Café Society - 20+ Cool Coffee Shops in and around El Dorado County
Someone once said: “When life gives you lemons, trade them for coffee.” We couldn’t agree more, which is why we’ve rounded up the cutest cafés and best brews in the neighborhood to brighten your day. All you have to do is make a list and sip your way around town, one caffeinated cup at a time. In no particular order…
7310 Highway 49, Lotus, 530-642-1308, sierrarizing.com
Located on the American River, Sierra Rizing has been dishing up food and drinks since 2002. They not only serve coffee and pastries, but healthy and hearty lunch and dinner dishes, and beer and wine. If you’ve forgotten your lunch, stop in and grab one of their pre-packed meals (don’t forget to grab a slice of pie to go, too!). Included on the breakfast menu are scones, muffins, waffles, fritters and scrambles, among other mouthwatering items. Their location offers plenty of seating, both inside and out on the dog-friendly patio, and boasts an environment that’s casual and relaxed (check out the “lending library” and local artwork). Whether you’re rafting down the river or a hungry local, Sierra Rizing has you covered from morning till night.
Eat: Glorious Morning Muffin
Drink: Mexican Hot Chocolate (house-made cocoa mix, steamed milk, cinnamon)
594 Main Street, Placerville, 530-642-8481, ourcoz.com
Situated on Placerville’s Main Street in the historic J. Pearson Building is Cozmic Café—a longtime favorite serving food and drinks with a side of live entertainment. They proudly serve organic and GMO-free food and focus their efforts on nutrition, quality and community, often sourcing locally grown ingredients. Their coffee selection is inclusive of a full espresso bar, and offers organic dairy milk in addition to almond, hemp and soy. Wraps, sandwiches, salads and rice bowls are also on the menu, and there’s a bar on the second floor if you’re looking to get a real buzz. Stop by on Thursday evenings for open mic night, and keep an eye on their calendar for other events.
Eat: Breakfast Bowl
Drink: White Mocha (espresso, steamed milk, white mocha powder)
Roaring Road Coffee
1291 Broadway, Placerville, 530-363-5505, mkt.com/roaring-road-coffee
Roaring Road Coffee is all about convenience. As a drive-through that offers to make your drink however you prefer, you don’t even have to exit your car! What’s better (and easier) than that? Their menu includes hot and iced espresso drinks, frappes, teas, smoothies and Italian sodas; extra offerings include almond and soy milk, along with a variety of flavorful syrups. They may be small in size, but they’re huge in quality and friendliness. Be sure to grab a frequent drinker card—you’ll get a free drink after your ninth purchase. Swing by and be prepared to hit the road roaring!
Eat: No food served
Drink: Toffee Coffee (fresh-brewed coffee mixed with toffee candy and milk)
493 Main Street, Diamond Springs, 530-350-9335, caffesantoro.com
Ken and Linda Santoro offer “coffee with personality,” and their hospitality is apparent—whether you stop by the café or visit them at one of the many local events where they serve. Pay them a visit and you’ll be greeted with a warm smile and the scent of freshly roasted coffee. Their interior features an extensive bookshelf and plenty of seating, inviting you to sit back, relax and enjoy a cup of joe. They also serve a variety of pastries and even waffles, but the real winner is their breakfast sandwiches, which you can personalize by picking your protein (meats and/or an egg), bread (bagel, croissant or sourdough bread), type of cheese, vegetables and spreads. Whatever you order, the comfortable locale has lots of character and will definitely keep you coming back for more.
Eat: Breakfast Bagel Sandwich
Drink: Cappuccino Shake (espresso blended with ice cream)
Argos Coffee Roasters
195 Blue Ravine Road, Suite 100, Folsom, 916-293-8256, argoscaffe.com
Wake up and smell the coffee at Argos Coffee Roasters. If you’re lucky, you’ll come by when they’re roasting their beans in-house, making sure you always get the freshest coffee around. Their pastries come from Grateful Bread Co. in Sacramento and are equally adored. Calling itself the first espresso bar of its kind in Folsom, this tall claim is laid to rest once you taste Argos’ offerings. Join their coffee club and be exposed to the world of artisanal coffee. Try the Bali Blue Moon with notes of brown sugar, jasmine, lime and caramel or the Guatemala Quiche with its notes of dark chocolate, caramel and blackberry. Watch their Facebook page for occasional music performances and special offers.
