Oh sweet and bitter coffee, how I love thee so. This week’s hunt had us all excited here at I Heart, what better treat to go out and discover than coffee! There are a few spots that I consider personal faves in OTO, in fact I have a LOT of business meetings at Cafe Lucca just so I can get my beautiful Soy Latte fix with a little Madeleine on the side. Heaven!! We stayed away from the traditional Starbucks for our list, but I’m not ashamed of my love of Starbucks, I just finished off my Americano as I’m writing this savory story on coffee. Ok, so let’s get to the grind on this local scoop!
I get to tell you about a rare coffee find that I’m betting most of you don’t even know about. It’s the Turkish Coffee at Byblos Cafe. This is quite a treat indeed. Prepared in an ibrik and served in a demitasse cup, Turkish coffee is more than a drink, it’s an experience where the sugar is added during the brewing process, and cream is not an option. The result is a bitter and sweet combination that pleases this coffee lovers palate. -Kelly
Hey it’s Jonai here, and I have to let you in on a secret…I’m sort of addicted to Starbucks. I’ve been spoiled by their drinks and all their sugary artificial goodness. But I went out on a limb this week and sampled the local caffeination stations, and here’s what I’ve discovered: If you want to embody the quintessential Orange County native, go to Mead’s Green Door Cafe and order a) a dirty chai and b) a kale muffin. Yep, I totally did that. I’m a fan of chai tea in general, and when I asked the nice young man at the counter what his favorite coffee beverage was at Mead’s, he immediately recommended their dirty chai (chai with a splash of espresso). The best way I can describe the experience is to say that it was like I had tip-toed into Christmas. The only thing is that you have to crane your neck a bit to view the coffee menu, which is laying on the floor behind the counter…but don’t worry it still exists!
Jonai part 2: That’s right…after tasting that delicious dirty chai from Mead’s I expanded my search for great coffee and found myself at The Chapman Coffee House, a place I had frequented as a Chapman student but hadn’t visited in almost 2 years (gasp!). I ordered an iced caramel macchiato with soy milk because I was craving a blast of sweetness to go along with my caffeine, and let me just say it was DELICIOUS. Just what I was looking for in a mid-morning pick-me-up on a warm afternoon. It’s a treat in a cup.
It’s Jillian! I love starting my mornings with a cup of coffee (aka pure human fuel). I especially needed some help waking up yesterday, so I stopped by Bruxie on the way to work. I’ll usually stop by here for the occasional lunch, but I have to say that coffee at Bruxie is probably one of Old Towne Orange’s best kept secrets! I grabbed a regular coffee, and I was not disappointed. Bruxie coffee is BOLD in the very best way! It was strong, flavorful, and the perfect morning jolt to get me going. While I was there, my sweet tooth was begging me for a banana/nutella waffle, so of course I caved in, and it was the perfect compliment. If you like strong coffee, you need to try out this smooth and flavorful morning fix!
Cat here! I normally make my coffee at home or the office, but love splurging on a good cappuccino every once in awhile so I headed to Café Lucca for my morning fix! If you haven’t been to Café Lucca, you’re in for a real treat! Not only do they have great gelato (which we featured in our I Heart on the Hunt: Ice Cream edition), but also great coffee! You can get delicious espresso, lattes, and more to go but I decided to sit for awhile in their beautiful restaurant to enjoy the delicious, dry cappuccino they made me! If you get a coffee ‘for here’, it even comes with a scrumptious chocolate chip madeleine! If you’re on the hunt for a cappuccino with the perfect foam to espresso ratio, head over to Café Lucca ASAP!
Roving hunter for IHeartOTO that I (Renee) am, I wandered up Glassell, past Maple, to visit The Ugly Mug Cafe. This isn’t a place for early morning “grab-n-go” coffee. They open around 11am, and stay open until about 11pm. I visited in the late afternoon, on a hot August day and got a blended mocha with whip. The drink was good, the whipped cream was really cream. I enjoyed it on the brick patio watching the world go by. The Ugly Mug has a distinct atmosphere – it’s not a place to be in a hurry, or to expect a traditional anonymous-service experience. The setting is a vintage home. The patio has a scattering of tables and not too many restrictions (no cigar smoking). The interior has a parlor for sitting and enjoying your beverage – sometimes enjoying poetry readings (Wednesdays at 8) as well. Phil runs the place – and has for about 10 years. He’s not a “the customer is always right” kind of guy, but has a (very) dry sense of humor and adds another element of unique to all that is Old Towne Orange.
I (Renee again), stopped in The Filling Station for an afternoon pick-me-up and thought I would try their Mayan Mocha. Isn’t it lovely?! It was a little sweet to my taste, but I know it would be a great dessert drink to sip while enjoying conversation with a friend under the umbrella.
So that rounds out our OTO coffee round-up! We’d love to hear from you too. What’s your favorite coffee drink in Old Towne and where do you like to get it? Let us know in the comments and be sure to follow us on Instagram!