No trip to Sacramento would be complete without a stop at one of the city's many independently owned coffee bars. With a focus on quality roasting and crafting a unique taste, Sacramento's baristas offer a wide variety of options to suit the palate of even the most discerning coffee lover. Visitors looking to dive into the scene can find a variety of experiences, and a great place to start is at one of the local coffee chains that has become a fixture in the city.
Sacramento Slang: Temple, as in, "Let’s meet at Temple." Every Sacramento native knows that this doesn’t mean a religious journey, but rather a coffee experience. This became a part of the city’s vernacular in 2005 when founder Sean Kohmescher opened his first store.
His inspiration for the name came from his travels in Indonesia, where he noticed that communities centered around their temples. When he got back, he wanted to create his own gathering spots for Sacramento via coffee. Now, spanning five coffee shops and being named one of the top 17 coffee roasters in the U.S. by CNN, he’s done just that. The key to Kohmescher's success is focusing on the company's three pillars of sustainability: social, economic and environmental.
To achieve that, Ed Whitman, director of Coffee at Temple, travels around the world several weeks each year to find new producers as well as keep in contact with their current farmers. This attention to the source has been successful, with Temple's acquisition of six silver medals and one bronze medal from the 2018 Golden Bean North America Competition (The largest global roasters competition and conference). One of their silver medal winners was their Dharma Espresso Blend, which features chocolate, caramel, and spice notes that will make your taste buds sing.
Midtown Sacramento (2200 K St. 6 a.m.-11 p.m. daily. WiFi, Apple Pay, pastries, desserts, gluten-free options. 916.662.7625)
Midtown Sacramento (2829 S St. 6 a.m.-11 p.m. daily. WiFi, Apple Pay, pastries, gluten-free options. 916.454.1272)
Downtown Sacramento (1010 Ninth St. 6 a.m.-6 p.m. daily. WiFi, Apple Pay, pastries, gluten-free options. 916.443.4960)
Arden Arcade (2600 Fair Oaks Blvd. 6 a.m.-10 p.m. daily. WiFi, Apple Pay, pastries, gluten-free options. 916.974.7404)
Davis (239 G St., Davis, Calif. 6 a.m.-11 p.m. daily. WiFi, Apple Pay, pastries, gluten-free options. 530.341.0574)
W.T.F. doesn’t stand for what you think it does anymore. It’s been reclaimed as the acronym for one of the most commonly asked questions at this Sacramento staple coffee company; What The Fish? Owners Edie and Andy Baker wanted to bring a big part of New Zealand culture to the States, including the wonderful confection known as a chocolate fish (which is a fish-shaped marshmallow covered in chocolate that is given as a thank-you for a job well done).
The couple opened their first store at their downtown location in 2008 and started roasting their own coffee two years later after a Roasters Guild trip to Guatemala. They now make annual trips to their producers' farms, which allows them to keep strong relationships with the farmers and access to micro lots no ones else can approach. These trips have certainly paid off, as they have acquired multiple medals from The Golden Bean North America Competition --The largest global roasters competition and conference. They received eight silver medals and 10 bronze medals at the 2018 competition. One of their silver medal winners was their El Retiro del Quisaya, with notes of dark berries, grapefruit and baker’s chocolate. It’s not hard to see why.
East Sacramento (4749 Folsom Blvd. 6:30 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. Apple Pay, pastries, toast menu, gluten-free bars. No WiFi. 916.451.5181)
Land Park/Curtis Park (2940 Freeport Blvd. 6:30 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. Apple Pay, pastries, toast menu, gluten-free bars. No WiFi 916.346.4731)
Downtown Sacramento (400 P St. 6:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Mon.-Fri. WiFi, pastries, vegan and gluten-free bars. 916.400.4204)
You don’t need to be an old soul to fall in love with this Sacramento landmark coffee company. In 2006, friends Tim and Jason bought a warehouse and started converting it to a coffee shop/bakery. This may seem a little crazy, but for this ambitious duo, it was only the beginning.
