Congresswoman Lois Capps visits Cal Poly

Congresswoman Lois Capps paid a visit to Cal Poly this past November 8th.

Capps is a resident of Santa Barbara, California and currently represents the state’s South and Central Coasts including San Luis Obispo county.

Capps has served as a member of Congress since 1998 when she succeeded her late husband, former University of California Santa Barbara professor, Congressman Walter H. Capps.

Capps serves on the Energy and Commerce Committee. Capps also has a background in health care as she was a school nurse for some time. “We wrote the health care law that’s now law,” Capps says.

Capps discusses with Cal Poly students and faculty student loan debt.

Capps says that currently, they’re trying to get the American Jobs Act passed. “We in Congress are pretty much a reflection of the country,” Capps says. “Most problem solving I see is at the community level.” Capps speaks to Cal Poly when she says, “You have [the chance] to reflect the campus.”

When asked her thoughts on the ongoing Occupy Movement, she said it was an “interesting topic”.

Congresswoman Capps wasn’t called to visit Cal Poly, and therefore the question arose as to why she did come to visit. Capps says, “I think it’s important to keep in touch with news media.”

Capps worked for President Obama’s election. When asked her opinion of President Obama and his job so far, she said, “[it's] a tough time to be a president” and that, “it’s who we have.”

Jennifer Young, a journalism junior, says, “it was interesting that [Congresswoman Capps] came to talk to us.  It felt like she was here more for PR in the end,” Young says.  Young also says that Capp’s visit was very “spur of the moment.”

To be a coffee drinker or to not be a coffee drinker

Highlights

  • the coffee habits of a college student
  • interviews with people who prefer drinking coffee at home
  • interviews with people who prefer purchasing coffee at a coffee shop
  • interviews with people who don’t like coffee

As college students, you’d think that all of us would love coffee.  Personally, I enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning, afternoon, and evening.  To my disappointment, not every single college student likes to drink coffee.  We all have different “coffee habits” whether it be how we get our coffee – at a coffee shop or at home – or how we prepare it ourselves.  In a perfect world, everyone would love coffee.  Sadly, that is not nearly the case.

Coffee House-r?

Often people like to make their coffee at home rather than buy a cup of coffee at Starbucks or Peet’s Coffee & Tea.

We all have crazy coffee cups at our house. This lovely cup would be mine.

It definitely has its benefits when it comes to price differences.

Rayna Davis, a recreation, parks and tourism administration sophomore, says that she prefers to make her coffee at home simply because, “it is easy and [far] less expensive.”

“Typically I drink an Italian Roast, sometimes French, either from World Market or Starbucks,” Davis says.

My roommate, Kate (watch my audio slideshow!) O’Leary, an ethnic studies sophomore, thoroughly enjoys black coffee.  Personally, I cringe at the thought of black coffee.  I happened to be awake at 7 o’clock this morning when she was getting ready for class (crazy, I know) and I saw her prepare her coffee – she made it exactly like she said.  Black.  She added absolutely no sugar.  All I saw her add was maybe half of a tablespoon of milk which, in my opinion, doesn’t count for anything.  That coffee was pure black.

“I got it from my dad,” O’Leary says.

Davis says her coffee drinking habits really depend on the day.  “Sometimes [I drink it] black and other days I will drink it with sugar and half and half [creamer] or just half and half,” Davis says.

Coffee Shop-per?

Coffee is one of the staples in my diet.  I’m actually quite serious.  I have to have my cup in the morning or I’ll have a migraine the rest of the day.  Often I’ll find myself making a cup of coffee at home but I’m also quite a fan of Starbucks – who isn’t?  Sean McMinn, a journalism sophomore, prefers to buy his coffee at a coffee shop because he’s not a fan of the clean-up process at home.

“I really hate cleaning up after myself, so for the most part, I like buying things at coffee shops.”

McMinn says that when he goes to Starbucks, he’ll get either a “caramel macchiato if it’s cld out or an iced coffee with sweetener if it’s hot [outside].”  Good choices in my opinion.

And some just don’t like coffee…

In a perfect world, everyone would love coffee.  In the majority of movies, you often find a middle-aged woman or man grabbing their tumbler full of hot coffee as they head out on the road for work.  Sadly, they don’t represent the entire American population.  It’s sad to say, but not everyone cares for coffee.  Crazy, I know.

