Dearest caffeinated readers, its Becca, with your latest literary coffee shop review. I’ve been living in Santa Barbara for about 3 months now, and after spending summer vacations in the area for as long as I can remember, I feel like a local already! That said, you could imagine my surprise when I got settled in and realized I didn’t have a coffee place to call my own and frequent! For the good of the blog (and my sanity) I’ve worked to remedy that. This time, I tried out The French Press, on 1101 State Street, after being told by a “true” local (born and raised) that it was the best coffee shop in town.
French Press is known for being crowded, so I came on a rare weekday with no class. I’m glad I did, because every time I’ve walked past it since, there was no room to set up camp. Because I went on a Friday, I was able to order an iced latte and grab a table about halfway through their oblong shaped venue; perfect for people watching during breaks from studying. The décor is cute, a sort of upscale, hipster-chic. The baristas were friendly, though not particularly speedy. This is clearly the place to be for up and coming readers and writers in the area, and I was able to eavesdrop on several people bumping into each other and talking about the various pieces they were working on – that was cool!
There’s really nothing bad I can say about the French Press, but I wasn’t completely blown away. The coffee is good, not great. The service was fair, but nothing exceptional. Overall, it was a pretty average coffee experience. The vibe I got was that this is a place to see and be seen, and there was a feeling of exclusivity that I wasn’t overly fond of.
I give the French Press 2 stars. It wasn’t horrible, and I may go back, but I’ve certainly had better coffee experiences, and for a good reading haunt, the place has to have available seats!★★