Are there too many piles of homework and not enough hours in the night to finish them all, while somehow managing to make it to school the next day having gotten a decent amount of sleep? Have you finally reached that point where it’s exhausting to simply stay awake? Lucky for you, you’re not alone. Yes, there is a solution: coffee, and this valley is full of it. Recently, classmates Jordan Beiden-Charles, Maddy McMillan, Seamus McMillan, Gabe Michaud, Caitlyn Wade, and I ventured to find the best cup of coffee from Scotts Valley to Boulder Creek, taste-testing the iced coffee at each shop.
Home of Larry’s famous chai, the White Raven might not be a first choice for most when searching for a strong cup of coffee, simply due to the popularity of their chai. However, smooth to drink with a subtle taste, the coffee at White Raven is not a punch in the face. A twenty ounce iced coffee will cost you $3.15. Aside from the overall taste of the coffee, the shop does provide a simple syrup for iced drinks and a warm and welcoming feel as soon as you enter the building. 8/10.
Also in Felton, Mt. Roasting is located right next to Safeway and is easy to get to during lunch. Their coffee flavor is stronger than the White Raven’s, and their beans come from a small, independent, local farmer. The barista we encountered was extremely sweet and welcoming, however the service there was a bit slow. If you enjoy any type of cream in your coffee, be weary of getting it from this shop, because the carton of half in half is left out on the counter. However, they do deserve some credit for providing a simple syrup for cold drinks. At $2.50 for sixteen ounces of great quality iced coffee, Mt. Roasting is a great, close place to grab a cup at lunch or with friends. Overall we rated this shop 7/10.
While their environment is nice for studying and can be a chill place to hang out and talk with someone, Peet’s iced coffee is hopefully not the best item on the menu. A sixteen ounce cup sells for $3.10 and has a very strong and slightly sour taste to it. Peet’s being a larger corporation, they often change up the type of beans they use and can provide their customers with a wide variety of different flavors and strengths, so don’t be discouraged if you try one type and dislike it because the next cup might surprise you. They do not offer simple syrup for their cold drinks, but their fast and friendly customer service almost makes up for it. Based off of taste alone, Pete’s averaged a rating of 5.4/10.
The Starbucks located in Scotts Valley is always a go-to for close, sugary, warm or cold, festive drinks, and a relaxed place to work on homework, but does anyone actually order their plain coffee? Because of their reputation for burning their beans, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the answer is no. For $2.75, do not be deceived by their affordability; the rumours are true and the black [iced] coffee at Starbucks is burnt and beyond bitter. Overall, the drink was hard to swallow and the coffee shop does not supply simple syrup to sweeten it up. As a group, we rated their iced coffee 3.6/10.
For $2.30, the sixteen ounce cup of iced coffee from Coffee 9 is the least expensive cup out of the six places we visited for this trial. Their coffee is dark and the natural flavor the beans pops with every sip. According to Seamus, it “tastes like some high-quality beanage.” Coffee 9’s low priced ice coffee and quality taste earned a 7.6/10.
Jenna Sue’s Cafe, located in Boulder Creek, is a smaller, locally owned coffee shop and a great place to get in and out quickly, and leave with a quality cup of coffee. The owner, Jenna Sue, is incredibly sweet and gets her coffee from Java Bob; the coffee is locally roasted and 100% organic. Jenna Sue’s exceeded our expectations, earning an 8.8/10 for an overall delightfully rich taste and sweet service.
Formerly home of Rainbow’s End, current resident Boulder Creek Coffee Roasters serves a strong cup of coffee that’s slightly sour and fairly bitter. The coffee shop itself is has a comfortable, homey vibe, lots of seating and a great view of the San Lorenzo River. The service is slower due to them being understaffed, but all in all the barista we encountered had a great attitude and was very pleasant. We gave their coffee a rating of 6.8/10.
Even though this shop was the smallest, Jenna Sue’s had by far the best coffee and service of any place we visited.
By Sequoia Green