Will Starr, a computer science junior, simply says that he doesn’t like coffee.  Starr says that the only form of coffee he drinks are frappuccinos from Starbucks (which I would moreso consider a smoothie via Starbucks).

“The coffee habits of the normal college student run parallel with that of my diet soda habits,” Starr says.

This devastates me beyond belief, but I definitely have to accept the fact that not everyone cares for the taste and

My roommate, Kelly McBride's, only apparent use for coffee cups is for juggling.

deliciousness that coffee brings.  My roommate, Kelly McBride, a psychology sophomore, doesn’t care for coffee either.  Maybe not exactly to the level that Starr dislikes it, though.

“I don’t really drink coffee a whole lot, but I’m trying to drink coffee,” McBride says.

I commend her for trying.  In a house of 5 other coffee-holics, Kelly is the only one to not care too much for coffee.

I feel as though I’d fall in the middle between a “coffee-houser” and “coffee-shopper”.  Take the weekends for instance.  Just yesterday it was pouring rain outside.  My roommate Sara and I made a bee line for the kitchen to make our cups of coffee and then to the living room where we enjoyed our cups of coffee with the fireplace on.  For the most part, when it’s the weekend, I tend to make coffee at home.  When it comes to weekdays, on the other hand, I’m often in a rush and will usually make a morning stop to Starbucks to grab my cup of coffee before class.

While many could think that the typical college kid’s diet strictly consists of coffee, not everyone’s does.  Except for my diet…in the word’s of my roommate Ashleigh Allard, a recreation, parks and tourism administration sophomore, “Coffee IS my diet.”

Have you bean to Nautical Bean?

Highlights

  • A look inside Nautical Bean Café
  • Great menu selections
  • Ratings

We can all sit here and say that every coffee shop is one and the same in that they all serve coffee.  I think a coffee shop is much more than just that delicious cup of caffeine in the morning (yes, I just said it).  When I walk into a coffee shop, not only do I want my coffee to taste remarkable, but a great atmosphere as well as friendly service wouldn’t hurt either.  Nautical Bean Espresso Café is one of the places I’ve been wanting to visit for the longest time.  I’ve only ever heard great things about it from close friends of mine.  Every time I pass by this charming café, I always see people enjoying a meal outside in the beautiful San Luis weather.  This morning I decided to make my way to Nautical Bean and see what all of the talk was about.

Nautical Bean's second location is located on Chorro Street in downtown San Luis Obispo.

Nautical Bean’s website describes it as a “gourmet family-owned local coffee house and bistro, plus we serve wine and beer.”  Nothing could be more accurate.  When I walked in to Nautical Bean, I found it to be one of the more trendy coffee shops that I have visited in San Luis Obispo.  While it is a coffee house, it also offers alcoholic beverages.  Nautical Bean has a little more flair and spunk to it in comparison to the average coffee shop.  I immediately fell in love with their cherry-colored furniture, various artwork on the brick walls, and pretty much their decor in general.  My roommate, Kate O’Leary, (who just so happens to be a native of SLO and business sophomore) loves the “cool vibe and artwork” that Nautical Bean has.  Pamela, a resident of San Luis Obispo, agrees with O’Leary in saying that Nautical Bean has a “great ambiance for a coffee café.”

Hi, may I take your order?

I decided to visit Nautical Bean’s second location on Chorro Street in downtown San Luis.  The new Nautical Bean offers espresso drinks, pastries, deli and breakfast food, as well as local beers and wines.  Nautical Bean uses local, wholesome ingredients whenever possible.  Katie, one of the many workers at Nautical Bean says that one of the things that distinguishes Nautical Bean from other coffee shops is there Nutty Bean drip coffee.  “We’re the only ones who serve it,” Katie says.  Katie also mentions that they “bake all of [their] pastries [at the Chorro Street location].”  As far as food goes, popular orders at Nautical Bean include their pesto turkey sandwich and their breakfast burritos.  Kate says that her favorite thing to order is their “Shot in the Dark.”

“They have great pastries as well,” O’Leary says.

As far as service goes, the workers were friendly and my blended Mint Chip (I’m a sucker for anything with mint and chocolate) took less than a few minutes to make.  Delicious!

