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Coffee capitals like Seattle, New York, and Portland have long-standing reputations for serving up a great cup of Joe. But in northeastern California — just a hop, skip, and a jump away from San Francisco lies an all too often overlooked coffee gem.
The city of Sacramento is known for many things. It’s the farm-to-fork capital, a foodies paradise, is nicknamed “the city of trees,” and is one of the most culturally diverse cities in the United States. But as locals know, it also has a vibrant coffee scene serving up some of the best coffee around.
California’s capital is home to countless local roasters — each with a fascinating origin, an inspirational vision, and their spin on new concoctions and classic favorites.
Whether you’ve recently moved to the Sacramento area and are looking for a new favorite coffee shop, are visiting and fancy yourself a coffee connoisseur, or, are a local that’s looking to test out which café really has the best cup of coffee in town, we’ve rounded up the 10 places where you can find the best coffee in Sacramento.
10 best coffee shops in Sacramento (in alphabetical order)
1. Camellia Coffee Roasters
Camellia coffee was started in 2015 by Ryan Harden, an award-winning roaster, and Robert Mason, an experienced, skilled, and passionate barista. Camellia began as a wholesale roaster, and opened its first and only shop on R street inside the WAL public market in 2018.
The shop is named after the Camellia, a genus of flowers that grows in Sacramento. Sacramento is the Camellia capital of the world, so Camellia coffee roasters chose its name to pay homage to its city and capture and recognize how there are “infinite possibilities in which to grow.”
Camellia coffee roasters puts a delectable spin on classic favorites, and their espressos are said to be out of this world. Beyond their beloved coffee, Camellia’s breakfast sandwiches are also gaining quite a loyal following and are claimed by many to be ‘the best breakfast sandwich in Sacramento.’ They come in four flavors — bacon, sausage, bacon and sausage, or veggie.
The shop is open 7 days a week from 7 am-4 pm. If swinging by this quaint shop, try to avoid the lunch hour rush — seating is limited, and lines aren’t unusual.
Order suggestions: Matcha latte, horchata cold brew, espresso
Nearby attractions: Old Sacramento Waterfront, Fairytale Town, Sacramento Zoo
2. Chocolate Fish Coffee Roasters
Location: There are three locations; East Sacramento, Land Park, and Folsom. There are also several licensed Chocolate Fish coffeehouses.
Phone number: (916) 451-5181 East Sacramento location
Andy and Edie Baker, founders of Chocolate Fish Coffee Roasters, fell in love with coffee while living in New Zealand. Chocolate Fish opened its first downtown shop in Sacramento in 2008 and has since won multiple awards at the local and national level, even claiming the second-place title in the Golden Bean North American Roasters competition.
In 2010, following a trip to Guatemala to learn more about how specialty coffee is grown and milled, Andy and Edie purchased a coffee roaster and practiced roasting their own coffee. Once the beans reached a high enough quality to serve, they began serving their specially roasted coffee and have continued to do so ever since.
According to Chocolate Fish’s website, the business strives to “make coffee approachable.” To do this, and share their love of coffee, Chocolate Fish offers tasting classes so anyone can learn about each coffee flavor and the process behind how each roast is created.
You won’t find any Wi-Fi or outlets in a Chocolate Fish coffee shop, so this is the perfect place to disconnect for a while or catch up with friends over warm conversation and a great cup of coffee. Each shop has a spacious layout and offers a wide selection of indoor and outdoor seating.
Order suggestions: White mocha, flat white, nitro coffee
Nearby attractions (East Sacramento location): East Portal Park, McKinley Rose Garden, California State Capitol Park
3. Drip espresso
Located in the heart of midtown lies a newly opened Black, woman, and sister-owned coffee shop. Sisters Keiona Williamson, Taylor White, and Jasmine Bronson are Sacramento natives who opened Drip espresso in 2022 with the vision of creating a welcoming space that centers on “espresso, community, and culture.” According to their website, their business is dedicated to “supporting underrepresented communities in Sacramento’s coffee and hospitality industry.”
Upon entering Drip, customers are greeted with a vibrant interior bursting with colors and patterns. The walls are adorned with artwork from local artists and the coffee shop has a chill, inclusive atmosphere. There’s the best kind of nostalgic vibe — but that could be thanks to the 90s sitcoms playing in the shop.
Drip prides itself on sourcing all ingredients used in its delicious and inventive coffee drinks, tasty menu, and delectable pastries (vegan and gluten/free options available) from local BI-POC, women, or LGBTQIA+ vendors. One of their specialty dishes that’s already causing a stir is the GIGI avocado toast which is rivaling other local vendors for the crown of “best avocado toast in Sacramento.”
