The original Verve Coffee Roasters location is still going strong near the beach.
When Colby Barr and Ryan O’Donovan founded Verve Coffee Roasters in 2007, they started by the beach in east Santa Cruz. They later opened a stand-alone roasting facility, and just before Thanksgiving, they debuted a downtown location that would stand out in a truly cosmopolitan city, let alone a hippie-filled university town. The original cafe is more austere.
With experienced baristas on bar (including Intelligentsia Silver Lake veteran Cat) and some of NorCal’s better coffee, Verve’s original location is still well worth visiting.
The shop has more of a neighborhood feel, with a glass front, art-lined walls and blackboard menu.
Verve has three Mazzer grinders and a three-group La Marzocco espresso machine.
We started with a sweet single origin, Costa Rican espresso ($2.75) called Final de Cosecha, which Helsar farmers Asdrubal Chavez and Eliomar Lopez grew and which Jared Truby used the following week to help win the Southwest Regional Barista Championship.
I also opted for a Verve original, and a great value, the One and One ($3) featuring a split shot of the Helsar espresso. This clever presentation allows people to taste the true expression of the espresso, and for them to see how it plays with milk. The answer? Well.
Even after two Verve trips in one day, I still had one regret: not ordering one of the gargantuan cookies they stack on a slice of tree. A local baker built the beast with ingredients like brown sugar, chocolate, pecans and caramel. As for the coffee, I left with no regrets.