Take a seat

One of the things that has always attracted me to Nautical Bean has been its outdoor seating.  I believe outdoor seating is one of the essentials of a coffee shop.  If the weather permits, why not enjoy the cool breeze while taking a sip of my morning coffee?  But let’s not disregard their indoor seating  – when I walked in, I was immediately in a

Nautical Bean offers great outdoor seating to those who want to enjoy the SLO weather.

sea of chairs.  Not everyone has the same type of study habits nor the same preferences in chairs, so why pick?  Nautical Bean has a great selection of seating.

To study or not to study, that is the question

Nautical Bean offers free wifi which for me, instantly makes it a great place to study.  There are also two TVs inside the café .  Sadly, this was a turn-off for me.  While it can be considered a good study break to look up and watch whatever is on television, we have enough of a distraction with Facebook, right?  Other than the two televisions, I found Nautical Bean to be a great place to study.  The coffee house wasn’t too loud nor was it too busy.  Their cushioned chairs are very comfortable, making the study process that much easier.

Katie, one of the many workers at Nautical Bean, says that she likes everything about working at Nautical Bean.

“I like the regulars and getting to know the people,” she says.

Katie says that Nautical Bean has several regular customers, especially in the morning hours.

Nautical Bean has been around for quite some time in San Luis Obispo with it’s location on Los Osos Valley Road. Its new location on Chorro Street only proves its popularity with the San Luis Obispo community.  After visiting Nautical Bean for the first time today, I plan on making many more trips there in the future.  Watch out, Kreuzberg.  You might have some competition.

Ratings (out of 5)

  • Service – 4
  • Menu items – 5
  • Atmosphere – 5
  • Seating – 5
  • Overall – 4.75

‘Tis the season of Starbucks red cups

This morning’s fog and icy breeze gave the illusion of winter as I headed to the on-campus Starbucks for my morning coffee. It was then that I saw it. It was as if I could hear sleigh bells and the hum of Christmas carols. IT IS OFFICIALLY STARBUCKS RED CUP SEASON! I joyfully ordered my grande quad shot Peppermint Mocha with nonfat milk and in that moment, my day was complete. So in case you haven’t done so already, head down to one of the many Starbucks locations in San Luis Obispo and order yourself a Peppermint Mocha, Eggnog Latte or Gingerbread Latte!

Also, happy one year anniversary to Kreuzberg!

Stu-tea at West End Espresso and Tea

Highlights

  • A glimpse into West End Espresso and Tea
  • The atmosphere at West End
  • Interviews with customers 

Let’s be honest.  In just about every high school, there’s always that group of popular kids that sat at the same lunch table every day.  There has also always been those students who sit at the front of the class and were the first to raise their hand to answer the teacher’s question.  You know what I’m talking about – those people that always had all of the attention.  Well this post isn’t about those two groups – or high school in general.  As American consumers, we always tend to gravitate toward familiar places and similarly, coffee shops such as Starbucks and Peets Coffee & Tea.  But if we’re going to be fair, we should give all the other great coffee shops a try as well.  While San Luis Obispo is home to some “big name” coffee shops, there are also a few coffee shops that are a little lesser known that serve great coffee as well.

West End Espresso and Tea is located at the end of Higuera Street.

Last week I was doing some downtown shopping with a friend when I happened to walk by West End Espresso and Tea.  To be frank, I never even knew it existed.  A few days ago I decided to walk in and try this coffee shop that was new to me (shocker).  The minute I walked in, I was pleasantly overwhelmed by the warm atmosphere.  The vibe resembled one of a coffee shop that would be on the corner of a small town where everyone knows each other.  When I sat down in the incredibly comfortable leather-cushioned rocking chairs (yes, rocking chairs!), “Ain’t No Sunshine” began to play.  All I needed was a good book and I was set.

Being a creature of habit, I tend to gravitate towards coffee shops that I am more familiar with such as Starbucks Coffee Company because not only do I have my specific drink orders there, but it’s also an environment that I’m familiar with.  Lisa Schvultt, a worker at West End, says that what distinguishes West End from other coffee shops is simply that “the coffee [is] better.”  Schvultt says her favorite drink is the caramel latte and that “it’s very good.”

Local and smaller coffee shops tend to have “regulars”, or in other words, customers that frequently visit the coffee shop and order their “usual.”  Lisa Schvultt, a worker at West End, says that she has about “15-20 [regulars] a day.”

