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Nov 29, 2009 11:30 AM


Are there any exceptional coffee ROASTERS that serve great coffee (drip and/or espresso and beans for home) within 30 min. of downtown SLO?

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  1. Utopia Bakery in downtown SLO brews Peets.

    There is also a local roaster in downtown Atascadero. Artisan was carrying their coffee (but that was at least a year ago, so I'd double check.)

    1. I haven't found a local roaster to my taste at the present.

      There have been some in the past, but not for a few years.

      If I'm in uptown, I get coffee at Outspoken (Illy) at Calif & Monterey or out in Morro Bay at Blue Bean near Taco Temple. Again, Illy from Italy.

      Downtown it depends on where I am. Linnea's or Peets.

      Utopia is actually not downtown but about 2 miles away on Broad near Orcutt. Peet's. Good pastries!

      Joe Bella's roasts in Templeton next to Trader Joe's but not fond of their offerings.

      There is also Jo Mama coffee bar in Avila Beach where they have a Clover brewer and many types of coffee beans on a rotating menu. For folks who are serious about coffee, and willing to pay a bit extra for boutique coffees.

      5 Replies
      1. re: toodie jane

        if I recall accurately, the coffee bar in Avila Beach was serving Intelligentsia coffees when we visited last winter. It was the best combination of good quality beans + proper preparation (whether by the clover gizmo or espresso machine) we've run across in either SLO or S.Barbara counties on our yearly crossing.

        1. re: toodie jane

          True, Utopia isn't "in downtown". My bad. Like you said though, good pastries. :)

          (Is there an actual Peet's store downtown now?)

          1. re: tavmark

            Tav--noted because I could picture someone searching the downtown core looking for Utopia. It's about 5 minutes by auto, definitely worth searching out.

            Peets? Yes, in the old Mo's Smokehouse location on Higuera dowtown. Next to the Downtown Center (or is it Centre?!) where Pottery Barn and Salon Lux are. Pretty busy place. They do stock my favorite Sumatra which draws me in if I'm downtown and need something hot. For pure ambiance, Linnea's Coffehouse & Cafe wins hands down, though Linnea hereself sold a couple of years ago. I remember her first coffee-house venture, about 1982-3, on Fri & Sat night in the old Quan Yin bookstore on upper Chorro, serving brewed-by cup drip coffee at shared tables, with fabulous desserts. About a year later she opened the Garden Street location which became a well-loved SLO institution.

            There used to be a brew bar on Chorro Street near the Mission, but I don't know if its still there. This was some years ago. Near Mission News. Which might be gone as well. The past 10 years have seen much of Mid-Century downtown SLO businesses and restaurants replaced with national chains. Rents have been going sky-high with the continuing earthquake retrofitting marching through the blocks of un-reinforced brick c 1900 buildings. Bars seem to have the income to survive the high rents. There are more than a dozen w/in a 2 block core downtown. Even the successful restaurants have averaged about a decade of survival, which actually might just be average?

            One newly finished project is the Wineman Hotel building which will have new shops and restaurants on street level and condos above. Also just recieving it's final reviews is the huge new Copeland Bros. Chinatown project across Monterey from Ross, Beverly's, the Sinseimer (getting it's own retrofit soon) Building. The street level parking lots (called eyesores by the developers) will be replaced by about 7 buildings with retail, restaurants, "parks" (read sidewalks with planters) and the now ubiquitous luxury condos above. Expect many new cafes and restos with "patio seating". Probably at least a year or more for demol & construction.

            There will be many new dining and drinking establishments to review, so visitors and locals, get set to do some posting here.

            Related SLO food news is that New Frontiers Natural food store will be moving from the Santa Rosa/Foothill location to the old Circuit city store in the Irish Hills center out by Home Depot/Costco on Los Osos Valley Rd. Expect a full-on Whole Foods botique-ification with olive and cheese bar, etc. to compliment their fine meat and deli, and bakery dept's. Lots of vegan here. They do serve espresso drinks as well.

            1. re: toodie jane

              Thanks for the update. I used to travel out there on business fairly frequently but lately not so much. I do agree that downtown shops are now basically all corporate chains which is a shame. But the bars (can you say Mother's and SLO Brewery) do seem to keep going (in a good way). Copeland could sell any of its space and make a mint - I was always surprised at how much sq footage it had. Ah, and Costco - been around long enough to remember when that was a HUGE issue. :)

              1. re: tavmark

                Copeland sporting goods is gone now. Sports authority took over the space a while ago (not sure if copeland went out of business/sold to SA) but they also reduced the side of the store by about 1/2. The side of the store where the golf equipment used to be is being renovated into what appears to be a restaurant but I'm not sure. So I guess they decided to do exactly what you thought :).

        2. I forgot to mention Uptown Espresso, on Higuera St just past Santa Rosa, on the left. A few doors east of Firestone. Terrible parking. Three slots in the lot and take your chances on the street or walk a couple blocks.

          They don't do their own roasting, but have used the same roaster in Santa Barbara (don't know who) for 16 years, so the beans are consistent.

          They have a new storefront out on Broad St, between Orcutt and Tank Farm, where the old Giant Food used to be just past Capitolio. There's a car dealer there now. It's called Black Horse. They do careful brewing and espresso (the downtown location's motto is "Home of the Velvet Foam".

          1. for freshly (and not over-) roasted beans, Coastal Peaks Roasters is located on the South Higuera commercial corridor, about a block towards town from Trader Joe's. They are happy to sell coffee by the cup, or beans by the pound or fraction, but they are not really set up as a coffee bar. This is their roasting facility. I call my order in and pick it up later in the day, but you can just drop in as well.

            They have a good selection of regular, decaf, fair trade and organically-grown beans. They are in a business complex (tin buildings) near Neon Carrot and the old 84 Lumber which is now the spiffed-up headquarters for Meathead Movers, to give some landmarks. Located to the rear.


            2 Replies
            1. re: toodie jane

              Thanks for this update toodie jane! I will explore this roaster on my next trip north!

              1. re: sel

                be sure to check out Neon Carrot for lunch or a snack. Nice place. No dinners, but Happy Hour on Friday with all-you-can-eat pasta, 4-7.

            2. I roast my own coffee at home because I haven't found any locally roasted coffee that's anywhere near excellent. It's also hard to find a local barista that knows how to pull a decent shot of espresso. Linnea's in downtown San Luis Obispo is probably one of the better bets and has a great location/atmosphere. Probably the best espresso I've had locally is at Giuseppe's restaurant in Pismo Beach, but that's a bit of a drive. Sadly, the Starbuck's in Westwood will hand you a better espresso than most of the places around here.