Shop Stop: Portola Coffee Lab | Costa Mesa

Surrounded by designer shops and unique food experiences, is the Portola Coffee Lab. Tucked away in The OC Mix, the coffee lab hums along brewing coffee, serving customers, and most surprisingly roasting coffee. One may think that the monolithic roaster placed adjacent to the café is just for chic points but it serves a vital role to the successes of all seven locations and being named, 2015’s Micro Roaster of the Year by Daily Coffee News. Owner, Jeff Duggan and his wife Christa believe that great coffee begins from the source. They go to the source searching for the absolute best beans in tandem finding the most dedicated farmers to partner with. They hope that their relationships and passion can be felt in every cup you drink from Portola.

You first walk in and you can hear the cooling bin agitator of the roaster clocking around endlessly. The warm, sweet aroma fills your nose and draws you to the bar. Behind the bar, you’ll catch the staff weighing and recording their roasts of the day with students and customers occasionally peaking a glimpse as this is a normal occurrence for them.

This sort of public view of the roasting process is unique for roasters to be this transparent. This is part of the mass appeal to this location as customers can feel more in tune and relatable with the origins of the drinks they’re consuming. This transparency transcends beyond the physical experience with the raw product of coffee, but with the human engagement with the staff. Friendly and engaging, you can sense their priority is providing an excellent experience from the first to last sip in your cup.

While it’s one of our favorite spots, there are six other locations you can visit with the same quality to service and experience!