Since August is national coffee month I couldn’t resist brewing up a blog post about this tasty topic. Old Towne Orange is certainly home to a plethora of coffee shops. We even have two Starbucks kiddy-corner (or kiddy-circle rather) from each other. In my opinion, that alone should crown OTO the coffee capital of Orange County! If you’re anything like I am and enjoy treading off the beaten path, “craft coffee” is right up your alley. There’s something special about sipping on a properly brewed cup of joe by folks that are truly passionate about the art of coffee making.
You may be asking what exactly is craft coffee and what makes it so special? This trend has been quickly circulating around the nation and people are absolutely loving it. The term associates itself with producing high quality coffee and is often paired with an interesting story whether it be about the recipe, technique, or origin of the beans. Some compare specialty coffee characteristics to fine wine in terms of evaluating quality, flavor, and aroma. That being said, there are many factors that go into a single cup of craft coffee. Intrigued yet? Keep reading! See why locals love Old Towne’s coffee and what makes it especially unique!
Let’s start with one of the most recent additions to The Plaza, which is none other than The Pie Hole. I know you’re probably thinking “I thought this post is about coffee”, and it still is! Aside from serving up delicious sweet and savory pies, The Pie Hole is famous for their delicious coffee. They have a house blend and espresso that surpasses any Starbucks version you have previously tried. The pièce de résistance is an unusual technique for making their iced coffee. The Pie Hole is one of the only coffee shops in the country that serves up this iced beverage on tap with nitrogen! Now, before you roll your eyes about this unusual pairing, I promise there is good reasoning behind this method. When nitrogen and coffee combine it creates creamy consistency which rids the coffee of its acidity. Not only does this create a smoother taste than regular iced coffee but it stays chilled for much longer!
A couple doors down from The Pie Hole you will find Portola Coffee hidden inside Provisions Market. Don’t let the size of this little coffee spot fool you because they truly pack a punch. Their craft coffee comes with a special story that starts from the beginning of the coffee making process. A fun fact that you may not know is that coffee beans are the pit of a berry which actually makes it fruit! Although coffee beans are technically seeds, they are referred to as beans because of their resemblance to true beans. Roasting these beans from green to brown is what produces the coffee flavor we all know and love. Thanks to modern technology they have their roasting and brewing process down to a science… literally! When it comes time to create a cup of coffee, their talented baristas carefully monitor everything from the size of the grind, dosage, water volume and temperature of the water. Portola truly takes the art of coffee making seriously.
If you’re really trying to break from the traditional coffee mold, The Aussie Bean is for you. Americans often utilize coffee shops as a second office. It’s used as a destination to hold meetings and work for hours on end. On the flip side, Australian’s view coffee shops in a completely different way. For Aussies it’s a place to chat with friends, relax, and escape the work world while sipping on a delicious cup of coffee. The Aussie Bean did an excellent job bringing this culture to Old Towne Orange. Leave your laptops at home because there is no wifi here! Before you snicker and say “forget that!” this is truly an experience you need to try. Once you unplug from the world you will appreciate your surroundings so much more. While you’re there, be sure to order your coffee in a ceramic mug because somehow it always makes it taste that much better. With all of the roasting done in house, it makes for a spectacular menu that is frequently updated. The number of die hard regulars speaks for itself. People love coming here to escape and enjoy their coffee Australian style!
If you are a true coffee connoisseur, I highly recommend trying Old Town Roasting. This local artisan company stops into Mead’s Green Door Cafe every week to roast on-site! What makes this company so unique is the high quality ingredients in their products. Their coffee beans are bought from individual farmers and small collectives from across the globe. Enjoy a cup of at Mead’s Green Door Cafe with a tasty vegan treat. But if you enjoy brewing up your own coffee at home, buy a bag of beans and taste some of the finest coffees from across the world at a reasonable price. Old Town Roasting even gives 20% of their proceeds to fund micro-loans which supports coffee farmers nationwide.
Old Towne Orange has certainly been keeping up with the times when it comes to coffee shops. This whole craft coffee thing may seem like a trend, but I promise you once you try a delicious cup of coffee from any of these amazing coffee houses you’ll be forever hooked! So, have fun sipping your way through the rest of national coffee month! Keep IHOTO in mind the next time you crave a cup of java.