The Best Local Coffee Shops in Santa Cruz

Whenever we make the trek over the hill and into Santa Cruz, we always start our day off with a hot coffee or latte. Where the South Bay lacks in coffee, Santa Cruz has an abundance of local coffee roasters and shops. There are so many reasons to make it to this amazing beach community and while you there, I encourage you to shop local small businesses. Here are the best local coffee shops in Santa Cruz!

local coffee santa cruz

The Best Local Coffee Shops in Santa Cruz

Verve Coffee Roasters

Verve Coffee is one of the most popular local coffee roasters and coffee shops in Santa Cruz known for providing an exceptional coffee experience. At Verve, you can find some of the best cups of coffee in town prepared by knowledgeable baristas. They serve a variety of flavorful coffee drinks like espresso, cappuccino, nitro cold brew, and filtered coffee prepared with care. Verve is dedicated to sourcing quality coffee beans and roasting them to perfection.

In addition to their exceptional coffee, Verve offers fresh pastries from local Santa Cruz bakeries, breakfast sandwiches, and lunch items like salads and sandwiches. The food menu has vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options. Of course, Verve sells bags of their locally roasted beans so you can brew their flavorful coffee at home. Popular varieties include single-origin beans from places like Ethiopia and Columbia.

Parking at Verve can be challenging as street parking is limited. Verve’s prime downtown location means parking garages nearby are often full, especially on weekends. Walking, biking or carpooling to Verve is recommended if possible. Verve validates garage parking for 1 hour to help offset costs. With its incredible coffee and locally-sourced food, Verve is one of the best places in Santa Cruz for an exceptional coffee experience.

Address: 1540 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz, CA 95062

Tabby Cat Cafe

Tabby Cat Cafe is a cute little coffee shop and cafe located in Santa Cruz. ITabby Cat Cafe is a welcoming space with plenty of seating that fills up quite quickly. The cafe serves high-quality espresso drinks like lattes, mochas, and single-origin pour-overs. They also offer tea, chai, and hot chocolate. All drinks are made with organic milk and local Santa Cruz roaster beans.

In terms of food, Tabby Cat Cafe serves a variety of homemade pastries, sandwiches, soups, and salads. Menu items range from croissants and muffins to paninis and quiches.  Gluten-free and vegetarian options are available. While Tabby Cat Cafe does not sell whole-bean coffee, they do sell branded mugs and t-shirts.  They do have fast and free wifi though, and have plugs for your laptop so it’s a good spot to get some work done.  Tabby Cat Cafe also has outdoor seating in front of the shop!

Parking at the cafe can often be difficult as there is only street parking available. Spots directly in front of the cafe are limited to 15 or 30 minutes. However, there are parking garages located within a short walking distance. Tabby Cat recommends parking in the nearby Locust St or Front St garages and walking 3-4 minutes to the cafe. This avoids having to worry about moving your car. 

Address: 1101 Cedar St Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Santa Cruz Coffee Roasting Company

When shopping in downtown Santa Cruz, we always stop for a cup of coffee at Santa Cruz Roasting Co, a great spot for a latte and a bag of fresh beans. Friendly service but the prices seem on the high side which might reflect its location. It’s in a shopping area very popular with tourists.  When we can’t make it to Verve, we consider this one of the best coffee roasters in the area and love getting beans from Santa Cruz Roasting Co.

Try the White Mocha, Chai latte or guava smoothie!

Address:  1330 Pacific Ave Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Cat & Cloud Cafe 

Cat & Cloud Cafe is a specialty coffee shop in  Santa Cruz near the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History.  It is focused on sourcing and roasting high-quality coffee beans. They serve a variety of handcrafted espresso and pour-over coffee drinks made with care by knowledgeable baristas.

On the menu you’ll find coffee classics like lattes, americanos, and cold brew, as well as specialty drinks like nitro coffee. Cat & Cloud’s batch brew coffee is always brewed fresh with their direct trade beans.

