As college towns go, San Luis Obispo is pretty nice—warm weather year round, downtown shopping and restaurants, hiking trails, a short ten-minute drive to the beach, and a picturesque mountain range backdrop. What makes it even better is the ample amount of coffee shops accessible to grab a cup and hit the books, all in one place. Through my exploration of new places to study and cure my caffeine addiction while a Cal Poly student, I have curated a list of the top 10 coffee spots in San Luis Obispo, in the hopes that you too can find the perfect place to enjoy coffee and good company.

1. Scout Coffee

Yasmine McCroden

Recently recognized as "Small Business of the Year" for California's 35th State Assembly District, Scout Coffee lies among roughly 75 other businesses who were chosen out of millions of businesses in California for its positive impact on its local community and on the greater California economy. With two locations, the first in downtown on Garden Street and the second on Foothill Blvd., the company is ever-growing in popularity.

 Menu options include lemon pistachio shortbread, a chocolate raspberry scone, a Scout cookie, and an almond jam croissant, making it one of the coffee spots in San Luis Obispo with the best baked goods. Their coffee is roasted in-house and pastries made daily from scratch. High-profile fans of the local-favorite include “Bridesmaids” star Kristen Wiig and "Good Eats" host Alton Brown.

2. Kreuzberg

Yasmine McCroden

Kreuzberg Coffee Company was started in 2010 by Cal Poly graduates (#gomustangs), with its main location on Higuera Street in downtown San Luis Obispo and a second location in Paso Robles. The name derives from the owners' love for the cafe culture in the coffee shops of Kreuzberg, a neighborhood in Berlin, Germany. The shop boasts a welcoming, fun, and creative atmosphere with cool artwork on the walls and funky light fixtures. Cal Poly students and locals of San Luis Obispo alike frequent the coffee shop to eat, drink, meet, and study.

Kreuzberg roasts their own beans every day, making their coffee some of the best on the central coast. With an extensive menu, including breakfast, sandwiches, salads, soup and pastas, you get everything you love in a coffee shop and more. And if that's not enough, breakfast is served all day.

Some of my personal favorites on their menu include the yogurt parfait for breakfast, french toast and pancakes, with options of classic chocolate chip and blueberry. For lunch, the chicken, goat cheese & pear sandwich is killer, especially with a side of their warm and crispy sweet potato fries.

Kreuzberg offers all the classic coffee choices you would expect, but with a twist. Both their mocha and hot chocolate drinks come in options of dark, white, tuxedo, or Mexican.

#SpoonTip: Visit the shop on Tuesdays to get the Kreuzberger and fries for only $6.

3. Nautical Bean

Characterized by its artsy decor with hanging string lights and lines of skateboards decked out on the walls, Nautical Bean offers a unique twist on the average coffee shop, dishing out espresso drinks, sandwiches, flatbreads, and freshly baked cookies and treats. Family-owned, the shop prides itself on its appeal as a place "where you can be yourself."

Not only do they serve up the classic coffee drinks you would expect at any other coffee shop, the Nautical Bean offers drinks you would not find anywhere else: the "Rainforest" drink is their signature soy, chai, matte latte, available either hot or iced, and the "Shot in the Dark" is everything you love in a spicy chai latte with added espresso shots.

The food served at the shop is what really sets them apart from the rest. Highlights include the California Eggel, with your choice of bagel with egg, melted jack cheese, tomato, onion and avocado, Chinese Chicken salad or wrap, and my personal favorite—the breakfast burrito with egg, bacon, hash brown, roasted veggies, mixed cheese, cream cheese, and salsa, all wrapped in a flour tortilla; I highly recommend adding avocado.

4. Blackhorse Espresso & Bakery

Established in 1995, Blackhorse is known for its relaxed and upbeat environment, offering all kinds of coffee beverages, teas, hot chocolate, Italian sodas, panini's, and baked goods. With four locations, the shop is quite popular in the greater SLO area. Only the best quality of beans are roasted for their coffee drinks, delivered fresh weekly. Muffins, scones, croissants, cakes, and pies are all made from scratch, with colorful ingredients such as blackberry, raspberry, apple, peach, pumpkin, and white chocolate cranberry.