Order suggestions: Macchiato, beez in the trap, golden hour
Nearby attractions: Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park, Stanford Mansion, McKinley Park
4. Milka Coffee Roasters
At first sight, it’s clear that Milka Coffee Roasters isn’t your typical coffee shop.
Found in the Mansion Flats neighborhood in downtown Sacramento, the shop is in a registered historic building originally built in 1861 — featuring Queen Anne Bay windows and all.
From the outside, the coffee shop looks just like another charming house on the block, but inside you’ll find a warm setting that creates just the right cozy, laid-back ambiance. The inside of this historic building has been transformed into a coffee shop with welcoming baristas, a vast selection of indoor and outdoor seating, and cozy nooks perfect for cuddling up with your favorite book.
All of Milka’s products are sustainably sourced and farmed, and they believe in equality in pay along every step of their supply chain. Even the ceramic cups they serve their coffee in are locally made.
Milka’s menu is said to be unique and delicious, with drinks that are carefully made with just the right amount of sweetness to not overpower the bold coffee flavors.
Milka coffee roasters was founded by Samir Benouar, a Sacramento native who spent many years working, reading, and writing behind espresso machines in some of the nation’s largest cities. The family-run coffee shop is named after the Benouar’s great-grandmother, Milka Radonihch, who was a former Sacramento small business owner.
Order suggestions: Orange mocha, sparkling milka, bree-rista
Nearby attractions: Underground tours, California State Railroad Museum, State Capitol Park World Peace Rose Garden
5. The Mill
A beloved coffee shop in Sacramento, The Mill greets its customers with a warm, welcoming, rustic, and earthy atmosphere.
It’s the perfect spot to swing in for a cup of coffee or a premium tea (if that’s more your jam), spend the afternoon peacefully typing away on your laptop, or grab a table and catch up with family or friends.
Founders of The Mill, coffee professional Nick and artist Ilah Rose, began their business at the Saturday Farmers Market in Midtown in 2013. In 2014, Nick and Ilah opened their first location on 1827 I Street in Midtown and then opened their second location at 6423 Elvas Avenue in East Sacramento. Both locations offer indoor and outdoor seating.
In 2017, the pair opened Bouquet Coffee Roasters, which made their premium teas and coffee available for retail and wholesale purchase.
Besides their perfect lattes and out-of-this-world teas, another must-have if stopping into The Mill is one of their signature waffles. Light, crispy, and fluffy perfection served plain, with maple syrup, or a dab of jam.
Order suggestions: Cappuccino, brewed coffee, matcha latte
Nearby attractions (Midtown location): California State Capitol Park, California museum, Old Sacramento Waterfront
6. Old Soul Co.
Old Soul Co. is a roastery and coffee shop serving up a variety of top-quality coffee from throughout the world. It’s also a great stop to grab breakfast, lunch, or dinner made from locally sourced ingredients, and has a list of quality tea offerings.
Roomy and spacious, the flagship Old Soul Co. shop on L St. is in a 2,400-square-foot renovated storage warehouse that’s been transformed into an eclectic café. It has a warm and welcoming atmosphere and one of its most noteworthy aspects (besides serving up reliably great coffee and food), is that it’s tucked away in an alley.
In other words, it’s a great place to curl up with a heart-warming latte and hang out for a while. There are many seating options and tables available both indoor and outdoor, making it the perfect afternoon getaway for reading, studying, or knocking out some work.
Tim Jordan and Jason Griest opened the first Old Soul location in 2006, and today Jason Griest still visits many of the farms that grow Old Soul’s coffee. The shop is a business made of skilled “roasters, artisans and bakers,” and is a platform for “local farmers, brewers, and purveyors.”
If visiting this shop, you’ll avoid the biggest crowds by hitting it on a weekday.
Order suggestions: Mocha nut macaroon iced, latte, drip coffee
Nearby attractions (The Alley): California State Capitol Park, Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park, Crocker Art Museum
7. Pachamama coffee
Location: There are five Pachamama cafes throughout Sacramento in Midtown, East Sac, Davis, Placerville, and at Davis Farmers Market.
Phone number: (916) 960-3564 Midtown location
Pachamama is a 100% farm-owned and governed, organic, sustainably sourced coffee company that runs as a farm-to-consumer business.
Pachamama was founded in 2003 by Raul del Aguila who formed the cooperative alongside Merling Preza, Carlos Reynoso, and Tadesse Meskela. This group came together to create a system where small farmers who produced specialty coffee could be fairly paid.
