This blog is all about coffee! Coffee is such a college essential and I am thrilled to share my top 10 local coffee shops for you to check out while at Biola. Some of you have asked for my recommendations on Instagram or at events and nothing makes my heart happier than sharing my passion for coffee shop culture. Of course, we have amazing coffee shops on campus (Common Grounds, The Talon, Heritage, Blackstone Cafe) but these are my recommendations if you ever want to try something off campus.
As someone who grew up in Orange County, I made sure to include some of my favorite shops from Orange County. I created a little bio for each shop including: distance from Biola, Instagram accounts, homework environments, and overall vibes.
1. Starbucks (Basic but classic)
Distance from Biola: .9 miles
Vibes/Homework Environment: Starbucks Coffee is not my choice of coffee but I love this location. It is totally within walking distance from Biola and it's so convenient and has a drive-through. My roommate and I would often go here to study. The Starbucks baristas here are so nice and always ask how school is going when I wear my Biola merch. Whenever we had an event, I would make sure to stop at this Starbucks. They play really good music and I find it very easy to be productive there. They also have a decent amount of outlets for charging and have a wide range of seats. Since this is also so close to campus, this Starbucks stays open later than most!
Distance from Biola: 1.9 miles
Vibes/Homework Environment: Civitas has quickly become one of my favorite coffee shops while I am at Biola. This is a shop that you could even ride your bike to, which makes its location to Biola super convenient. They have a virtual stamp card program and I love how convenient and easy they make it earn rewards.They also have amazing vegan donuts that I find myself getting almost every time I am there for a treat. It is a small shop but I really feel productive here. They play relaxing music and that helps me stay focused. Their baristas will deliver your coffee right to your table which just shows how hospitable they are. Whether I am just there to chat with a friend, or to do some solo studying, I always leave with a smile.
Distance from Biola: 2.3 miles
Vibes/Homework Environment: Stereoscope is just so visually pleasing! I love all the white walls and I find that that type of interior minimizes distractions. They always do free coffee on their birthday so that is always a blessing! Their main seating is one long table which I love for when I am working on a group project or if I am on a coffee date with multiple friends. I also love that they have outside seating to enjoy the outside weather.
4. Coffee Code
Distance from Biola: 4.7 miles
Vibes/Homework Environment: My favorite thing about Coffee Code is their ice cubes. They use coffee ice cubes in their drinks so your drink will never get all watery. Sometimes, I like to take my time with my iced vanilla latte so I appreciate the extra effort to make my latte last. It is a small shop with a lot of white walls which makes it easy to be productive and get work done. They also have some amazing pastries, I recommend the chocolate croissant.
Distance from Biola: 8.6 miles
Vibes/Homework Environment: I love Philz! Philz is a small chain and I love that I can go both while at home and at Biola. They support environmentalism by offering a decent discount when you bring your own cup, but if you forgot your own cup, all of their cups are compostable. I love their variety of drinks and the fact I can get them super sweet. I love their variety of seats that can accommodate solo study sessions and large study groups. I often have found myself staying here for hours and I know I can count on seeing my fellow Ambassadors there. Their baristas always make sure you love your drink and will always ask you how your day is going. It is also by another college, so it is a common study stop.
6. Smoking Tiger
Distance from Biola: 2.4 miles
Vibes/Homework Environment: Smoking Tiger is a relatively new place but a 10/10 in my book. They also have a wide variety of seating and have lots of long tables. When doing my homework I sometimes need lots of room and it is so easy to do that with their long tables. Despite it being a large space, their peaceful music allows for a prime study environment. They also have amazing bread and pastries that you can smell as soon as you walk in the door.
7. Enchanted Coffee
Distance from Biola: 2.8 miles
Vibes/Homework Environment: Enchanted also has a stamp card program that always keeps me coming back. The tables are smaller but allow for great solo study sessions. The baristas are always so kind and intentional. Their sandwiches are also bomb! They also have some pretty good pastries. I like to try something different every time I go. It is so peaceful and I always feel so welcomed when I come in but also very relaxed. I first found out about this place through a friend’s recommendation and I am so thankful for this little gem of a coffee shop.
8. Bad Coffee
Distance from Biola: 25 miles
Vibes/Homework Environment: Any of my friends know that Bad Coffee is my favorite shop. It is actually owned by a Biola alumni! You can find me here most days, especially when I am home in Costa Mesa. What I love about this place is that I can go to catch up with a friend, or spend hours doing homework. The baristas know me by name and always ask how I am doing. AsI have said before, the white aesthetic is so comforting and allows me to focus on the person or homework in front of me. I personally love that I can count on always seeing a friendly face here. Whether it's a pit stop before prom, a study session, or I am visiting friends at home, Bad Coffee is truly one of my favorite places!
9. MoonGoat Coffee Roasters
Distance from Biola: 26 miles
Vibes/Homework Environment: Moongoat is also relatively new but I love it. They have such a huge and unique space that is perfect for studying or for hanging out with friends. They are open till 11pm so it is always convenient for even late night coffee runs. One of my favorite things about Moongoat is the food! I have spent a few days here when I have stayed for hours without having to leave to go get food. Their sandwiches and daily specials menu are always full of healthy goodness to help fuel me. They also throw movie nights and open mic nights to help create a community and thriving culture.
10. Neat Coffee
Distance from Biola: 26 miles
Vibes/Homework Environment: BEST AVOCADO TOAST EVER...seriously. This avocado toast is life-changing. This is another small shop but has such a cute aesthetic. I am always greeted with a smile from their baristas. This is a pretty social shop that is always a good spot for catching up with friends. It is female-owned which I always love to support!
As many of you know, a lot of restaurants and coffee shops are currently being affected by COVID-19. Although we might not be able to go inside all of these lovely coffee shops, we can still support them. A lot of local coffee shops are offering curbside pick-up or even delivery. Make sure to call ahead or check out their Instagram pages to find out how you can support each shop.