Eat: Cinnamon Swirl Toast with Almond Butter
Drink: Caramel Latte (espresso, steamed milk and house-made caramel)
312 Main Street, Suite 104, Placerville, 530-903-3280, totemcoffeeroasters.com
Tucked away in the Cary House courtyard sits Totem Coffee—a café that roasts their own beans and serves fresh coffee and seasonal eats. Within the two short years they’ve been in business, Totem’s gained tons of local, loyal fans who come in for quality java, homemade pastries and relaxing environs. Make sure you arrive early to grab a coveted vegan donut or muffin of the day; they’re always baked fresh and sometimes sell out. In addition to pastries, gourmet sweet and savory toasts, granola cups and a few lunch options are also on the menu. What’s more, they source fair-trade beans from around the world and occasionally host musicians on their patio. Take the road less traveled and discover the goodness of Totem.
Eat: Granola Cup
Drink: Orange- Cardamom Latte (espresso, steamed milk, house-made orange-cardamom syrup)
4531 Missouri Flat Road, Placerville, 530-621-0602; 428 Placerville Drive, Placerville, 530-622-2758
Quick service, smiling faces and great coffee are on the menu at Bean Barn, a small drive-through coffee shop that serves a large selection of hot, iced and blended drinks. They also serve smoothies in kids’ sizes and light bites like bagels, muffins, oatmeal and cookies. Feed your need for morning sustenance with their breakfast shake called “The Screamer,” which includes chocolate soy protein, banana, peanut butter and milk, and get ready to tackle the day! Load up a gift card and they’ll add on ten percent, which is their way of saying “thanks,” and keep an eye on their Facebook page for seasonal drinks and specials.
Eat: Seasonal Biscotti
Drink: Brew Bomb (espresso poured over sparkling water; add cream or flavored syrups to your liking)
3941 Park Drive, El Dorado Hills, 916-933-5454, bellabrucafe.com
Bella Bru has been an El Dorado Hills staple for years, providing gourmet meals in a casual environment. They offer breakfast, lunch and dinner, along with weekly specials and occasional live entertainment. Their breakfast menu includes an array of specialty coffee drinks, pastries and more filling plates of fare like waffles, French toast, omelets, huevos rancheros, oatmeal and more. To-go orders are welcomed, but they provide plenty of seating inside and out on their dog-friendly patio. It can get quite busy (that's a good sign, right?), but you'll always be greeted and served with a smile.
Eat: Carrot Cake Muffin
Drink: Bella Bru Special (espresso, steamed milk, chocolate, almond syrup, whipped cream, toasted almonds)
Centro Coffee House
385 Main Street, Placerville, 530-626-5500
Sitting in front of Placerville’s iconic Bell Tower is Centro Coffee House. Their prime location provides plenty of seating inside and a few tables outside where you can soak in the sights and sounds of Downtown Placerville. The eight-foot-tall windows provide lots of light and great people-watching. Their breakfast menu is inclusive of a full espresso bar, assortment of freshly made pastries (try the pistachio muffin and thank me later) and breakfast sandwiches. If you’re planning to stop in and stay awhile, avail of the free refills of drip and iced coffee. Fully stocked with smiling and knowledgeable baristas, Centro is a hot spot for locals and tourists alike.
Eat: Berry Croissant
Drink: Raspberry Mocha (espresso, steamed milk, Ghirardelli chocolate sauce, raspberry syrup)
*The Main Street Buzz
6246 Pleasant Valley Road, El Dorado, 530-303-3006, facebook.com/themainstreetbuzz
The Main Street Buzz is a welcome addition to El Dorado County, attracting locals and out-of-town visitors looking for more than just a coffee break. They’ve got loaded sandwiches (you must try their homemade garlic spread) and salads, homemade soup that changes daily, breakfast croissants, smoothies and hot and iced coffee drinks (with coffee ice cubes!)—all served in an easy, friendly atmosphere. Patrons in a rush can fill up their own coffee to go using the honor system for payment. Warning: You may stop in for breakfast and end up staying for lunch.