“I start to worry when I don’t see them, ” Schvultt says.

A vanilla caramel from West End. One of the most delicious caramels I have ever had.

West End also seemed like a good, conducive place to study as there were quite a few customers who typed away on their laptops and worked while they enjoyed their various coffee orders.  The music was at a perfect level for studying and West End also offers wifi for your internet needs.  Shana and Julie, both residents of San Luis Obispo, agreed that one of  their favorite parts about West End were their “big tables”, as they had their laptops open and spread out on West End’s large circular tables.  While she is not a regular at West End, Shana says that her favorite drink is a mocha.

“I like their chai lattes,” Julie says.

West End also had a variety of pastries and even biscotti.  One thing that put a smile on my face was seeing that they had apples and bananas in case a customer wanted to eat something on the healthier side.  Having the sweet tooth that I do, I went ahead and bought a few of their vanilla caramels they had on the counter – they were delicious.

While I’ve only visited West End once, it’s definitely a coffee shop I would visit again, especially to study.  Not only was their coffee great, but so was the service.  I was greeted with a smile and there wasn’t a long wait whatsoever.  If you are looking to grab a mocha while writing that term paper you forgot about, West End is the perfect place.

Ratings (out of 5)

  • Service – 5
  • Menu items – 4
  • Atmosphere – 4
  • Seating availability – 4
  • Overall – 4

Wake Cup

Highlights:

  • Great coffee shops to visit for breakfast
  • Delicious items to order from these coffee shops
  • Interviews with locals

To be honest, I’m not a “morning person” whatsoever.  I love my sleep.  Despite this, I love mornings.  I love waking up and having the sun peeking through my window, hearing the birds chirping, and pouring myself a nice cup of coffee and sitting at the breakfast nook in my house while doing some morning reading.  This probably makes no sense, but while I do love to sleep and I consider myself more of a “night person”, I love the idea of mornings. Before I go on I should also probably mention that I’m not the biggest fan of breakfast food.  Don’t get me wrong, I love waffles and pancakes, but I hardly ever eat eggs and I don’t eat pork (therefore casting out bacon and sausage).  Most mornings I’ll make a sandwich or eat leftover pizza.  But let me tell you, there’s something about a coffee shop breakfast that makes me weak in the knees.  The following are some of my favorite coffee shops to go to for breakfast.

Kreuzberg, CA

I’ve blogged a lot about Kreuzberg, but really – what’s not to love?  Surprisingly enough, the only things I’ve ordered from Kreuzberg have been breakfast menu items.  This past Saturday morning my mom came down and visited me in San Luis.  We decided to go out for breakfast and she mumbled something about going to Denny’s or IHOP.  I casually ignored her comments (really, Denny’s or IHOP?) and mentioned going to Kreuzberg because she had never been there before – crazy, right?  Shortly after, we made our way downtown and had the most delicious breakfast.  My mom ordered a “John Locke” and a cup of coffee and I ordered a “Voltaire”.  Both were incredible – and that’s an understatement.  Let’s be honest, it was Heaven on a plate.  Kreuzberg is a great place to sit down with a friend (or mom) and enjoy a cup of coffee and a delicious meal.  Here are a few of my favorite items on their breakfast menu:

  • Miguel de Cervantes – eggs, bacon or ham, cheddar, home fries, cilantro, sour cream, salsa in tortilla
  • Ernest Hemingway – yogurt, granola, fruit and honey
  • Voltaire – créme brulee french toast with caramelized bananas, dark rum, and créme anglaise. served with fresh fruit.
  • John Locke – eggs, bacon or ham, cheese, tomato, onion, and arugula on bagel or toast

If you’re not a coffee fan (you should be…), then order a fresh cup of orange juice – it is simply amazing.

Higher Groundz Coffee House and Eatery

House Pancakes from Higher Groundz.