For food, Cat & Cloud offers waffles, burritos, chai spiced overnight oats. The cozy space has indoor and outdoor seating to enjoy your coffee and food. Of course, Cat & Cloud’s retail shelves are stocked with their small-batch roasted coffee beans so customers can brew specialty coffee at home.

Parking near the cafe can be challenging as street parking is time-limited. Nearby public lots and garages fill up fast. Cat & Cloud recommends parking a few blocks away and walking if possible. With its meticulously sourced coffees and cozy space, Cat & Cloud is a must-visit for coffee aficionados in Santa Cruz.

Address: 118 Cooper St Abbott Square Market Santa Cruz, CA 95062

11th Hour Coffee

11th Hour Coffee is a delicious coffee shop located in downtown Santa Cruz. They are known for their wide variety of specialty coffee drinks, including espressos, lattes, mochas, and cold brews. 11th Hour uses high-quality beans roasted locally to prepare their coffee drinks. In addition to traditional coffee beverages, they also offer specialty drinks like matcha lattes, turmeric golden milks, and nitrogen-infused cold brews.

In terms of food, 11th Hour Coffee offers a selection of pastries, breakfast sandwiches, and lunch items like paninis and salads. For those with dietary restrictions, there are vegan and gluten-free options available. The café also sells bags of whole bean coffee so customers can brew 11th Hour coffees at home. Popular beans sold include single-origin offerings like Ethiopian and Sumatran.

Parking near 11th Hour Coffee can be challenging as it is located downtown. Street parking is limited to 2 hours without a permit. There are a few public parking lots and garages located within a couple blocks of the café, but spots fill up quickly on busy days. The best time to find parking is earlier in the morning on weekdays when downtown is less crowded.

Address: 1001 Center St Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Firefly Coffee House 

Firefly Coffee is a small, cozy coffee shop in downtown Santa Cruz. They are known for their carefully crafted pour-over coffees using specialty-grade beans. Firefly offers a range of coffee drinks like lattes, americanos, and cold brew, always made with house-roasted beans. Customers can also purchase bags of whole-bean coffee to enjoy Firefly’s offerings at home.

In terms of menu options, Firefly serves freshly baked pastries, bagels, yogurt parfaits, and avocado toast. While basic, their homemade baked goods are a popular item, especially the gluten-free and vegan options. Firefly does not serve extensive lunch or breakfast fare, but provides quality coffee accompaniments.

Parking at Firefly Coffee can be difficult given its downtown location. Street parking is metered or 2-hour limit without a permit. Nearby public lots and garages are often full, especially on weekends. Your best bet is to come at off-peak times to grab one of the few spots out front. Walking and cycling when possible are ideal ways to visit Firefly. 

Address: 131 Front St Ste A Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Cafe Delmarette

Cafe Delmarette is a great place in Santa Cruz off of Pacific Avenue with a relaxed atmosphere and friendly staff. The cafe is known for its high-quality coffee drinks prepared by experienced baristas. On the menu, you’ll find espresso drinks like lattes, mochas, and macchiatos. They also serve drip coffee, cold brew, matcha tea, and hot chocolate. Cafe Delamarette uses locally roasted coffee beans and organic milk for their beverages.

In addition to delicious coffee drinks, Cafe Delmarette offers fresh salads, panini sandwiches, soups, and baked goods. There are many vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options on the food menu. The cafe’s homemade pastries and desserts, like scones and chocolate cake, are especially popular. While Cafe Delmarette does not sell retail coffee beans, you can purchase ground coffee to brew at home.

Parking can be challenging as there is only street parking available near Cafe Delmarette. The best time to find a spot is mid-morning on weekdays when downtown is less busy. There are also several public parking garages within a short walk of the cafe. Overall, Cafe Delmarette’s relaxing vibe, friendly staff, and quality coffee and food make it a great spot to visit in Santa Cruz.

Lulu Carpenter’s

Lulu Carpenter’s is a popular local coffee shop and café in the heart of downtown Santa Cruz. They are known for their extensive drink menu including espressos, lattes, pour-overs, matcha drinks, and nitro cold brews. Lulu’s uses coffee beans from Santa Cruz roasters and quality organic milks. In addition to coffee, they serve housemade chai, hot chocolate, and fruit smoothies.