Eat: Breakfast Croissant
Drink: Blended Caramel Mocha (espresso, milk, Ghirardelli chocolate sauce and Torani caramel syrup blended with ice)
*Keep an eye out for change in ownership
Placerville Coffee Depot
70 Main Street, Placerville, 530-295-3920, placervillecoffeedepot.com
Placerville Coffee Depot sits at the beginning of Main Street and is a similar replication of the original railroad depot that once stood near. As a Peet’s “We Proudly Brew” partner, they feature a lengthy selection of Peet’s drinks with non-dairy milk alternatives including coconut, but make their own breakfast items (cinnamon rolls, scones, muffins, bagels, oatmeal, parfaits and cookies). Since they’re homemade, don’t have you heart set on anything, as selections change daily, but prepare to be impressed. The drive-through depot makes it easy to grab and go, but they also have a patio with a few tables and chairs, so feel free to stay awhile.
Eat: Chai Scone
Drink: Iced Vanilla Latte (espresso, milk, vanilla syrup)
Love Birds Coffee and Tea Company
1390 Broadway, Suite C, Placerville, 530-300-9891, lovebirdscoffeeandtea.com
Love Birds Coffee and Tea Company is the effort of Jasmin and Garrett Sanders who, you guessed it, are love birds themselves. They source their coffee beans through direct trade and even offer a “Coffee Club”—one, 12-ounce bag of beans (whole or ground) delivered to your door at the beginning of each month. Experience a taste of Italy with their homemade pastries like cannolis and pizzelles and unique way of roasting beans. The quaint establishment—open seven days a week—also makes vegan turnovers and has an impressive array of signature teas, so there’s no reason not to stop in and fall in love.
Eat: Pastry Pizzelle
Drink: Vanilla Frappe Affogato Style (espresso, vanilla gelato soft serve and vanilla bean syrup blended with ice)
632 East Bidwell Street, Folsom, 916-984-3020, nicholsonmusic.com
Nicholson’s draws people in not only with the promise of good music, but also good coffee. Aside from the open mic, live music and instrumental lessons (ukulele anyone?), they offer all the usual caffeinated favorites—including pour-over drip coffee, mochas and cappuccinos—along with sandwiches and pastries of every kind (fresh from BJ Cinnamon). If you want some quiet time, laze around on their outdoor patio and watch Folsom go by. Soy and almond milk are available and so are vegan cookies. Support local artists and exhibit your own musical talents—all while sipping a well-made latte.
Eat: Apple Fritter
Drink: Pumpkin Spice Latte (espresso, steamed milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, clove-flavored syrup; available until Thanksgiving)
Blondie’s Coffee House
4077 Carson Road, Camino, 530-644-0284, facebook.com/blondiescoffeehouse
Blondie’s Coffee House is tucked inside an adorable small house with pink accents near Apple Hill. The interior is eclectic and cozy, and they even have a record player with a collection of vinyls for customers to play. Their menu covers breakfast and lunch and includes an espresso bar, turnovers, frittatas, bagels, quiches, sandwiches and salads. This is a popular spot for those heading back from Tahoe, but locals dig it as well. Blondie’s has been in business for less than two years, but has quickly become a favorite spot for coffee dates; turns out, blondes have more fun after all!
Eat: Mixed Berry Scone
Drink: Candy Cane Caminoccino (Sweetened cream base and peppermint syrup blended with ice and topped with whipped cream; add shot of espresso)
Foxwood Coffee and Tea
4068 Mother Lode Drive, Suite A, Shingle Springs, 530-387-7445, foxwoodcoffee.com
When you walk into Foxwood Coffee and Tea, you might think you’ve wandered into a café in Downtown Sacramento. Serving Instagrammable coffee and food that’s almost too pretty to devour, including loaded bagels, breakfast burritos, a quinoa hash stack, oatmeal with steamed coconut milk, sandwiches and salads, it’s an enjoyable place to while away a day. Coffee beans (available for purchase at the shop or on their website) come from Mast Coffee Co. in Rocklin, and they also offer a variety of hot teas (brewed fresh and loose leaf to go). What’s more, there’s wine, beer and kombucha on tap. This is a destination that locals flock to, and they invite those who visit to relax and stay awhile.
