A Guide to the Best Indie Coffee Shops in Walnut CreekMay 03, 2023 09:35AM ● By Cale Finta
Walnut Creek’s coffee scene is heating up. Across the city, independent shops are showing off personal takes on what a coffee experience is all about. Many have become community hubs where people work, catch up with friends, or gather for meetings. Let's take a closer look at some of these local gems.
After transforming a historic brick building on Main Street, Janay McCullough and her partner opened Tellus in 2021, joining the wave of small-batch coffee roasters downtown. Today the hip café is packed with people relishing espresso drinks, baked goods, and the spectacular greenery that reflects its namesake, Roman Goddess of the Earth. From moms taking a break after carpool, to post-college creatives and business types, Tellus has evolved into a true neighborhood hangout.
Located on North Broadway, this independent coffee shop has earned a loyal following for its mochi donuts, cold brews, and oak milk lattes. There are games to play, and books to read, plus a "social wall" covered with inspirational quotes. The cafe's outdoor seating area is a good space for casual conversations over nitro-teas. There is something special about this place, mabey it’s the coffee and tea collective’s name Bondadoso which means "kind" in Spanish.
In just a short time, Rooted has become a beloved part of Walnut Creek's specialty coffee scene, thanks to its commitment to high-quality brews. Originally launched at local farmers' markets, this family-owned business opened its first brick-and-mortar in Pleasant Hill. With a second outpost on Locust Street, Las Lomas grad Jon Gilmore and his wife Jenny returned to their ‘roots’ in 2021 where they pack the house for buzzy drinks, lattes, and avocado toasts.
SANDAI & KOPI BAR
Nora Haron’s brand new SanDai Kopi Bar is the latest entrant to the downtown coffee scene. Housed inside the former Prima Ristorante building on Main Street, the sleek coffee bar opened April 26 as part of the acclaimed chef’s new Singaporean-Indonesian restaurant SanDai. Locally roasted beans emerge in exotic coffee drinks like the Kopi Avocado—a creamy blend of avocado, condensed milk, and espresso—beautifully paired with one of Haron's
deftly crafted pastries on the Kopi Bar veranda.
When Chris Fong purchased Pacific Bay Coffee Co. in 2010, his goal was to make Walnut Creek notorious for top-shelf blends. From his lap-top friendly café on Newell Avenue, Fong meticulously roasts his own beans into medium blends, then turns them into foaming works of art, keeping the teachers at Las Lomas and doctors at Kaiser caffeinated with his fanciful drinks.
CAFFE LA SCALA
For almost thirty years, Caffè La Scala has defined coffee culture in Walnut Creek. Serving an eclectic mix of people—from students and professionals to civic leaders and seniors—this downtown destination is a bustling community hub morning until night. With its distinctly European vibe and creator environment, there's plenty of space to plug in and work on your latest project with a latte, cup of tea, or light meal.
BRIOCHE DE PARIS
At this friendly Locust Street bistro, customers relish almond croissants, cappuccinos, and baguette sandwiches in a bright and airy environment. Since opening in 2019, Brioche de Paris has become a go-to among locals craving exquisite French pastries and artisan coffee blends.