This weekend we packed up the family and headed for Santa Cruz. There’s nothing quite like sitting on the beach watching a surfing contest to make me feel away from the regular routine! Our daughter Eva also happens to love the beach, so it was well worth the drive. But our real motive for the trip, if you haven’t already guessed, involved espresso.

Aerial view of the surfers from Lighthouse Point Park

Santa Cruz is the home of Verve Coffee Roasters. This group is quickly growing both in size and reputation. Their baristas have actually won several awards lately. We’ve been enjoying their beans in Oakland at Bica and Modern Coffee, but it was time for us to have the authentic Verve experience.

You can see a handsome row of young trophies on display at their 41st Ave. location (off of Portola Dr). The space isn’t particularly big, but it’s nice. Something about the setting and atmosphere reminds me of our favorite shop in Palm Springs. Very relaxing! The staff was professional and personable. The espresso was great. And they had amazing pastries. The cookie was so good I actually regret not taking a picture of it! It had chocolate, caramel and pretzels – the perfect mix of sweet and salty, which is always a winner next to espresso.

Canvas planters at 41st location

Emily loved the canvas planters at the 41st Ave location

In the midst of this now blissful state, I also overheard one of the baristas mention that their new roastery is open. Of all the weekends to visit Santa Cruz, we had chosen the first weekend since its opening on Sept. 20th. How fortuitous! So we headed without haste to the long-awaited* roastery of Santa Cruz. Yelp told us that the roastery had closed 40 minutes prior at 3:00 pm, but that wasn’t going to discourage us!

We pulled up to the freshly renovated warehouse at 104 Bronson Ave at 4 pm to see that they were just packing in the chairs. The two ladies behind the bar were very accommodating, even offering us a free coffee and pastry. One of their trainers also showed up and invited us to their open house on Oct 8th. Besides the obvious storage and roasting space, their new site has a coffee bar and space for offices and training. It’s not as comfortable for customers as the caffe, but it’s worth checking out at least once.

Eva at Roastery

Eva leading the charge into Verve's new roastery

 Coffee Bar at New Verve Roastery

Coffee bar inside Verve's new roastery

Being in Santa Cruz for an afternoon is a welcome change of pace. Besides that, it was nice to see the personalities behind the Verve brand. They have an easygoing nature that you might expect from a beach town like Santa Cruz, which is also refreshing.

There’s only one unsolved mystery from our trip. I thought someone mentioned that Verve has an even newer and larger location (besides the roastery) nearby, but I’m not able to locate it now. Maybe I was mistaken? One of you readers (I’m assuming there’s at least two of you) will have to pick up the torch and let me know.

* Verve announced that they were opening a new space for roasting some months ago. But by long-awaited, we don’t mean overdue. The “long-awaited and overdue” title firmly belongs to Awaken Cafe until an opened space at Frank H. Ogawa Plaza completes their year-long+ saga.