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Sedation Vacations

Travel Blog of a Travel Nurse

The Best Coffee in Central Coast, CA

Updated: 6 days ago

I would like to start this post by saying fuck Starbucks and especially fuck Dutch Bro's. Stupid, over-priced, sugar bean water. Anyway, I fully enjoy supporting my local coffee shops and cafés, and after having lived on the Central Coast of California for about a year, I got to try many of the local coffee shops here. And by Central Coast, I mean from Santa Maria up to San Luis Obispo (SLO), including towns such as Grover Beach, Pismo, Shell Beach, etc. I'll be rating each café on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being not great and 5 being amazing, and each café will be rated on Coffee taste, Variety of drinks, Food Options, Vibes, and Merch.


Scout Coffee Co: 5/5

  • Coffee Taste: 5

  • Variety of Drinks: 5

  • Food Options: 5

  • Vibes: 5

  • Merch: 5

Details: Scout Coffee Co, has various locations around SLO, and gets top scores in all categories from me. Their coffee is roasted by HoneyCo Coffee Roasters, and is delectable in all forms. They offer all the normal coffee/tea options, plus various lattes like matcha and chai, a honey tea bowl drink, milkshakes, and seasonal drinks as well. My favorite is their toasted butterscotch latte. Their breakfast options and baked goods are amazing as well, including avocado toast, oats, yogurt and fruit parfaits, chia pudding, and my favorite, their bacon cheddar chive scone. Vibes are amazing, with lots of indoor and outdoor seating, and tons of ever-changing merch from local sellers.


The Steaming Bean: 4.9/5

  • Coffee Taste: 5

  • Variety of Drinks: 5

  • Food Options: 5

  • Vibes: 4.8

  • Merch: 4.8

Details: The Steaming Bean, located technically in Pismo but on Shell Beach Rd, also gets nearly top scores from me. Their coffee taste is wonderful, with a large variety of drinks, as well as latte flavors. Some of their flavors include a Mexican mocha, Snickers, and Grasshopper. They also offer those cards where if you buy 9 drinks you get the 10th one free, which is always fun. They offer local kombucha and other juices. They have a ton of breakfast options as well, including bakery items, fruit bowls, fresh made breakfast sandwiches and burritos. They have a decent amount of indoor seating, as well as a back deck with outdoor seating, but it can get crowded at times. They have a small amount of merch from some local artists for sale as well.


Tribe Coffee House: 4.9/5

  • Coffee Taste: 5

  • Variety of Drinks: 5

  • Food Options: 4.6

  • Vibes: 5

  • Merch: 5

Details: Tribe Coffee House in Arroyo Grande has bomb vibes with lots of indoor and outdoor seating, and tons of really cool merch. They have great drink options, with delicious coffee, lattes, and a bunch of specialty flavors and teas. They also offer seasonal drinks that change often, and they're all very unique and delicious. Food options are lacking a tad, but they do have the usual bakery items, plus a few extra items like ham and cheese croissants and bagels.


Banner Coffee Co: 3.6/5

  • Coffee Taste: 4.5

  • Variety of Drinks: 3

  • Food Options: 3

  • Vibes: 4.5

  • Merch: 3

Details: Banner Coffee Co in Arroyo Grande comes out to a 3.6. Their coffee is pretty decent tasting. Variety is lacking a bit, they have all the normal coffee options, plus some tea, and usually one seasonal drink. Not a lot of flavors/syrups though for lattes. They have a small selection of baked goods and some toast options as well. Lots of indoor and outdoor seating, and vibes are good, with a small amount of merch available.