The food menu at Lulu’s features fresh salads, sandwiches, and grain bowls for lunch. Delicious food options include avocado toast, breakfast burritos, and pastries like muffins and scones. Many ingredients are locally sourced and there are vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options.

Lulu’s also offers locally made desserts, baked goods, and grab-and-go items. Coffee lovers can purchase whole-bean coffee from the café to brew at home.

Parking at Lulu Carpenter’s can be challenging as street parking is limited. Nearby city parking garages often fill up, especially during peak times. The best time to find parking is mid-morning on weekdays.

Address: 1545 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Mariposa Coffee Bar 

Mariposa Coffee Bar is a unique coffee shop perfect for a quick caffeine fix in Santa Cruz. They serve up a range of espresso drinks like lattes, americanos, and cortados for those looking for a great atmosphere with their coffee.  And for something different, try their Vietnamese strong coffee brewed using a Phin filter.

In addition to excellent coffee drinks, Mariposa has a food menu with spring rolls, Cuban sandwiches, and delicious pastries. They use local, organic ingredients to create healthy and tasty options. Pastries and desserts like cookies and brownies are baked fresh daily. While Mariposa does not sell retail coffee beans, you can purchase ground coffee to make coffee at home.

Parking near Mariposa can be limited as it is downtown. The best parking options are the Locust St or Front St garages just a short walk away.

They have live music, events, and flow artists amongst other fantastic performances. Check out their calendar of events and see happening during the weekend. With its laidback atmosphere, stellar coffee and convenient location, Mariposa is a spot worth checking out for coffee lovers in Santa Cruz.

Address: 1010 Pacific Ave Ste E Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Shrine Coffee

Shrine Coffee is one of the best spots for coffee in Santa Cruz, especially if you want a view of the ocean. Located off West Cliff Dr, this little coffee shop is tucked away by a church. At Shrine, you’ll find high-quality coffee drinks like espressos, lattes, and cold brews. The knowledgeable baristas use locally roasted beans to craft each drink.

In addition to delicious coffee, Shrine offers a limited selection of pastries from Santa Cruz bakeries. While cozy inside, the real attraction is sipping your coffee at one of Shrine’s outdoor tables overlooking the ocean or in their little courtyard bursting with flowers. Shrine sells a variety of whole-bean coffee so you can enjoy the flavors of Santa Cruz roasters at home.

The parking situation near Shrine Coffee can be tricky with limited street parking. With its prime location across from West Cliff Dr and quality coffee drinks, Shrine is a must-visit for an ocean-view coffee experience in Santa Cruz.

Address: 544 W Cliff Dr Santa Cruz, CA 95060

The Abbey

The Abbey is a popular coffee shop and café located in downtown Santa Cruz. The Abbey is next to a Christian church, and they do not require you to be Christian to be welcomed. Everyone with taste buds is welcome.  The Abbey coffee lounge is spacious with lots of seats, natural lighting, and free wifi. They serve high-quality coffee and espresso drinks using beans from local roasters like Verve Coffee. On the menu, you’ll find drinks like lattes, mochas, drip coffee, cold brew, and specialty items like nitro coffee. The baristas take time to prepare each drink with care. We recommend the Honey Badger and the Brickhouse if you like flavored lattes.  The Brickhouse is latte with housemade caramel & vanilla. The Honey Badger is a honey cinnamon latte.

For food, The Abbey serves avocado toast, sandwiches, and bagels with ingredients from local purveyors. Customers can purchase whole bean or ground coffee on-site to recreate drinks at home.

Parking at The Abbey can be challenging as there is only street parking nearby. The best time to find a space is mid-morning during the week. There are also a few public parking garages within walking distance. Given its location, walking or biking to The Abbey is often the easiest option. With its community vibe, quality coffee and food, and great service, The Abbey is a local favorite.

Address: 350 Mission St Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Do you have a favorite local coffee spot in Santa Cruz?

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