In 2006, Pachamama sold its first packaged, roasted coffee to Davis Food Co-op, the foremost farmer-owned global cooperative. Pachamama has won the Specialty Coffee Association Sustainability Award for a business. They source all of their high-quality beans from Perú, Nicaragua, Guatemala, México, and Ethiopia. The beans come directly from the farms to Pachamama’s roaster in Sacramento.
In 2014, Pachamama began roasting its own coffee in Sacramento and opened its first retail café location. Their philosophy on creating great coffee is a simple one: “Coffee is a fruit. It’s best grown without chemicals, under shade-canopy, and at a high elevation,” according to Pachamama’s website.
Their coffee boasts a rich flavor with roast options from light to dark, and they switch out their menu seasonally with fun, new concoctions — a top favorite being their seasonal matcha blends. Their locations offer both indoor and outdoor seating with plenty of options to work or study. If stopping by Pachamama’s Midtown location after the farmers market, be prepared to wait in line.
Pachamama offers a subscription service where you can have your favorite blend of Pachamama coffee shipped directly to your door. They also offer tours of their roasting facility, and have a “plant a tree” option on their website where $5 donations are used to plant trees in a region where their coffee grows.
Order suggestions: Honey bear latte (or cold brew), vanilla bean cold brew, espresso Americano
Nearby Attractions (Davis café): Arboretum GATEway Garden, UC Davis Botanical Conservatory, T. Elliot Weier Redwood Grove
8. Pressed Record Café
A café. A restaurant. A record shop. A place to grab a sandwich, a beer on tap, and listen to some great music. Pressed Record café is a one-stop shop for top-notch coffee, specialty sandwiches (including ‘presses,’ their twist on the panini), salad, or boards.
It’s a place where coffee lovers can enjoy it all while rocking out to some good jams.
Owners Dean Bardouka, John Blunck, and classically trained chef James Williams have created a café experience unlike any other in Sacramento. Located in Midtown, Pressed Record café has a sentimental and super chill vibe. Upon entering the shop, you’re greeted by live record music, an extensive selection of vinyl of all genres; soul, funk, reggae, and R&B, and, of course, the sweet aroma of coffee.
Half coffee shop, half record store, there are plenty of places to grab a seat or sip a coffee while perusing their collection of records. At the café, you’ll also find a large outdoor patio that’s said to be one of the best in Midtown.
Order suggestions: Macau iced coffee, shakerato, cappuccino
Nearby attractions: Community park, Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art, T. Elliot Weier Redwood Grove
A unique new contender that’s earning quite the name for itself in the Sacramento coffee scene is Scorpio, a Japanese-style coffee shop that opened its doors in 2020. The shop believes in “fresh, healthy foods and drink,” and strives to create an environment that’s welcoming and inclusive for all.
They serve specialty coffee from roasters around the world and the team uses a variety of brewing methods.
Inside the small coffee shop, you’ll find a smartly crafted minimalist interior with a wood-slated bar for ordering, a few small tables, Wi-Fi, and a straightforward and simple menu.
At Scorpio, the coffee (including their perfect lattes) isn’t the only thing the shop has going for it. The Japanese-style limited menu includes artistically presented coffee drinks that keep drawing customers back, but also equally visually appealing plated dishes like muesli served with fresh seasonal fruit and lox toast made with sourdough, house-cured salmon, citrus yuzo kosho, dill cream cheese, and pickled mustard seeds.
Order suggestions: Espresso tonic, hōjicha tea latte, coffee mule
Nearby attractions: Stanford mansion, Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, John C. Fremont Park
10. Temple Coffee Roasters
A well-known coffee shop with various locations throughout Sacramento, Temple Coffee Roasters began in 2005, has won many awards including the “best friendly cup of coffee in Sac,” and was voted one of the 25 best coffee roasters in America in 2021 by Gear Patrol.
After a visit to Indonesia, founder Sean Kohmescher opened the first Temple Coffee Roasters shop in Sacramento with a vision to create a place that had “good vibes, great service, and exceptionally well-prepared coffee.”
Temple Coffee Roasters runs a Farm to Cup business where they value social, economic, and environmental sustainability. Temple has become a beloved phenomenon beyond Sacramento, and today has shops located worldwide.
Order suggestions: Chai latte, vanilla cream cold brew, Mexican hot chocolate or mocha
Nearby attractions (K Street – Midtown): Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park, Sutter’s Landing Regional Park
Header Image Source: (Mike Kenneally / Unsplash)