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The Absolute Best Espresso in Orange County

Frankie D May 17, 2010 09:07 AM

I am still looking for the Best, most Authentic Espresso in Orange County. Please do not post Starbucks or any other corporate coffee house. I am looking for a real Barista who puts his heart and soul in to every cup.

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  1. christoofat RE: Frankie D May 17, 2010 09:27 AM

    Try Kean Coffee

    They roast in store, and the baristas who know what they are doing.

    Kean Coffee
    2043 Westcliff Dr Ste 100, Newport Beach, CA 92660

    5 Replies
    1. re: christoofat
      ocshooter RE: christoofat May 17, 2010 09:41 AM

      I second Kean. I think it was started by the son of the Dietrich's chain, after they sold out to *ahem* Starbucks. It doesn't pop up in the links, but there is one in Tustin as well on Newport and Main near the Souplantation.

      1. re: ocshooter
        Frankie D RE: ocshooter May 17, 2010 03:15 PM

        Thank you for the recommendations, I will try it and post my results.

        1. re: Frankie D
          jaykayen RE: Frankie D May 17, 2010 03:44 PM

          IME, a complete game of chances. I had 2 pretty bad ones there, one AMAZING one, and then two more bad ones. I don't play that game anymore.

          1. re: jaykayen
            ciaolette RE: jaykayen May 17, 2010 08:00 PM

            I know what you mean, it seems like inconsistent baristas is the curse of Los Angeles espresso. Luxxe in Santa Monica, Coffee Klatch in San Dimas, Kean, these are some of my favorites and I have had exquisite, but also subpar drinks at each one. This is the thing, now I just take it back and ask for another, and even, last week at Coffee Klatch, a third before they got it right. This doesn't happen in SF or Portland, because the clientele would pitch a fit. So stand up for your espresso until they get it right.

            Coffee Klatch
            806 W Arrow Hwy, San Dimas, CA 91773

      2. re: christoofat
        honkman RE: christoofat May 18, 2010 04:28 PM

        Had an espresso on Sunday at Keans and it was just awful. I didn't expect something on Intelligentsia level but you would get better espressos at Starbucks (if I ever would buy one there).

      3. a
        Allmodcons RE: Frankie D May 18, 2010 08:10 AM

        Consistency, lack of same, is the problem at Kean, whose beans are delicious.

        Such nice people work there... wish there was more attention paid to quality control or training or whatever it would take to make it dependable.


        1 Reply
        1. re: Allmodcons
          choctastic RE: Allmodcons May 18, 2010 04:42 PM

          In particular, the beans from Rwanda were delicious, at least I thought so.

        2. k
          karynx78 RE: Frankie D May 18, 2010 09:14 PM

          I absolutely LOVE Kean Coffee. By far one of the best coffee shops around.

          Kean Coffee
          2043 Westcliff Dr Ste 100, Newport Beach, CA 92660

          1. s
            sarmizegetusa RE: Frankie D Jul 4, 2012 11:11 AM

            Hidden House Coffee in San Juan Capistrano is the absolute best, every time.


            1. Das Ubergeek RE: Frankie D Jul 5, 2012 10:32 AM

              The absolute best espresso in Orange County is at Paninoteca Maggio, in the little live-work lofts near Mother's Market in Santa Ana. For some reason, the Italians can make an amazing espresso even in the United States without some big hipster fuss about it.

              It blows—and it sorrows me to say this, because I love both these places—both Kéan and Portola out of the water.

              (Yes, I know this was an old post... but Paninoteca Maggio is new.)

              5 Replies
              1. re: Das Ubergeek
                Tkn RE: Das Ubergeek Aug 4, 2012 08:20 PM

                Had a Toscana and an espresso for lunch here today. So damn good!

                1. re: Tkn
                  kevin RE: Tkn Aug 7, 2012 06:17 PM

                  where ???

                2. re: Das Ubergeek
                  ocshooter RE: Das Ubergeek Aug 7, 2012 05:19 PM

                  I am in the area at least twice a week, but they close so early and are not open every day. I want to go... but keep getting thwarted.

                  1. re: Das Ubergeek
                    kevin RE: Das Ubergeek Aug 7, 2012 06:17 PM

                    I'll have to hit it up. Is it pretty close to Lola Gaspar's ???

                    Speaking of which what do you think of LG ?

                    1. re: kevin
                      Tkn RE: kevin Aug 7, 2012 08:01 PM

                      It's about 2 miles North up Main St.; by the 22 and the 5.

                  2. i
                    iheartgelato RE: Frankie D Aug 8, 2012 09:55 PM

                    Portola Coffee Lab in Costa Mesa seems to take their coffee very seriously. I'm not an espresso connoisseur, however, I think it would be worth checking out. It's in that SOCO shopping center off of Harbor and the 405. They're part of the OC Mart Mix. Good luck!

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: iheartgelato
                      Bradbury RE: iheartgelato Aug 10, 2012 12:28 AM

                      Also, Cafecito Organico is opening up (or perhaps it already has?) at the Lab on Bristol in Costa Mesa. I've been to their location near LACC a few times and the roasts have been excellent, though barista skill is hit-or-miss.

                      1. re: Bradbury
                        kevin RE: Bradbury Aug 10, 2012 10:01 AM

                        oh, this is the joint catty-corner from Scoops on Heliotrope ?

                        1. re: kevin
                          Das Ubergeek RE: kevin Aug 15, 2012 12:23 PM

                          Cafecito Organico is directly next door to Scoops. Scoops is 712 N. Heliotrope, Cafecito Organico is 710.

                        2. re: Bradbury
                          paulcline RE: Bradbury Aug 24, 2012 05:00 PM

                          I think it opens this weekend. (The OC location that is)

                      2. f
                        funkyshanna RE: Frankie D Aug 14, 2012 02:50 PM

                        Portola Coffee - Not quite to the level of Intelligencia, but the best in OC.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: funkyshanna
                          Das Ubergeek RE: funkyshanna Aug 15, 2012 12:24 PM

                          Given the choice of Intelligentsia-level coffee with Intelligentsia-level attitude, or not-quite-Intelligentsia-level coffee with very little attitude, I'll pick the latter every time.

                          1. re: Das Ubergeek
                            honkman RE: Das Ubergeek Aug 21, 2012 09:23 AM

                            Never had any problems with attitude at any of the Intelligentsia places.

                          2. re: funkyshanna
                            Stravinsky RE: funkyshanna Oct 29, 2013 02:00 AM

                            I honestly want to know what this means. Not quite Intelligentsia level? Intelligentsia does not even do the best espresso in Los Angeles.

                            Portola's espresso is pulled to at least the level of Intelligentsia, and higher at Theorem.

                            The only answer to this thread should be Theorem.

                            Forget Orange County, Theorem ranks in the top 5 espresso bars in the COUNTRY.

                          3. r
                            Riccardo RE: Frankie D Mar 8, 2013 10:50 AM

                            The absolute best? It very well might be the espresso you'd make in your own kitchen after investing a few hundred dollars in equipment and learning how to use it. You'd likely find that was money well spent if you amortize the investment cost over, say, a period of a year or two, versus what you'd otherwise pay over the same span of time for often hit-and-miss products at vaunted espresso joints.

                            My always perfect - or at worst near-perfect - double cappuccino each morning costs me only a few cents to make. And I'm still in my pajamas.

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