When Coffee Meets Pastry at Scout Coffee Co.

Almond milk latte at Scout Coffee. (Photo: C.C.)
Almond milk latte at Scout Coffee. (Photo: C.C.)

It doesn’t take a DIY nerd to fall in love with Scout Coffee Co. at first sight. Your initial experience will feel like you’ve stepped onto the perfect set for a coffee date with someone you’ve liked from afar, at once new and familiar — even if you’re really there solo with work in hand.

On a charming side street perpendicular to one of the main Downtown San Luis Obispo boulevards, the café is meticulously crafted by co-owners Jon and Sara Peterson, vets of the coffee business for a decade or so. Whereas it’s new-ish, open since January of this year, there is a warmth of community felt, which can take a café years to build.

For the design inclined, there are pops of whimsy peppered throughout the high ceiling space, whether it’s the one chartreuse floral wall of interest near the entrance or the wooden planks pieced together as the main cafe menu.

Or maybe you’re just into great coffee with a pastry to pair for the two, three hours of work you’re looking to do outside of your (home) office or school. Scout makes for a very lovely option, if not the best, then when you’re in the area. There’s unlimited password-protected wifi, self-serve water at the counter and the kind of light — bright, not glaring — that imbues you with a sense of easy purpose.

You’ll have quite a few seating options to choose from, but you might have to park at one of the turquoise stools or finished tree stumps near the wall of interest if you need to charge up your electronics. There aren’t many outlets available.

Scout Coffee Co. makes a pretty fine brew, but what might be even more impressive is how they’ve put just as much thought into coffee alternatives than just, say, hot tea. You can sip, for instance, on a vanilla steamer or a strawberry milkshake built with ice cream made by regional neighbor McConnell’s in Santa Barbara. And they make their own almond milk, fragrantly sweet in a subtle way not found in store bought versions. You can order it straight or request for it to be used in lieu of milk.

The glass encased display of select daily pastries might look like an installation at first; it’s almost too pretty to mess up. If you’re interested, but uncertain, the barista will patiently describe each available option, as she had explained just what goes into the adorably named honey tea bowl. You’ll probably end up buying two anyway as you spend the afternoon working o

[We’re taking an observational guess that what partly contributes to the laid-back charm is the location. SLO is somewhat happily equidistant between Los Angeles and the Bay Area — perhaps that’s why locals are down-to-earth, yet engaged with little of the social neuroses found in either cities.]

Scout Coffee: 1130 Garden St., San Luis Obispo. [Map]

Ambiance: Serene.
Amenities: Unlimited, password-protected wifi.
Drink/Food: All the essentials are covered from a honey tea bowl to milkshakes made with McConnell’s Ice Cream. A well-curated rotating range of pastries, which might include strawberry scones, almond croissants filled with blackberry preserves or a stack of signature cookies with three types of chocolate.