Laguna Beach was established as an indy kind of town and its coffeehouses reflect that same independent spirit. In fact, as a rule, Laguna Beach doesn’t allow franchises in the city limits – there have been a few quarterback sneaks and grandfather clauses over the years, but those exceptions can be counted on one hand. We locals march right past those places because we pride ourselves on being independent souls, too. After all, that’s why we live here.

Crowned at the top of my list is Laguna Coffee, a small shop tucked between Oak and Brook street on the north side of PCH. These folks roast their own coffee right there in the front room and, once you’ve tasted their smooth blends, you’ll be buying pounds of coffee to tuck in your suitcase for the kitchen back home … and a few friends’ kitchens, too. (When you’ve burned through that first pound of coffee all too quickly, you’ll be relieved to know they also sell and ship from their online site at

Laguna Coffee is an interesting blend of local, friendly folks – some uber-wealthy that you’d never guess owned more than a coffee cup themselves; some artistic types; some all-business commuters (the few hardy souls that actually leave town to go work somewhere else; and a healthy draught of eclectics all around.

Hours: The foot traffic is steady from 6:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. most weekdays, and from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on weekends.

Insider Tips: On Saturday mornings, the place rocks with 5 or 6 of the best jazz musicians you’ll ever hear. And, if you’re lucky enough to catch one of Laguna Coffee’s bi-annual potluck parties (August and December), you’ll be amazed to see HUNDREDS of regulars stuffed in every corner and pouring out onto the sidewalk and the back parking lot.

How to Find Laguna Coffee:
From Laguna’s Main Beach (the first big beach at Broadway and PCH), continue south on PCH about 7/8 of a mile. You’ll pass Anita St. Your next street is Oak Street – you can make a left turn there without backing up miles of irritated drivers and find parking on the street or in a few precious slots in the alley directly behind the shop. The coffee shop is smack in the middle of the block next to the Laundromat.

Runners Up: Believe me, there’s some awesome coffee in Laguna Beach. I’ll be writing about The Orange Inn, Zinc’s Café, the Koffee Klatch and our southerly sister, Café Vienna in future entries.

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