A coffee shop in SLO that is a little lesser known than Starbucks or Kreuzberg is Higher Groundz Coffee House and Eatery.  While Kreuzberg does have a larger breakfast menu, Higher Groundz also has some simple, yet great breakfast items.  They offer an assortment of bagels as well as a Breakfast Burrito and Oatmeal.  Their simple names don’t lend much in telling you just how great these items are.  Some great breakfast items are:

  • Breakfast Burrito - egg, cheese, bacon or ham rolled in a flour tortilla, served with homemade salsa
  • Oatmeal - oatmeal topped with strawberries, blueberries and candied almonds, with drizzled honey and served with a side of brown sugar and steamed milk
My rooommate, Kate O’Leary, a Business Sophomore at Cal Poly SLO, is always saying just how great Higher Groundz is and how much she enjoys visiting.  O’Leary says that she “love[s] the atmosphere [at Higher Groundz]. It’s cozy, [but witha] chill vibe [and] nice workers.”  Her favorite drink at Higher Groundz is their Vanilla Chai.
“No other coffee shop makes a Vanilla Chai like they do,” O’Leary says.
Jenna Korver, a English Sophomore at Cal Poly SLO, says that Higher Groundz “has a very kick-backy feel to it.”  Korver says their atmosphere “makes studying there actually enjoyable.”
“The comfy couches are my favorite,” Korver says.
As far as food goes, O’Leary says they have a “really good blueberry bran muffin, bagels with cream cheese, and chocolate chip pancakes with strawberries and sliced almonds with syrup.”  If this didn’t make your mouth water, then I don’t know what will.
Linnaea’s Café

A delicious mocha from Linnaea's.

Linnaea’s Café opens at 6 o’clock in the morning for your breakfast needs.  Linnaea’s has an off site kitchen that makes you available to a great coffee shop breakfast.  Items on their menu include their delicious coffee cake as well as their Morning glory muffin and their breakfast burritos.

O’Leary says her favorite things to order at Linnaea’s are their “really yummy cappuccinos [and] coffee cake.”

Ashley Ballinger, a Communications major at Cal Poly SLO, “love[s] the atmosphere” at Linnaea’s.  “There always seems to be creativity in the air whether it be the various musicians or the orators, to just reading the composition notebooks that anyone can add to.”  Ballinger claims that their Nutella banana waffles “are the best.”  Waffles are great to begin with, so there’s no doubt that adding Nutella to this mix would make any meal amazing.

So start your day out right with a good breakfast.  Put down that granola bar you’re about to grab on your way out the door and make some time to visit one of these great coffee shops for breakfast.

Espressoly these three shops

Being a college student, I feel as though my planner is always bursting at the seams and that I rarely have a moment to catch my breath.  When I do have the time to come up for air, I like to make my way on over to one of my favorite coffee shops in San Luis Obispo.  Once I open the doors and find a comfortable seat, there’s always that moment  –  that moment when I’m sitting in a comfortable chair, taking a sip of that delicious, hot cup of coffee, looking around the coffee shop to a sea of people walking in and out of the doors, sitting down with friends, as well as that one person that is always intensely reading a dilapidated copy of Jane Eyre.  It’s in that moment when I suddenly think, “ah, life is good.”  I don’t know about you, but this magical moment has happened at every one of my favorite coffee shops in SLO.  Generally speaking, any place that serves coffee is Heaven sent, but in San Luis Obispo there are three coffee shops that have captured my heart.

Starbucks Coffee Company

There’s something about walking into a familiar coffee shop. Starbucks is well-known across the nation and for me, there’s something very comforting in walking into a Starbucks coffee shop whether it be back home or in San Luis Obispo.  There are two main Starbucks locations in SLO that are my absolute favorite – the one located on Cal Poly‘s campus and the one on Higuera Street in downtown San Luis Obispo.

The Starbucks on Cal Poly's campus is one of my favorite places to grab coffee.

I visit the Starbucks on campus most frequently.  I love grabbing my quad shot zebra mocha every morning and being greeted by the friendly workers (who just so happen to know my name…).  The Starbucks on Cal Poly’s campus is conveniently located in the University Union. While this Starbucks location isn’t the largest Starbucks I’ve seen nor does it have the greatest of seating, you can easily take your coffee and scone upstairs to the amazingly comfortable chairs in the University Union or snag a table outside to enjoy the beautiful San Luis breeze.  Get to this Starbucks anytime around the middle of the hour and you’re set; get there on the hour or even a quarter before the hour, and prepare to wait in an extremely long line.  This fact shouldn’t be too surprising though, beings that it’s on a college campus and everyone in line is a sleep deprived student who needs their caffeine fix.  While it may seem as though these long lines may take forever, in my experience, they have moved rather quickly.