5. Linnaea's Cafe

Yasmine McCroden

Tucked in a quaint shop on Garden Street in Downtown San Luis Obispo, Linnaea's has been around since 1984 and is coined SLO's first coffeehouse. Boasting qualities of organic and fair-trade ingredients, as well as vegetarian and vegan-friendly, the cafe truly is a gathering place for conversation, music, social events, and, of course, good food and drink. Described as a refuge from the corporate work environment, the relaxed yet lively ambiance attracts many.

The shop is unique in that it provides three different environments to hang out in, which include window seating right at the front of the coffeehouse, the main living room filled with tables, art, and a piano, and finally, the beloved garden, where you can sit in the sun or under the arbor beside the koi pond. Whether you pop in to the cafe to simply sip on a latte, meet with old friends, or study for that next test, Linnaea's is one of the coffee spots in San Luis Obispo for you.

Breakfast is served everyday, and lunch on week days. Some popular menu items include the chocolate stout cupcake with Bailey's buttercream, vegan tiramisu, carrot cake, breakfast burrito, breakfast granola, spicy vanilla house chai, and matcha green tea latte. Almost all of their baked goods are gluten-free and/or vegan, though you would never guess it. The vegan chocolate cake is a must, as is their morning glory muffin and sea salt chocolate chip cookies. 

6. Front Porch

Open daily, the coffeehouse offers free coffee, tea, goodies, WiFi, and access to various study spots for Cal Poly and Cuesta students. Students go to get more than just a cup of coffee or a place to work. It's a home away from home, and a place free of judgment. Volunteer-based and anchored in religious principles, the shop radiates positivity and is open to all until 11pm most nights. Come here for an authentic place to meet people and grab a cup of coffee on the house, all within a minutes walk to the Cal Poly campus.

7. Ascendo Coffee

A cozy coffee shop in downtown SLO, Ascendo brews gourmet coffee and serves sweet and savory baked goods, with walls covered in local artwork. With air conditioning and well-lit rooms, the coffee spot is perfect to sip on an iced or hot coffee beverage, snack on one of their sweet treats, and hit the books.

8. Libertine Coffee Bar

Though widely known for their beer and wine on tap, Libertine has always found a priority in a well-caffeinated lifestyle. A flavorful variation of roasts are served daily, along with iced coffee and latte drinks, a croissantwich, breakfast burrito, bagel and locs, SLODOCO donuts, and the fun "bag of tots."

9. Lucy's Coffee Co

Initially run as a food truck called "Polly" along the Central Coast, now the company has turned into a real-life coffee shop, serving coffee drinks made with local beans and foods including artisan toasts, oatmeal, fruit, muffins, and more. Menu items consist of espresso, drip coffee, pour over coffee, cappuccino, mocha, and tea. Their hot cocoa is one of a kind, topped with toasted marshmallows. Oatmeal and ginger tea latte's are two other specialty drinks. Syrups are homemade, some of which include honey lavender, caramel, cinnamon brown sugar, and peanut butter. Lucy's also sells a not-so basic avocado toast with goat cheese and basil that looks good and tastes good. 

10. Kraken Coffee

Looking right out on Avila beach, there might be no other place like Kraken in SLO to get a good cup of coffee while looking out on the ocean. Only seven months old, customers enjoy the shop's iced coffee and cappuccino drinks. Opened by the co-owner of Kreuzberg in downtown SLO, Kraken will surely not disappoint and is a great place to sip on a drink while working, with the beach just a few short steps away.

Whether you are a student, resident, or newcomer to the town of SLO, one thing you should never be worried about is where to get a high quality cup of coffee. With the top ten best coffee spots in San Luis Obispo listed above, there is a place for everyone to find the perfect cup of coffee, good food, and a place to meet with friends or get down to business.