Thirteen years later, their coffee empire includes three more shops and multiple wholesale accounts. Their success is due to the value they have for the artistic community as well as their farmers. It also doesn’t hurt that they make all of their own delicious pastries. Further proof of their winning model can be demonstrated in the four silver medals and two bronze medals they took home in the 2018 Golden Bean North America Competition. One of their silver medal winners was their Ethiopia Special Prep “Keramo.” With semi-sweet chocolate, grape candy and strawberry notes; you won’t be able to just have one cup.
Midtown Sacramento: The Alley (1716 L St rear alley. 6 a.m.-9 p.m. daily. WiFi, pastries, breakfast, lunch, vegan and gluten-free options. 916.443.7685)
Midtown Sacramento: The Weatherstone (812 21st St. 6 a.m.-11 p.m. daily. WiFi, pastries, breakfast, lunch, vegan and gluten-free options. 916.443.6340)
Oak ParK; 40 Acres (3434 Broadway. 6 a.m.-10 p.m. Wifi, pastries, breakfast, lunch, vegan and gluten-free options. 916.453.8540)
Downtown Sacramento (555 Capitol Mall. 6 a.m.-7 p.m. Mon.-Fri. 6 a.m.-5 p.m. weekends. WiFi, pastries, breakfast, lunch, vegan and gluten-free options. 916.890.1555)
This local chain has a sixth sense on how to get into the hearts and souls of every Sacramentan -- good coffee. Chris Ryan was one of the original partners who opened the first Insight coffee house/roastery in December of 2011 and still runs it today. The business began with sustainably sourced coffee and education.
Ryan wanted to cultivate a community that was willing to learn more about the various avenues within coffee -- everything from the multiple different brewing methods to how coffee is sourced, and how it is roasted. Insight offers classes on all of the different subjects on the weekends for as well as extensive YouTube videos and thorough explanations of everything on their website. Over the next eight years, the business expanded, and Ryan now has a joint venture with the new Bailarin Cellars Wine Bar and Insight coffee. Make sure to try their Finca Los Congos. It has pear, honeydew, and rose notes that adds a unique sweetness to your cup of joe.
Downtown/Southside Park (1901 Eighth St. 6:30 a.m.-7 p.m. Mon.-Fri., 7 a.m. - 7 p.m. weekends. WiFi, Apple Pay, pastries, vegan bars. 916.905.7904)
Carmichael (6241 Fair Oaks Blvd. 7 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Fri. 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m. weekends. WiFi, Apple Pay, pastries, vegan and gluten-free options)
Organic coffee has been taken up a notch, with Pachamama leading the way. Co-founders Raúl del Aguila Hidalgo and Thaleon Tremain helped create the only U.S. coffee roastery solely owned and directed by its farmers. They are made up of five member groups that each elect a leader to serve on the board of directors. These groups are the COCLA, PRODECOOP, Manos Campesinas, La Unión Regional de Huatusco, and the Oromia Coffee Farmers Co-op Union.
By being a part of the cooperative, this allows the producers to have more control over their product and have a direct relationship with their customers. In 2006, their first farmer-direct operations began in California, and by 2013 they had opened their first retail store in Davis. Now, they have two coffee bars and a roastery in Sacramento. As a testament to their success, in 2018 two of their coffees received Good Food Awards (The Good Food Foundation selects winners based off of their taste and the company's ethical responsibility). One of these coffees was Pachamama's Ethiopia Kossa Geshe, which has an amazing lemonade and honey flavor that will have you coming back for more.
East Sacramento (3644 J St. 6 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Fri. 7 a.m.-5 p.m. weekends. WiFi, Apple Pay, pastries. 916.476.4385)
Midtown Sacramento (919 20th St. 7 a.m.-7 p.m. daily. WiFi, Apple Pay, pastries. 916.476.4385)