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Santa Barbara has some of the best coffee shops in California, due to its high-brow tourists who expect the best out of the city. 

As a kid lucky enough to grow up in Santa Barbara, my friends and I found ourselves diving into the cool ocean waters and climbing the steep California mountain trails. Now as an adult, I find myself apprecating the Spanish architecture, outdoor shopping centers, and — of course — the coffee. From the mexican-influence horchata drinks to classic house-roasted brews, you’ll find any coffee you need in Santa Barbara. 

Santa Barbara coffee shops expect to have to serve a superior marketed beverage ontop of a great quality roast in order to stay in business. If you’re exploring State Street, you can expect a fine mix of cafe foods, patisserie baked goods, and creative coffee-flavored drinks.

Keep reading to learn more about what Santa Barbara coffee shops have to offer. 

A Deeper Look at Our Picks

Handlebar Coffee Roasters

Handlebar Coffee RoastersHandlebar Coffee Roasters

A haven for coffee enthusiasts, Handlebar Coffee Roasters, offers an opportunity to immerse yourself in the world of exceptional coffee. as you witness the magic of small-batch coffee roasting in action. 

Their expertly brewed cups are made with beans from around the globe, ensuring a truly remarkable coffee experience.

Jack's Bistro & Famous Bagels

Jack's Bistro & Famous BagelsJack's Bistro & Famous Bagels

A local favorite, Jack's Bistro, and Famous Bagels serves mouthwatering bagels and offers aromatic coffee that perfectly complements your morning. Whether you prefer a velvety latte or a bold espresso, their skilled baristas will craft your favorite drink with precision and a smile.

Pura Vida Coffee Society

out of Reviews • 651 Paseo Nuevo, Santa Barbara
Pura Vida Coffee SocietyPura Vida Coffee Society

Pura Vida Coffee Society is a hidden gem for caffeine lovers. Cozy up with a cup of their meticulously brewed artisanal coffee, enjoy the friendly banter of the staff, and let the rich flavors dance on your palate.

We don’t think this is a pro or con, but depending on your tastes, the coffee here can be strong!

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf

The Coffee Bean & Tea LeafThe Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf

Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, my favorite California-only coffee chain that never disappoints, presents a diverse menu of classic coffees and delightful teas. Coffee Bean has your back, from a rich and robust cappuccino to a refreshing iced tea.

Expect sweeter drinks if you’re looking for black coffee.

Lighthouse Coffee

Lighthouse CoffeeLighthouse Coffee

Lighthouse Coffee is a cozy coastal retreat serving a mean cup of joe. It's perfect for fueling beach adventures or enjoying a laid-back morning with friends. The friendly staff and relaxed vibe make it a must-visit spot to start your day on a high note.

Dune Coffee Roasters

Dune Coffee RoastersDune Coffee Roasters

Dune Coffee Roasters is a must-visit for coffee connoisseurs. Previously known as French Press, this coffee shop has existed for some time. Their coffee is excellent for drinking at any location or accompanying a walk along the coastline. ‍

Santa Barbara Roasting Company

out of Reviews • 321 Motor Way, Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara Roasting CompanySanta Barbara Roasting Company

Santa Barbara Roasting Company is committed to sourcing ethically grown and sustainably harvested beans. This dedication results in a coffee that tastes phenomenal and makes you feel good about supporting a responsible coffee business. Their passion for quality and social responsibility shines through every sip.

ALESSIA Patisserie and Cafe

ALESSIA Patisserie and CafeALESSIA Patisserie and Cafe

Alessia Patisserie & Cafe is a charming spot where the aroma of freshly baked European pastries mingles with the rich scent of specialty coffee. It creates an irresistible combination that will transport you straight to coffee and pastry heaven, allowing you to savor every sip and bite with pure delight.

Factors to consider when choosing a Santa Barbara coffee shop

Santa Barbara is small when comparing it to California’s metropolises like Los Angeles and San Francisco, but it’s certainly internationally known for its incredible food and California scenery.

One factor you don’t need to consider is whether it will be a nice temperature during your Santa Barbara trip. The city with a yearly average temperature of 60 to 70 hardly ever experiences any serious weather phenomena. 

So go to the outdoor coffee cart, reserve that outdoor seating, and go on living your best life. But for everything else, we have you covered:

Location and accessibility — Whether you’re walking down the now car-prohibited State Street or cruising the ocean views on Cabrillo, there likely won’t be a coffee shop too far away. Most places are pretty easy to access, but we’ll let you know if they aren’t.

Drive-thru — Santa Barbara is prized for its mix of early colonial Victorian and Spanish architecture. But believe it or not, neither the English nor the Spanish prized drive-thrus, so don’t expect to find too many in this beach-side town.
Hours and operation — Certain areas around Santa Barbara are open late, mainly for the city’s nightlife, but plenty of places love to open early. The hours of operation are critical to ensuring you can even get the great coffee we’re talking about.
Food and drinks — Are you looking for a grab and go bagel and pastry or a sit-down breakfast with a tasty americano? We’ll make sure you can get exactly what you’re looking for out of food and drinks on your beachtown trip.

Workspace — For the remote worker or constantly in-demand executive, Santa Barbara has a few coffee shops with the java and WiFi you need to stay productive.

Ocean photo

Conclusion

Due to the clientele Santa Barbara tends to serve, the city has amassed a wide variety of coffee shops that make for fun exploration. 

And whether you decide to hit Coffee Bean or one of the local shops like Dune Roasteries, we’re sure you’ll find yourself an incredible cup. But if I can make a suggestion, try taking a moment to enjoy the idyllic Santa Barbara beauty. 

Stroll Cabrillo Boulevard, the Wharf or State Street to enjoy the warm sun, ocean breeze, and enjoy yourself with a cup of Santa Barbara coffee.

Meet the expert

Scott's tasted his first cup of coffee in college. The sludgy cup came from the gas station closest to his apartment when he needed to stay awake during an all-night study session. Thankfully, this cup was not his last. He and his wife now enjoy a cup or two of home-brewed coffee with breakfast every morning and enjoy exploring new coffee shops and eateries. As a former journalist, he works as a communication manager for a local, art-focused nonprofit in Arizona most days and freelances the rest. As a writer at heart, Scott appreciates the union of his craft and love of coffee at Roast Love.

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