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Local coffee shops provide a home away from home

A+hot%2C+delicious+mocha+awaits+its+consumption
A hot, delicious mocha awaits its consumption

A hot, delicious mocha awaits its consumption

Ye Bin Shin

Ye Bin Shin

A hot, delicious mocha awaits its consumption

Natalie Rubio-Licht and Ye Bin Shin

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Though for many, getting a coffee is a choice between a 10-minute visit to Peets or Starbucks, some places have a different vision for their businesses . Whether you want a place to sit and relax or need to grab and go, these places are the best to go for your coffee kicks.

Inklings Coffee and Tea

530 Main St, Pleasanton, CA 94566

(925) 399-1496

Monday- Friday 7AM–10PM

 

Saturday- Sunday 8AM–8PM

 

The first stop on our coffee tour was Inklings coffee and tea in the heart of downtown Pleasanton. Walking in, the first thing we noticed was an antique, rustic vibe. Each decoration seemed to be picked out with thought and care, which included a large book cases filled with locally donated books, framed pictures of the writer group the “Inklings” (the namesake of the restaurant), and a mural depicting their slogan, “Seek the good of the city.” The cafe’s coffee provider is Stumptown roasters out of Portland, Oregon.

Upon talking to shift leader Ann Marie, we learned that though they have only been open since October 2016, they are achieving their vision of creating a community hub where people can stay for long periods of time at a place that is not a bar.

 

“We have regulars that come in and hang out for hours without even ordering, and that’s fine. We encourage creating a place where people can just stay,” Ann Marie told us when asked about the shop’s vision.

 

After the quick interview, we picked up our drinks and sat down in plush chairs. Our drinks, the lavender latte ($4.38) and the mocha ($4.60) were ready very quick.

 

The lavender latte gives you good energy without the bitterness of black coffee. The smoothe and creamy taste tantalizes your tastebuds without being overly sweet. Just holding the mug and smelling the drink would relax you.

 

The mocha is the perfect option for those who are not fans of the bitter taste of coffee but still want caffeine. The rich cacao scent makes the drink taste almost like a cup of hot chocolate rather than coffee. The hint of melted caramel provides a perfect balance of sweetness without crossing the line of overpowering the drink.

 

Though Inklings is in Pleasanton, it is worth the trip. The large space provides ample seating, a home-like environment and a community hub that even hosts public events such as concerts and movie nights. If you want to get out of the house, Inklings provides guests with a home away from home.

 

Coffee Shop

1321 Locust St, Walnut Creek, CA 94596

(925) 938-3855

Sun-Mon 6:30AM–8PM
Tues- Thurs 6:30AM–10PM
Fri- Sat 6:30AM–11PM

 

Our second stop on the coffee tour was Coffee Shop in downtown Walnut Creek. The first impression we received (other than how busy the shop was) was an open, modern feel. The wooden furniture, dim lighting and cast iron fixtures contrasted with the modern feel of the room itself.

 

We got in line and ordered a mocha ($4.25) and a macchiato ($3.50), which came out relatively quickly compared to the amount of people in the store.

 

If you don’t like bitter coffee taste, a mocha is the best option. Though it is not intensely sweet, it still provides a hint of sweetness with a rich, creamy flavor. If you have a bit of a sweet tooth, we recommend adding a spoonful of honey, available at the counter, to bring out some of the flavor in the coffee.

 

The macchiato, however, was almost the complete opposite. If you love strong, bold espresso flavor, the macchiato is good for you. Though the cup is small, the drink gives you a lot of energy for the price, and provides a dollop of thick foam as a buffer for the intense flavor. It is safe to say that this is not your average Starbucks macchiato.

 

After receiving our drinks, we had some time to sit down and talk with Tessa, a shift lead. She told us that it is a family owned business whose Walnut Creek location is the original of the three, and has been open since April 2015. Their vision, similar to that of Inklings, is to provide a place where people can hang out and study while learning about coffee. They remember the orders of the regular visitors and make specialty drinks when asked.

“There is no right or wrong way to drink coffee,” Tessa told us, admitting that many are embarrassed about not knowing much about different types of coffee.

 

Their main provider is Stumptown roasters out of Portland, Oregon, however, they sell a lot of independent brands as well. Though their name is simple, the experience they provide is much more than that of a simple coffee shop. It is a warm, welcoming environment and a community hub, even boasting an open mic night every Tuesday.

 

Sideboard

90 Railroad Ave, Danville, CA 94526

(925) 984-2713

Sunday- Monday 8AM–8PM
Tuesday-Saturday 8AM–9PM

 

Our final stop on our coffee tour was the downtown Danville staple, Sideboard. When we first approached, it was packed and the line was out the door with the breakfast crowd. The interior of the place had a warm, homey feel with dark, wooden furniture and fairy lights.

 

Among the decor of paintings and merchandise, a deer’s head hangs on the wall near the counter, giving the establishment a holiday lodge feel. After waiting in line, we ordered latte ($4.25) and mocha ($5.00).

 

Though it is not sweet, the latte provides a warm, creamy taste that makes up for lack of sugar. The smooth consistency in addition to the mild coffee taste makes it a perfect drink for a cold morning.

 

The mocha is a good mix of chocolate and coffee flavors. The decorative froth was thick and foamy with a warm mild chocolaty sweetness.

 

After receiving our drinks, we spoke with the owner of the cafe, Ford. Ford mentioned that his vision for Sideboard began when he was in college and fell in love with his first cup of drip coffee, making him realize that he wanted to spread that feeling to others. The cafe has two locations and has been open for eight years, pursuing the goal of creating a place that is open all day for organic, casual neighborhood kitchen, providing best of the best.

“We pride ourselves for serving what we would serve to friends in home and nothing less,” he said.

 

Sideboard tries to keep everything local, and it has three different coffee suppliers — 4 Barrel and Sightglass from San Francisco, and Temple from Davis.

 

Though many think there is nothing more to do in our area than the safeway plaza, these gems rise above the rest. If you need a place to study, eat, or just hang out with friends, any of these places would be a perfect fit. These cafes provide a warm, embracing atmosphere with a modern vibe as well as excellent coffee.

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Local coffee shops provide a home away from home