Eat: California Bagel
Drink: Iced Coconut Matcha Latte (sweetened matcha green tea powder, coconut milk, whipped cream, sprinkle of roasted coconut)
4364 Town Center Boulevard, Suite 110, El Dorado Hills, 916-939-9427, ziasgelato.com
Zia's is a little bit of Italy in El Dorado Hills. From the homemade pastries and gelato to the authentic espresso drinks, quality and taste span the entire menu. Their location in Town Center is charming and cozy, but still offers plenty of room for those looking to read a book or work on a laptop. Warm up with a hot drink or cool off with homemade sorbetto, and if you're looking for something more substantial, Zia's offers salads and paninis aplenty. Unsure of what to order? The staff is always patient and willing to help you choose. The positive atmosphere and fresh food and drinks are what make Zia's such a sweet spot for locals.
Drink: Caffe Miele Macchiato (espresso sweetened with Spanish lavender honey and topped with a dollop of steamed milk foam)
Cuppa Coffee and More
442 Main Street, Placerville, 530-626-9600, cuppacoffeeandmore.com
Recently taken over by a new owner, Cuppa Coffee and More has been standing in the same spot across from Placerville Hardware for over five years. They serve up a delicious selection of coffee and breakfast items daily, including pastries, frittatas, cookies and cakes. Everything is homemade on-site, and they offer a variety of gluten-free items. The friendly ambiance is perfect for quietly enjoying a cup of joe ($1 before 9 a.m.) while reading a borrowed book from their shelves, or catching up with an old friend over a beer or glass of wine. Come for a “cuppa coffee,” but stay for the charm and good eats.
Eat: Gluten-Free Cranberry Oat Muffin
Drink: Azteca Mocha Lava (espresso, steamed milk, chocolate, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, whipped cream)
*Bakerie and Latte Chateau Arme
2222 Francisco Drive, Suite 500, El Dorado Hills, 916-939-0834
If you’ve stopped by Bakerie and Latte Chateau Arme, chances are you’ve met the owner Helen, or have at least seen her working in the kitchen. She’s often there at (or before) the crack of dawn preparing breakfast and lunch for hungry locals, and has been since 1994. Offerings include a full espresso bar and a variety of drip coffees, plus delicious pastries including raspberry scones, blueberry muffins, cinnamon rolls, a bacon-egg-and-cheese panini and croissants. For lunch, order a sandwich, salad or bowl of their daily soup. Everything is homemade (including all the breads) every morning, and can be enjoyed inside their quaint interior or outside on the dog-friendly patio.
Eat: Chocolate croissant
Drink: Latte (espresso, steamed milk)
*Due to an accident in October, Bakerie and Latte Chateau Arme was temporarily closed at press time. Please call ahead before visiting.
The Argonaut Farm to Fork Café
331 Highway 49, Coloma, 530-626-7345, argonautcafe.com
California’s Gold Country history is prominent when driving around Coloma, and is especially apparent at The Argonaut. Located in a historic building, they’ve partnered with Bee Love Farms and make fresh juices daily. The interior utilizes pieces from local craftsmen and welcomes patrons with wood walls and bright windows. Their menu features breakfast sandwiches and bowls, salads, soups, sandwiches, smoothies, coffee drinks, beer and wine. Coffee comes from Sacramento favorite Temple Coffee, and food options range from organic and vegan to raw and gluten-free. If you can’t get enough, inquire about catering—they have options for large groups.
Eat: Avocado Toast
Joe’s Coffee and Deli
2531 Merrychase Drive, Cameron Park, 530-350-7788, facebook.com/joescoffeeanddeli
El Dorado County’s newest café on the block, Joe’s Coffee and Deli, is cozy, family-owned and about to be all the buzz. With a sleek, maroon and lime green interior that’s offset by dark woods, the warm space invites patrons to come and hang out. With all the usual espresso offerings—mochas, lattes, Americanos, etc., Joe’s also has quite the lengthy list of frozen beverages, including an Iced Coffee Protein Shake. The build-your-own sammies (pick your bread, sauces, meat, cheese and produce) and breakfast burrito are worth saving room for, as is the yogurt parfait. Stop by and say hello to the new kid in town—I’m betting you’ll have a new BFF!
