Categories: Feature Article

Searching for that Great Cup of Joe!

Exploring independent coffee houses around town

By Heather Simpson-Bluhm

May 17, 2022

Cup of Joe

Heading out on a crisp morning in search of a good cup of coffee? San Benito County is fortunate to have a handful of independent coffee houses and roasters that offer delicious handcrafted espresso drinks, coffee, and beans.

Independent Coffee Houses

Vertigo Coffee Roasters is located just a block off of Highway 156 in historic San Juan Bautista. Vertigo sits in a quaint building with a welcoming patio decorated with flowering vines-and twinkling lights, anchored by a wood burning pizza oven from which you can order rustic sourdough crusted pizzettes. The mainstay of Vertigo Roasters, of course, is their coffee. Vertigo roasts a variety of exceptional beans in-house to craft their menu of coffee drinks, and also sells its beans by the bag or subscription. Other offerings include freshly baked pastries, fresh egg scramble bowls, sandwiches, and a selection of craft beers and wines.

81 Fourth Street, San Juan Bautista, CA

Mon-Tues 8am-2pm & Wed-Sun 8 am-6 pm

Calavera Coffee is located in the shopping district of Hollister on Airline Highway. Their brightly colored space welcomes customers in search of delicious espresso drinks like their iconic Lavender Latte and other drinks created with organic syrups and imagination. Calavera offers a variety of baked goods from El Nopal Bakery, as well as their house-made liege waffles (yum). You can also choose from a variety of prepackaged cold latte drinks and kombucha selections. Relax and enjoy the music from their collection of vinyl, or enjoy some sun at one of their outdoor tables. Calavera also offers a variety of coffees by the bag or subscription.

1709 M Airline Highway, Hollister, CA

Open 7am-7pm every day

A few blocks away on Tres Pinos Road is one the best kept secrets for a quiet and delicious breakfast in Hollister and a great cup of coffee. Be True Cafe has one of my favorite patios in town. You have a full coffee bar to choose from, plus lots of treats and a wide variety of fresh, made-to-order breakfast and lunch options. Their avocado toast is fabulous and the Haybaler Breakfast Burrito is a crowd pleaser! Grab a bite and your favorite drink and enjoy an hour with friends on their beautiful patio, surrounded by succulents and a bubbling fountain in the shade of mature trees.

330 Tres Pinos Rd Unit E, Hollister, CA

Check Facebook for latest hours

Cafe Con Leche con Amor, a relative newcomer, and their mobile coffee cart has been spotted all over town! They have just opened a storefront this past weekend, so be sure to stop by and check out their offerings. Visit their Facebook page for store hours and more information.

396 4th St B-4 Hollister, CA

Coffee Express Lane

No time to stop? If you need a good cup of coffee on the go, drive through one of two Java Express locations in town. Java has been serving Hollister for nearly 30 years and includes a wide variety of handcrafted coffee drinks, smoothies, Italian sodas, and granitas. Check their Facebook page for weekly specials on drinks like Banana Bread Latte, Pink Elephants, and Cupcake Mochas. Java Express also offers bagels, donuts, and cookies.

1515 Cushman St, Hollister, CA

5am-9pm M-F 6am-9pm Sat and 6am-7pm Sun

371 San Felipe Rd, Hollister, CA

5am-1pm M-F 6am-12pm Sat 7am-12pm Sun

Prefer to brew your own? 

San Benito County offers up even more top-notch options for locally roasted beans from micro-roasters. In addition to the beans available at Vertigo and Calavera, you can explore the variety available from Tourist Hat Coffee or Craze Coffee Roasters.

Tourist Hat Coffee in Hollister roasts beans with a purpose–to support youth in the arts and trades. You can order their selections of beans online.

Another good choice for beans is Craze Coffee Roasters, which started air-roasting its single origin coffees in 2020. Find Craze Coffee at the Hollister Farmer’s Market, Bertuccio’s Market, or order online for local delivery or shipping.

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