Being a college town, San Luis Obispo has an abundance of amazing coffee shops. But what sets Active Coffee Co apart is their extremely fun approach to an otherwise simple cup of coffee: the addition of cotton candy "cloud" drinks.
They usually carry over ten cotton candy flavors, ranging from typical like apple and bubble gum, to flavors like cinnabun, pumpkin spice, maple bacon, and french toast. Any cotton candy flavor can be added to any drink, or you can go with their curated cloud drinks, some of which include the Marshmallow Cloud Hot Cocoa, Mint Chip Cloud Matcha. The cloud drinks range from $6 to $8 and you can get just the cloud for $3.
Active Coffee likes to incorporate and support other local businesses as much as possible. For example, they carry pastries and sweets from Seabreeze Cupcakes and Sweet Treats, which is one of their neighbors in the Creamery Marketplace. Their honey is sourced from Humble Hive Bee Company, a sustainable honey producer in Arroyo Grande. They're also in talks with some local dairy producers to introduce some ice cream treats to the menu.
As my Americano & Marshmallow Cloud was being made, the scent of melting marshmallows suddenly filled the space, wafting all around us. It smelled so good I wanted to stay in the coffee shop forever. The marshmallow cloud was the perfect personality boost for an otherwise boring Americano. I typically don't like them but Active Coffee uses Coava Coffee and the beans were roasted perfectly, resulting in a delicious cup of coffee.
The baristas at Active recommend letting your cloud at least partially dissolve into the drink, as they don't sweeten their drinks heavily if you're getting it topped with spun sugar. I personally enjoyed ripping off small pieces and letting it melt in my mouth right before taking a sip of the drink.
The Pink Lemonade & Strawberry Cloud is perfect if you're not looking for something caffeinated. Very little sugar is put in the drink itself since the cloud is sugary. The best way to drink this one is to let most of the cloud dissolve into your drink, since it was only subtly sweet, even after the cloud fully dissolved. I liked that nothing was cloyingly sweet here!
And just because Active Coffee Co utilizes cotton candy doesn't mean their drinks can't stand on their own. In fact, they make some of the best Chai Tea I've ever had. Their coffee and teas are very high quality, which you can taste in every sip.
Active Coffee opened its doors last September in the midst of the pandemic, and are finally now getting to open up their indoor seating. Trust me, it's a place you want to sit and stay awhile at, especially with the aroma of freshly spun sugar wafting throughout the space. They're also run by the sweetest people and cotton candy baristas. It's a locally-owned, mom and pop business. They’re coming up with some pretty exciting things soon, like cloud affogatos so check them out soon!