Kin Coffee Bar: 4.1/5

  • Coffee Taste: 4.5

  • Variety of Drinks: 5

  • Food Options: 4

  • Vibes: 5

  • Merch: 2

Details: Kin Coffee Bar, located in downtown SLO, is an especially unique café. This place is unique due to their variety of drinks. They specialize in matcha drinks as well as superfood lattes. I wish I could have tried them all, but they had way too many, I didn't get the chance. Their superfood lattes were especially interesting, with flavors including a beetroot latte and butterfly pea latte. They're latte art is exceptionally colorful and fun, and the vibes here are like a gothic plant witch, with lots of black, records, skateboards, and plants surrounding you. A bit small, but does have both indoor and outdoor seating. They have the usual bakery items, as well as breakfast burrito/burrito bowls, with options for vegetarian and vegan.


Active Coffee Co: 3.3/5

  • Coffee Taste: 3.5

  • Variety of Drinks: 5

  • Food Options: 2.5

  • Vibes: 3.5

  • Merch: 2

Details: Active Coffee Co, in SLO, is an okay coffee place, with some weird cotton candy shit going on. Their coffee taste is decent, but what they're known for is their "cloud menu", which is different lattes/drinks with cotton candy on top. Does it look cool? Sure, but I don't want cotton candy for breakfast with my coffee. They say it's a fun way to add sugar to your coffee, but I personally find it ridiculous. They do have a decent amount of syrups for flavors, and some baked goods from the bakery across the street. They have some indoor and outdoor seating as well, but I personally found the vibes off.


Libertine Coffee Bar: 4.1/5

  • Coffee Taste: 4.5

  • Variety of Drinks: 4

  • Food Options: 4.5

  • Vibes: 4

  • Merch: 3.5

Details: Did you guys know that Libertine brewery also has a coffee bar open in the morning? Hell yeah they do. I'm a big fan of their beer, so of course I had to try Libertine Coffee Bar. The coffee flavor is pretty damn good, they have all the usual coffee drinks, and a good variety of syrup flavors. For food, they have some breakfast burritos, sandwiches, and bowls, as well as some vegan options. They also have a bag of tator tots you can buy, so I mean, that's pretty neat. Vibes are good, but it is pretty small with not much seating.


Taft Coffee Bar: 4.4/5

  • Coffee Taste: 5

  • Variety of Drinks: 5

  • Food Options: 4.3

  • Vibes: 4.7

  • Merch: 3

Details: Taft Coffee Bar, located in SLO, has an absolute wonderful variety of drinks that are worth the trip. They have a full menu full of specialty coffees and matchas, that are as delicious as they are unique. They also offer "nourishing lattes" that are apparently healthy for you, as well as food items and juices. Food items include breakfast burritos, bagel sandwich, ham and cheese croissant, and oatmeal, and they also have all the classic pastries available as well. Last I went, I tried their iced butterfly pea flower tea, lavender, lemonade, matcha drink and it was more photogenic than Kim Kardashian at the Met Gala. Vibes are on fleek with lots of indoor and outdoor seating and a cute bookshelf filled with novels, as well as a free Pac-Man game you can play. Not a ton of merch, but no biggie.


Skippers Brew Coffee House - SLO: 4.7/5

  • Coffee taste: 4.7

  • Variety of Drinks: 5

  • Food Options: 4.7

  • Vibes: 4.7

  • Merch: 5

Details: Skippers Brew Coffee House is an Australian themed coffee bar right in downtown SLO. Owned and operated by a lesbian couple, one from California and one from Australia, so you know this place is going to have charm. They have a large coffee menu with tons of variety, including matcha, tea, chai, espresso, and other specialty drinks. They offer a large variety of syrup flavors, as well as two different cold brew coffees on tap. Skippers also has a ton of baked goods available, including Australian baked good, that I have yet to be able to get my hands on because they always sell out so early! (So you know they gotta be pretty good). Lots of merch available, including jewelry and other trinkets from local artists.


In conclusion, go to Scout Coffee, it's my favorite, but also try out all these other wonderful coffee shops on California's Central Coast. I'll be updating this blog post as I visit more local cafés in the area! Please comment on this post your favorite coffee shop, and any new drinks I should try.


Photos in order: Taft Coffee Bar, Scout Coffee Co, Kin Coffee Bar



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