I was thrown into the middle of the bottomless ocean that is the coffee drinker’s lifestyle headfirst and I, unfortunately, cannot swim. Augie’s Coffee House was one of the first places I visited when I let coffee into my life, and it has been to only one I’ve loved enough to go back more times than I’m proud to admit. Unless you’re an Inland Empire native or a true coffee aficionado, you’re probably unfamiliar with what might actually be the greatest coffee roaster in Southern California.
Nestled in the quiet corners of the exposed brick and neutral tones of historic downtown Redlands, the bright red façade of the original location of Augie’s Coffee House still stands. It’s as red as both the Redlands and the espresso-rich blood running through my veins. Perhaps a slight exaggeration, but you get it.
I have no idea what the building was used for before the graces of the coffee gods blessed little old Redlands with a cozy coffee corner, but the layout is kind of weird. There’s a “front” room: standard chairs, tables, pastry displays and product shelf, among others things and a more open and inviting “back room” that houses long picnic benches rather than isolated tables. Because this location is in a suburban, university area, there’s free, ample parking, free, protected Wi-Fi, and free, abundant outlets. Basically, they do everything right.
In addition to the Redlands storefront there are Claremont and Riverside locations.
The Claremont spot is the one I visit most often. I’ve gone through nine loyalty cards at this location alone, and I’m only slightly ashamed to say that I’ve driven my roommates and me there from campus just to get my hands on a shot of Augie’s espresso. These guys are perched in the Claremont Packing House in downtown Claremont and share a suite with à la minute, a stellar liquid nitrogen ice cream shop that also got its start in Redlands. Outlets and seating teeter towards the “hard to find” realm, but that’s entirely dependent on the time of day and whether or not the Claremont colleges are in their exam season.
I don’t frequent the Riverside site as often as I used to primarily because it’s out of the way and my coffee-appreciating UC Riverside friends have either graduated or transferred.
Something unique about Augie’s is that, as I haven’t been able to experience from other multi-location coffee shops, they pull a super consistent shot of espresso. I can hit up any site and be confident that the drink I get won’t suck. In fact, the two shots of their Tres Narinos Espresso Blend I ordered for the road was so heart eyes emoji, it made the two hours I spent in traffic almost bearable. Because I’ve been to each Augie’s multiple times, I’ve had the chance to taste nearly everything on the menu at least once, and they’ve been memorable every single time. They also boast a variety of seasonal drinks alongside their permanent staples, and I am essentially in love with all of them.
Clearly, I could go on and on about how I basically spent two months living off of the surprisingly delicate Lavender Vanilla Latte; how many loyalty cards I’ve annihilated between the three locations; how the combination of Augie’s espresso and à la minute vanilla ice cream makes for the holy grail of all affogatos; how the perfect ratio of perfectly roasted espresso, cinnamon and pumpkin is the reason their Pumpkin Spice Latte goes unrivaled; or how I will only ever used Augie’s roasted coffee in my Hario V60 and French press, but they’re just something any hardcore coffee consumer needs to experience themselves.
Sidenote: They also have the nicest/least pretentious baristas I’ve ever (literally, e v e r) gotten to interact with. They’ve given me L.A. recommendations and ask for updates whenever I revisit, so shoutout to all of them!
Check them out and let me know how you like them.
Redlands: 113 N. 5th St. Redlands, CA 92373
Claremont: 526 W. 1st St., Claremont, CA 91711
Riverside: 4205 Main St., Riverside CA 92501
Jackie Mayuga is a junior majoring in applied and computational mathematics. Her blog column, #JackieLikesJava, runs every Saturday.