Eat: Joe’s Breakfast Burrito
Drink: Iced Coffee Protein Shake (espresso, banana, protein powder and almond milk blended with ice)
4500 Post Street, El Dorado Hills, 916-933-1433, nuggetmarket.com
Nugget is a popular addition to the community—not only for their quality groceries, but for the coffee and juice bar where they offer a variety of espresso drinks, pastries, smoothies, fresh-squeezed juices and plenty of seating in a welcoming atmosphere. For an additional fee, add coconut, almond or soy milk, syrups or an extra shot of espresso. If you’re in charge of bringing pastries into the office, grab a “pastry platter,” which includes your choice of freshly baked bagels, croissants and danishes. It’s easy to grab a coffee and pastry for the road, but if you have time to spare, take your order upstairs or outside to their patio.
Eat: Almond Croissant
Drink: Cold Brew
Did You Know?
- The genus coffea is native to tropical and southern Africa and tropical Asia. The plant was originally exported from Africa to countries around the world, and coffee plants are now cultivated in over 70 countries.
- The earliest credible evidence of coffee-drinking appears in the middle of the 15th century in the Sufi shrines of Yemen.
- The word "coffee" entered the English language in 1582 via the Dutch koffie, borrowed from the Ottoman Turkish kahve, in turn borrowed from the Arabic qahwah.
- During the Revolutionary War, the demand for coffee increased so much that dealers had to hoard their scarce supplies and raise prices dramatically; this was also due to the reduced availability of tea from British merchants, and a general resolution among many Americans to avoid drinking tea following the 1773 Boston Tea Party.
- Beans from different countries or regions can usually be distinguished by differences in flavor, aroma, body and acidity. These taste characteristics are dependent not only on the coffee's growing region, but also on genetic subspecies (varietals) and processing. Varietals are generally known by the region in which they are grown, such as Colombian, Java and Kona.
- The two most commonly grown beans are the highly regarded arabica, and the less sophisticated but stronger and hardier robusta. Arabica coffee beans are cultivated mainly in Latin America, Eastern Africa and Asia; while robusta beans are grown in Central Africa, throughout Southeast Asia, and Brazil.
- Green (unroasted) coffee is one of the most traded agricultural commodities in the world.
- Seeds are decaffeinated when they’re still green. Many methods can remove caffeine from coffee, but all involve either soaking the green seeds in hot water (often called the "Swiss water process") or steaming them, then using a solvent to dissolve caffeine-containing oils.
Local Coffee Cocktails
Coffee Colada (vanilla vodka, coconut cream, espresso, spiced brown sugar and caramel) from Bar 101 Eats and Drinks in Roseville, bar101roseville.com
Sienna Wake-Uptini (vanilla vodka, espresso, Kahlúa, Bailey’s Irish Cream and vanilla simple syrup) from Sienna Restaurant in Roseville and El Dorado Hills, siennarestaurants.com
Chocolate Martini (vodka, Godiva Chocolate Liqueur and Bailey’s Irish Cream) from Bacchus House Bistro in Folsom, bacchushousebistro.com
Chocolate Flirtini (vanilla bean vodka, Irish cream, espresso liqueur, raspberry liqueur and dark shredded chocolate) from Sauce'd Cocktail House in El Dorado Hills, saucedcocktailhouse.com
Double-Shot Espresso Martini (360 Organic vodka, Bailey’s Irish Cream, Kahlúa Especial and espresso) from The Independent Restaurant and Bar in Placerville, independentplacerville.com
- Espresso: Very hot water is pressured through finely ground beans to make one ounce of strong, concentrated coffee
- Americano: An espresso diluted with hot water
- Italiano: A 1:1 ratio of espresso and hot water; also known as a short Americano
- Cappuccino: Equal parts espresso, steamed milk and milk foam
- Cortado/Gibraltar: An espresso cut with warm milk; cortado is of Spanish origin, whereas “Gibraltar” was invented in San Francisco and simply refers to the type of tumbler it is served in.
- Latte: An espresso with steamed milk and topped with milk foam.
- Flat White: Similar to a latte, but creamier due to the use of microfoam (very small bubbles in steamed milk)