SCV’s Best Coffee Houses

A barrista pours cream into coffee

By Victor Corral Martinez

Signal Staff Writer

Many Americans wake up to the smell of coffee, the rich aroma that enchants, alerting you to start your day. And those who aren’t ready to wake up rely on coffee to gain that caffeine boost to crush the day, and it’s no surprise that Americans drink 656 million cups of coffee a day.

Coffee has a long and storied past, originating in Ethiopia and spreading through the Islamic Middle East. Eventually, the coffee bean would travel into Europe and find its way into the Americas, becoming one of the first globalized commodities.

The 1600s would see Rome opening the first coffeehouse in Europe, and the Dutch and French would help spread the bean internationally into the Americas and Indonesia. The love for coffee in the United States can trace its origin to the various European colonial powers introducing and exporting the crop to the colonies.

A significant shift in caffeine preference occurred during the American Revolution. The story of the Boston Tea Party famously told for centuries in classrooms across the United States often fails to mention the colonists championing a national identity, which included becoming coffee drinkers over tea sippers.

The book “Coffee: A Comprehensive Guide to the Bean, the Beverage, and the Industry,” by Robert W. Thurston, details the long and storied connection with coffee.

“During the Civil War, Union troops considered coffee necessary for victory. Gen. William Sherman called it ‘the essential element of the ration,’ ordering that coffee and sugar be carried along, even at the expense of bread, for which there are many substitutes,” read the book.

Thurston also writes how the term “cup of joe” refers to G.I. Joe troops and their rations of coffee that helped them control hunger and energize them as they fought in the many wars across the globe.

The storied relationship with coffee has evolved into culture and identity for many Americans. Today, there are thousands of coffee stands and houses across the nation, fueling America and communities like Santa Clarita.

The Santa Clarita Valley is home to many coffee shops and offers a variety of coffee, sourced locally and internationally, even offering new twists to a classic. It’s hard to drive anywhere in the SCV and not find a great place to recharge and conquer the day. Here is a look at a few of them:

Coffee Kiosk:

The Coffee Kiosk offers excellent coffee in the SCV and has done so for more than 25 years. The small booths set up in high-traffic areas help the on-the-go consumer quickly drive up to the window, order a coffee and head to their destination while getting that delicious caffeine boost to own the day.

Sarah Del Rosario, general manager of Coffee Kiosk, leads a team of experienced baristas who can help you find the right drinks for any individual’s preference. Del Rosario hails from Seattle and says the routine to start your day — or get through it — with coffee appeals to the consumer on the move.

“We like to blast music here and we get people out pretty fast,” Del Rosario said. “We make and roast our own coffee so that there’s a little bit more love in our coffee.”

Some of the favorite drink options at Coffee Kiosk include an ube latte, which features a creamy base of ube-flavored milk and is topped with a shot of espresso. Additionally, ice-blended drinks, caramel macchiatos and other sweet drinks are trendy, according to Del Rosario.

Del Rosario said the dependency on caffeine, routine and the many combination options appeals to people in Santa Clarita. Additionally, Del Rosario said the loyalty program rewards customers after a certain amount of visits and she advises signing up for the rewards.

“Even if you don’t sign up for the loyalty program, come try a cup of coffee from us,” Del Rosario added.

Coffee Kiosk is located at 23716 Lyons Ave., Newhall, 91321, and 26833 Bouquet Canyon Road, Saugus, 91350.

Undergrounds Coffeehouse:

Undergrounds Coffeehouse began 10 years ago to serve the Real Life Church community, according to Jill Jackson, manager of Undergrounds. Her team consists of eight baristas who create specialty coffee drinks and a unique experience. Jackson said the popularity of coffee in America is the culture of being on the go.

“We don’t really know how to just sit down and take a break,” Jackson said. “Everyone’s multitasking and moving, doing a million things at one time, and coffee is just the fuel that everybody needs.”

Jackson said she thinks Undergrounds has some of the best coffee because of the attention to detail and sourcing from a California roaster called Cat & Cloud.

“Cat & Cloud are really particular about where they source their coffee, and make sure that they pay their growers fair wages,” Jackson said.

Jackson added that those interested could visit and experience the coffee and atmosphere of the coffeehouse Sunday through Thursday.

Undergrounds Coffeehouse is located on the bottom floor of Real Life Church at 23841 Newhall Ranch Road, Santa Clarita, 91355.

Trophy Coffee:

Simon Ogg, manager of Trophy Coffee, says the coffee bar has been open for two years and offers many coffee options and alternatives to classics. He said some popular drinks include chagaccino, a drink sourced from the chaga mushroom, which is high in antioxidants and tastes like a mocha with cinnamon.

Additionally, Ogg takes pride in a community favorite cold brew because of its smooth aromatic flavor that lacks the bitterness you usually get from a hot brewed coffee.

Ogg said Trophy pays great attention to detail in the coffee by lightly roasting to provide the full flavor palette of the bean. Even the training of baristas and the offerings of specialty drinks are unique for Los Angeles County.

“We’ve started branching out and going international with some of our roasters,” Ogg said. “So for this next season, we actually have a roaster from Finland, and a coffee roaster from Sweden, that we’ll be featuring at our bar.”

The location is currently at the entrance of The Master’s University and helps to create a central hub and community for the students. Additionally, many neighborhood residents have begun to discover the location and have become regular patrons.

“A lot of the local people living here in the canyon, when they were working from home, would come to visit us on their daily walks,” Ogg said. “So we’ve kind of been able to grow with the local community as well.”

Ogg encourages all community neighbors to come and try the coffee and reminds all that Trophy serves the students as well as those who aren’t and just want a delicious caffeinated drink.

“Our main vision and goal is to serve our students and our community, and because we’re kind of tucked back here in the canyon, we want to serve our community better,” Ogg said.

Trophy Coffee is located by the entrance of The Master’s University at 21726 Placerita Canyon Road, Newhall, 91321.

Honu Coffee:

Honu Coffee is one of those establishments that takes pride in its mission to provide quality drinks made with high-quality ingredients and excellent customer service. Hot or iced, they offer an array of options with many seasonal options.

“Come into Honu Coffee in Old Town Newhall and be welcomed, sit back, relax, and slow down for a bit. Read a book, play a game, or share a story. We can’t wait to see you,” reads a post on Honu Coffee’s website.

Honu Coffee is located at 22722 Lyons Ave., Newhall, 91321.

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