Flavored coffees, teas, espressos and cappuccinos are great on a cold day or evening, but they can also serve as a pick-me-up anytime of the year. Whether you’re no-whip skinny caramel macchiato kind of Californian, a hot chocolate fanatic or a no-nonsense black tea drinker, these Orange County hotspots can stir up the perfect blend of heat and flavor to warm you up.
The Coffee Importers
34531 Golden Lantern
Dana Point, CA
The Coffee Importers of Dana Point have been owned and operated by the Miller family since 1979. The outdoor coffeehouse overlooking the harbour is reminiscent of European alfresco cafes, creating the perfect setting in which to sip on a hot cup of coffee, tea or hot chocolate. One of the biggest draws to The Coffee Importers is its espresso bar, featuring a variety of delicious espresso drinks made with either steamed milk or whipped cream. The main menu features a large variety of different iced and hot coffee drinks, as well as hot chocolate. In the fall, be sure to try the pumpkin spice latte and passion cider drink. Popular winter drinks include the peppermint hot cocoa and crème brulee latte––you’ll be hard pressed to find something more apt at removing the chill from the air. Don’t fill up too much on the coffee––you’ll want to save room for the sticky bunns, scones or chocolate flourless cake.
Mr. Ps Espresso Italiano Caffe
21070 Beach Blvd.
Huntington Beach, CA
Located in the heart of Huntington Beach, Mr. Ps Espreso Italiano Caffe specializes in gourmet espresso drinks. Visitors must try the caramel royale––a double espresso shot, caramel, steamed milk, rum and whipped cream––or the cappuccino royale, made with espresso, chocolate steamed milk, rum and topped with whipped cream. If you’re looking to mix in a little cold with your hot drink, try the espresso a la mode, which is topped with vanilla bean ice cream. Mr. Ps also serves up biscotti, scones and paninis––try the Italian Stallion with mortadella, capicola, salami, mozzarella, basil, bell pepper and sun dried tomato pesto spread.
Hidden House Coffee
31791 Los Rios St.
San Juan Capistrano, CA
This family owned and operated coffee shop has been rumored to house the best coffee in San Juan Capistrano. The cafe uses only the best micro-roasted beans in its drinks, which includes a variety of steamy goodness. Try the cafe au lait, chai latte vanilla (spiced or mixed), cappuccinos and flavored coffee shots. And if you like a little art with your coffee, the baristas here can create masterpieces atop your lattes.
3100 Miraloma Ave.
The MIraloma Cafe was established in 2011 and has made a name for itself with its delicious breakfast and lunch offerings. The signature Miraloma omelet has ham, avocado, red peppers, basil, mushrooms, onions and havarti cheese, and the Belgian waffles are a must-try when topped with fresh fruit and whipped cream. But it’s the coffee that really makes this place worth the visit. The cafe uses Lavazza Espresso imported from Italy in all of its drinks from the restaurant’s popular espresso bar.
Nello Cucina Ristorante & Catering
3333 Bear St.
Costa Mesa, CA
This Italian trattoria can be found in the atrium of South Coast Plaza’s Crystal Court. Nello Cucina Ristorante’s bar menu includes a variety of coffee drinks made with Kahlua, Brandy, Grand Marnier and Lavazzo coffee. You can also add your own liquor to any espresso drink if you’re looking for a more adult-style drink. The high-end drinks here are perfect for sipping on after enjoying a fabulous meal from the restaurant’s menu for a classy afternoon date. Choose from the delicious pasta offerings or opt for a hand tossed pizza from the authentic wood burning oven.
Mona Graham is a freelance writer, writing for Examiner.com. Mona has lived in Orange County since 1958 and has a great familiarity with the area. Her hobbies are travelling, writing and photography. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.