Orange County like many other places is the land of Starbucks coffee shops with seemingly one on every corner. Sure there is the occasional other large chain such as the Coffee Bean or Peet’s but there are not as many independent coffee shops as many cities.
Portola Coffee is a small chain of shops in Southern California with six of their seven locations in Orange County with the newly opened seven in nearby Long Beach.
In 2015 Portola Coffee was named Micro Roaster Of The Year by Roast Magazine the chain uses the best coffee beans but also they brew it multiple ways that your standard Starbucks doesn’t. The selection of coffees and teas is extensive and, well worth visiting if you are looking for more choices and very knowledgeable staff.
I often visit their flagship location in Costa Mesa which is located in a hip outdoor mall called the South Coast Collection which is a mix or trendy furniture, houseware, kitchen stores with a good selection of restaurants serving quality food.
Portola Coffee is in the center of the complex inside a big building they call the OC Mix which has a large selection of smaller stores inside as well as numerous seating areas. The stores inside include things like a cheese shop, wine bar, milk tea counter, art gallery, kitchen supplies and many clothes stores.
Portola Coffee has a large counter with different coffee machines behind it with some looking like they should be a prop in a sci-fi movie. This trip I decided to keep things simple and have a caffe mocha and yes it tasted as gone as it looks in the picture above. Unlike certain coffee chains that I’m not going to mention that might have a green and white logo the coffee doesn’t taste bitter or burnt.
Portola Coffee sells pastries from Mr Holmes Bakehouse and on this trip i tried the one in the photo above, which is cheese, jalapeno and bacon. I was a little afraid the jalapeno might overpower everything but it was cheesy with just a little jalapeno kick.