The other Starbucks location in SLO that is one of my favorites is the one located downtown on Higuera Street.  While one might think that every Starbucks is the same, the downtown location is larger and it’s also nice to get away from the hustle and bustle of college and head on over to this location.  Jeffrey Silva, an Aerospace Engineering student at Cal Poly SLO says that his favorite coffee shop is the “Starbucks downtown.”  Silva says, “great customer service and super comfortable chairs” make a good coffee shop.

Laura Pezzini, a sophomore at Cal Poly SLO says, “[while] it’s super cliche, [her] most frequented coffee shop is Starbucks.”  Pezzini says that she not only visits Starbucks “because they’re everywhere”, but also because her roommate works there.

Kreuzberg, CA

I remember the first time I heard about Kreuzberg.  I was reading an article in the Mustang Daily that wrote about this new coffee shop in town that just made its way onto Monterey Street. The article wrote that the new coffee shop brought a piece of Berlin to San Luis and that it sold used books.

“I love that it’s also a bookstore because I think that coffee and books were meant to be together,” Pezzini says.

Coffee and books – it’s as if Krezuberg was sent from Heaven.  I’ve ordered quite a few different items from their menu and every single thing I have ordered has never let me down.  Not only are their mochas and their “Ernest Hemingway” wonderful, but this coffee shop is also one of my favorite places to study.  The noise level is perfect – not too loud, yet not too quiet.  Their music choice, in my opinion, is also great.  Their music varies from classic oldies to the mellow sounds of Iron and Wine.  The staff is very friendly and every time I’ve walked in, they’ve always made conversation with me.  Many describe this place as a “hipster” coffee shop, but regardless of what your particular vibe is, there’s no denying that this place is amazing.  The only downfall is that it can be hard to find a seat during afternoon hours. Heck, during evening hours as well. Luckily, Kreuzberg fixed this problem in record time.

This summer, Kreuzberg moved from it’s location on Monterey Street to Higuera Street. The coffee shop definitely made a wise choice in expanding.  Not only did they change locations, but they also expanded their menu to include dinner items and alcoholic beverages.  When I found out that they moved to a larger location, I was afraid that it would become too noisy for studying.  Come to find out, they still had a study area upstairs and they still had their good ol’ rustic bookshelves that I have always loved.  Kreuzberg is most definitely one of my favorite places in San Luis Obispo.

Hannah Croft, a sophomore at Cal Poly SLO, says that “[her] favorite place to study is Kreuzberg, CA.”

“I love the lower lighting and the variety of furniture,” Croft says.

In order to be a great coffee shop, you obviously must have good coffee, but Pezzini says “[it's] about more than just good coffee, it’s about entertainment.”  In regards to Kreuzberg, Pezzini says, “not only [is she] fascinated by the darling designs that they make with the foam in [her] caramel cappuccino, but it’s also such a cool and eclectic atmosphere.”

“If I want more of the coffee shop experience,” Pezzini says, “I definitely head to Krezuberg because it’s just so original.”  So walk on into this coffee shop, order yourself something off of the menu, and be amazed.

Linnaea’s Café

A mocha from Linnaea's Café.

Another one of my favorite coffee shops in SLO is Linnaea’s Café. This past February I was going to a concert with some friends at SLO Brew.  We arrived a little early for the concert so we made our way across the street to Linnaea’s. I had never been to Linnaea’s before, nor had I ever even heard of it. I ordered a mocha and was amazed not only by how beautiful it looked, but also by how great it tasted.  The temperature was also perfect.  When people go and buy a cup of coffee, they want to be able to take a sip right when it’s handed to them rather than wait around for it to cool off unless they want to risk burning our tongue. Right off of the bat, Linnaea’s was making its way into my top list of favorite coffee shops in SLO.  Not only are the workers friendly, but the family atmosphere at Linnaea’s is wonderful. They also have musical performances every now and then which is also great.

San Luis Obispo has many great coffee shops, but I would have to say that if you choose Starbucks, Kreuzberg, CA, or Linnaea’s, you’re golden. So take a break from your busy life and grab a cup of coffee and relax in one of these great coffee shops.  You’re guaranteed a lovely time.