, sunny morning–you won’t be disappointed.
(5877 Hollister Ave, Goleta, CA 93117)
Sleek, sophisticated, and smooth are three ways to describe both the interior design and coffee of Caffe Luxxe at the Montecito Country Mart. Newly established, Caffe Luxxe has already made waves as a premier coffee hot spot for visitors and locals alike exploring Montecito’s retail scene. The marble countertops serve as the perfect canvas for the shop’s baristas to prepare your roast, and the minimalist décor evokes a sense of luxurious architectural wonder. Inspired by caffe culture in Italy, the shop’s creators champion hand crafted artisanal espresso and brewed coffee. Try their Montenero Blend, a coffee that exudes strong notes of dark chocolate and rich caramel. Or, purchase one of the many other varieties of coffee that Caffe Luxxe micro roasts to bring the flavors and aromas back home with you.
(1028 Coast Village Rd Ste. A, Santa Barbara, CA 93108)
Red Kettle Coffee is known for their warm, welcoming spirit and devotion to the community, as well as their delicious locally brewed coffees and teas. Summerland’s main coffee stop, Red Kettle is close in the hearts of not only locals but also those passing through for the day. Offering freshly baked pastries daily and locally roasted coffee and teas, the quaint coffee shop is an ideal enclave for studying, relaxing, and soaking in the laid back atmosphere of this beachside town. Popular menu items include the matcha latte and the 805 medium roast, and occasionally Red Kettle will host watercolor painting workshops where you can channel your inner artist.
(2275 #A Ortega Hill Road, Summerland, CA 93067)