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A Great Cup of Coffee in Irvine….in a Coffeehouse! Coffee Shop! Cafe!

Updated on October 25, 2017
Just in front of Layer Cake on Barranca.
Just in front of Layer Cake on Barranca.

Where can I get a great cup of coffee ... in a coffeehouse in Irvine? Irvine is so centrally located in Orange County that a great cup of coffee can pull together coffee geeks from the north, the south, the east and the west. And yet, I am challenged to find one.

A coffeehouse, coffee shop, or a cafe conjure up different images of a leisurely stay at a place designed primarily to serve coffee; a place to spend time alone or with friends, entertain or be entertained. In my mind, a coffeehouse offers a sense of permanence; and, permits a claim by daily habitués for a regular venue for their coffee, a table and chair to sit alone, or a meeting with friends. There would be music, lively discussions, a quiet corner, and of course, excellent coffee and snacks. A coffee shop and cafe does not require a sense of familiarity but should still be a good source of excellent coffee. Some coffee shops and cafes do offer their "regulars" a sense of "home".


Irvine is a beautiful city; clean, fresh and invigorating. Live, walk, drive, cycle, jog or run along landscaped sidewalks and around lakes, among tall eucalyptus, jacaranda,and pine trees and you are convinced that your lucky stars did shine on you.

Irvine also may be the fastest growing city in Orange County, California. A young city incorporated in 1971; it is now the 98th largest city in the US according to The US Census Bureau data from July 2008.

But, where is that great cup of a coffee house? Could it be that the beautiful outdoors offers a strong alternative to sitting down in a coffee house that entrepreneurs don’t see the feasibility of one?

Starbucks or Peet's Coffee?

Would I be able to get a great cup of coffee from Starbucks? Starbucks coffee is served in over 30 Starbucks cafes, stores and kiosks in Irvine including Starbucks counters at John Wayne Airport. Music and WiFi is available which makes for easy lounging with the internet and coffee in several of its cafes. Starbucks in a very short time of its existence has provided to the populace, locally, nationally, and some countries across the globe, a great "go to" place for that quick cup or a convenient place to meet with friends or while away some time.

What about Peet’s Coffee? There’s a Peet’s coffee house at Crossroads on Barranca Parkway; one at Orchard Hills on Portola Parkway; and one near the University of California in Irvine campus on Campus Drive. Peet's Coffee presents a pleasant setting for a good cup of coffee alone or with friends.

BLK Dot, Cielo Coffee, Coffee Tomo, Sootha Coffee, or Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf?

What about coffee at BLK Dot on Irvine Boulevard and Yale; Cielo Coffee on Michelson and University, and Coffee Tomo on Irvine Center Drive and Culver, and Sootha Coffee? Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf has three cafes. They are on Alton Parkway and Jeffrey, on Harvard and Main, and in Irvine Spectrum. We are all familiar with these small cafes that serve good coffee almost as much as we know the coffee at Starbucks and Peet's.

Panera Bread, Corner Bakery, 85c Bakery, Nordstrom's E Bar?

What about coffee at Panera Bread on Barranca Parkway on Culver, Irvine Boulevard on Sand Canyon, and at the Irvine Marketplace on Jamboree? Corner Bakery on Harvard and Main, in Irvine Marketplace, and in Irvine Spectrum? 85c Bakery on Jamboree and Alton; and, at Nordstrom's E Bar in Irvine Spectrum?

Many more could I include in my list but I still have to find that great cup of coffee ... in a coffee house.

Champagne French Bakery Cafe?

Recently, Champagne French Bakery Cafe in Woodbridge Center announced that Lavazza Coffee is now served in the Café. The Woodbridge Center was newly renovated and take out coffee can be enjoyed with a view of the lake.

Layer Cake Bakery

The little bakery on Barranca called Layer Cake Bakery Cafe serves excellent brewed coffee which I have enjoyed while resting after a morning walk.

Mimi's Cafe

Mimi's Cafe, while mainly a restaurant, serves a great latte! They have bar sitting for a quick cup. They are also open all day and is quite convenient to spend some time alone, prepare for a meeting, or with friends to catch up with life. Mimi's is on the corner of Barranca and West Yale Loop.

Latte and cappuccino at Mimi's.
Latte and cappuccino at Mimi's.

Gold Among Nuggets

I would like a coffee place where I can sit alone or with friends and have a great tasting cup of brewed coffee. I would like a robust yet fresh tasting espresso. I would like a comforting cappuccino or latte. I would like a coffee place that could be a coffee house.

Irvine is almost a paradise and I should be able to get a great cup of coffee ... in a coffee house. Is my great cup of coffee ... in a coffee house at a rainbow’s end? Is there gold among the nuggets?

Irvine, California


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