Coffee at Captain + Stoker
Photo courtesy: Captain + Stoker
Brewing everything from espresso tonics to lavender lattes, start (or end) your day with a cup of joe from these creative coffee shops.
By Kimberley Lovato
Whether it’s a morning ritual, an afternoon caffeine kick, or a warm-up when the fog rolls in, coffee is not only a daily essential, it’s also an experience in Monterey County, where these new favorites bring their A-game to each cuppa.
Located in Seaside, urban edge and an onsite recording studio (open to all who dare) at Counterpoint Coffee make it a worthy destination. But the real show starts at the coffee bar, where a cast of talented baristas shake, blend, and pour to please the caffeine-driven clientele. The effervescent espresso tonics are a signature crowd pleaser. Nibble on pastries, cheese, and charcuterie — or drop in for a sip of Monterey beer or biodynamic wines, including two on tap. 565 Broadway Ave., Seaside; facebook.com/counterpointcoffee
The oh-so-Instagrammable Captain + Stoker gets its name from the positions on a tandem bike, and the décor follows suit with two-wheelers dangling from the ceiling. The airy space was once a German sausage shop, and the roll-up garage doors invite indoor-outdoor lingering and the wafting scent of heating beans from the 2.5-ton roaster. The single- origin coffee, espresso, iced mocha, and exceptional latte art don’t disappoint. There are also café bites, including vegan options and an oft-lauded avocado toast, which you can eat at the community table. 398 E Franklin St., Monterey; captainandstoker.com
Tucked inside the 2.5-acre historic Cooper Molera Adobe, the site of Monterey’s settling, the cozy Alta Bakery & Café has some of the best from- scratch pastries and baked goods around, thanks to culinary director and pastry chef Ben Spungin. But for coffee and tea lovers, it’s the changing monthly concoctions that lure you back. A lemon-poppyseed latte, lavender latte, and watermelon mint matcha recently made an appearance. Traditionalists, don’t worry. Beloved drips, espressos, and Americanos are available to enjoy on an outdoor patio overlooking some of Monterey’s most historic buildings. 502 Munras Ave., Monterey; altamonterey.com