My love and passion for coffee goes back to when I was just a little kid. My grandmother used to roast the beans in a pot, let them cool down, and then grind the coffee beans. The smell of fresh coffee stimulated my nose and I was in love with the aroma. I remember that I used to sneak a sip or two of her coffee when she wasn’t looking. This love for coffee grew and I acquired a taste over the years. For some people it might seem silly to love a hot drink, however to me it is more than just a beverage, it’s a passion. When I first moved to Santa Barbara I was on a hunt for the best coffee in town. I went from coffee shop to coffee shop to try their coffee, and there are three coffee shops that have a special place in my heart.
The first SB coffee shop that I fell in love with is Santa Barbara Roasting Company. I remember it was a struggle to find good coffee, or maybe I’m too picky, but after previous trial and error, I found a piece of home when I first tried the “State Street Blend.” It all started in September 1989, 100 years before I was born, when Santa Barbara Roasting Company opened its doors. What makes Santa Barbara Roasting Company so rare and exclusive is the fact that all beans are roasted in house.
Every time I walk in there it reminds me of my childhood and my grandma. If you prefer a big variety, there are over 40 different blends of coffee. The most popular bean is “The Dark Roast,” but if you don’t like coffee, I would recommend “Mango Black Tea.” Come into Santa Barbara Roasting Company and enjoy the good music while you witness the process of making coffee. Also, look out for Santa Barbara Roasting Company coffee in your local grocery stores and hotels as they specialize in wholesale as well.
In between classes, I was looking for a coffee house close by—that’s how I found The French Press. The convenience of being across the street from Antioch University is what got me in the door, but their amazing cappuccino is what keeps me coming back.
The French Press is part of a family owned chain, Dune Coffee Roasters. Owners Julia and Todd still play a role in the day to day duties in developing The French Press. What makes The French Press unique is the outdoor patio. It is the perfect place to enjoy a coffee, to get homework or work completed without being distracted, a business meeting, and adore the beautiful Santa Barbara weather.
Growing up in Sweden, I was raised in a society where “fika” was a big part of our life. A fika is sitting down in a coffee shop, having a coffee, eating a delicious pastry, and talking with your friends. Santa Barbara is a city made up of students, most people are unaware that Swedish and other Scandinavian countries are a big percentage of that population. We all share the tradition of “fika” with friends, love ones, and dates.
If you want to experience the Scandinavian culture and have your first “fika”. The Andersen’s is the place to go. The Andersen’s is Danish family owned bakery and restaurant located on State Street. Their pastry “Marzipan Danish Layer” is a traditional pastry that reminds me of childhood birthday parties and dinners in Sweden, and something I definitely would recommend if you are a marzipan fan.
If you are ever in Santa Barbara on the hunt for coffee, I hope these suggestions made it easier for you. Have a happy coffee day.