By Ozzy Hernandez
If you have ever watched classic sitcoms like “Frasier” or “Friends,” you’ll appreciate the homey and cozy atmosphere at Simone’s Coffee and Tea in Ventura. It feels like being back in the ’90s. Simone’s is furnished with bohemian style furniture, which gives it a “hipster” feel, and it also features portraits of the old Saticoy and Montalvo railroad stations.
Simone’s Coffee and Tea is an independently owned coffeehouse that opened in 1996. The original store is located at 7818 Telegraph Rd, and there is a second location that opened in June 2019 at 2848 Cabrillo Dr.
This coffee shop has been voted “Favorite Coffeehouse” by the Ventura Visitors and Convention Bureau “year after year,” according to the Simone’s Coffee website. Since moving here from the East Coast in the summer of 2014, I have always considered this place a hidden gem in Ventura County. It is the perfect small business alternative to larger chains such as Starbucks or Peet’s Coffee.
There are not many independently owned coffee shops in Ventura County, let alone within the city of Ventura, and Simone’s has captured the hearts of the residents yearning for alternative coffee shop choices, including myself. The big coffee shop chains just can’t compare to the welcoming atmosphere and delicious menu at Simone’s.
Simone’s also sells baked goods, with an assortment of locally sourced muffins, scones and small bites in their pastry case delivered daily, according to their website. If it is over a day old, they’ll sell it to you at less than half the price—that is, if it’s not already sold out. They also have a variety of bagels and breakfast food options. However, the star of their offerings is their artisan coffees.
My favorite go-to drink is an ice-blended coffee. I like the mocha, hazelnut and chai flavors, but I mainly stick with the mochas if it’s warm outside to cool me off. Since I am lactose intolerant, I always choose oat milk or almond milk in lieu of regular milk. There are numerous modifications available to fit your dietary needs at this place.
Now, not everyone is into cold coffee drinks, but Simone’s Coffee and Tea offers a wide menu, from lattes and cappuccinos to smoothies. A strong second option when it’s cold outside is my all-time favorite drink: a dirty chai latte. Chai is an Indian blend of tea that usually includes cinnamon or cardamom. This drink is a chai latte with an added shot of espresso. Drinking a dirty chai latte from Simone’s is like a taste of heaven. It can also be served over ice, but in my opinion, it is much better as a hot drink.
Whether you prefer a sweet iced coffee or a bold brew, there is something for everyone to try out at this locally-owned spot. On a scale from 1-5, Simone’s Coffee and Tea earns the highest marks from me. Support a small business and give Simone’s a shot!