When it comes to coffee, California pretty much pivots on two fulcrums: Los Angeles and San Francisco. Those cities have by far the highest concentrations of compelling roasters and coffeehouses. However, some highlights fall in the 400-mile expanse that separates the Bay Area from SoCal. Along the 101 freeway, it’s possible to find interesting coffee in Santa Barbara, San Jose and even a Santa Clara strip mall, which is where Barefoot Coffee Roasters resides.
Andy Newbom founded Barefoot in 2003, sold it to a pair of entrepreneurs and stayed on as the company’s green coffee buyer. Barefoot roasts in San Jose and plans to bolster its presence in Silicon Valley with branches in Campbell and Los Altos.
On a subsequent visit, we enjoyed cup of bright, fairly sweet cup coffee called La Gloria, from Gloria Rodriguez’s Stricta Alturra farm in western El Salvador, which the barista brewed on a recycled metal pourover bar. The coffee was a Cup of Excellence winner, a good sign.
Prepared signature drinks include the Jakerado (mint syrup, E Guittard cocoa, Slowroller and Straus half and half) and Cafe Brûlée (a cappuccino with a crust of caramelized Turbinado sugar that’s blasted with a kitchen torch).
I’ll definitely make more visits to the Silicon Valley, an area of the Bay Area with a surprisingly large number of globally inspired eating options, and when that happens, stops at coffeehouses like Barefoot and Red Berry now feels inevitable.