Two reviewers have different experiences
As I sit at one of the many small tables lining the walls of Ojai Coffee I look around at the environment I find myself in. The air smells slightly of the flowers that sit upon a few of the tables and, or course, like coffee beans.
One man sits at a table alone, drinking coffee out of a ceramic cup while working on his iPad, while a group of people occupying two of the middle tables seem to be having a great time talking amongst themselves, drinking coffee and snacking on some of Ojai Coffee’s famous pastries. A few other people are sprinkled throughout the cafe, but at 2:00 PM on a Sunday afternoon it has slowly begun to quiet down.
“You and I” by Ingrid Michaelson plays quietly in the background underscoring the sound of coffee being ground and brewed, and the quiet chatter of friendly people never ceases to end.
As I sip on my chai latte, and share an $11.95 Caprese salad with a friend, more people venture into the cafe. Overall, the ambiance continues to remain peaceful and relaxing.
The chai latte is fine, but unfiltered and requires a lot of patience to let the spices and cardamon settle to the bottom. It doesn’t pack as much flavor as others I’ve had, and even the Starbucks’ syrup-based chai has more spice than Ojai’s watered-down version.
The Caprese Salad is delicious, as all of their food is. The only downside is the expense. For tomatoes, a small portion of mozzarella, and just a pinch of basil, $11.95 seems absurd.
Overlooking its flaws, Ojai Coffee continues to be one of my favorite restaurants primarily for its atmosphere. It is a fantastic place to study because of its tranquil setting. People move slowly throughout the coffee shop, not rushing, and talk in quiet voices. And the lighting is just right, not blindingly bright, nor so dim that you cannot read a book in front of you.
I highly suggest that if you have not already been, you should immediately (just don’t order their chai lattes).
One Saturday afternoon, after being served by a high school student stuck in the seventies, I attempted to sip my dry, double shot cappuccino. However, it seemed as though some of the sweat from her palms had mixed with my coffee, tasting as watery as a river. What a shame.
However bad the coffee had become, I decided it was time to satisfy the beast. I contemplated the options from roast beef to greek salads and stuck with the $10.95 turkey sandwich.
When the sandwich finally came, I cleared the cobwebs from my table and printed the essay I had written in the interim preparing myself for indulgence. It occurred to me that Tattoo & Piercing had left the sandwich on the counter and couldn’t seem to move around the counter to put the sandwich on my table.
It didn’t bother me however, as I am a pacifist. What did surprise me was the lack of mustard. When I asked for another side, it cost the same amount as the sandwich. No more mustard, for this boy.
Despite the minimal mustard, the sandwich was tasty: a perfect amount of turkey stacked on thin sourdough slices, topped with leafy greens and a pickle on the side. The sandwiches here, despite the inordinate cost, are generally well-made and delicious.
Just be prepared to wait.