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Sacramento's Fresh Brew: Local, artisan coffee and a new breed of cafes

Independent cafes that serve high-quality coffee have cropped up across the country, and these days a new generation of coffee connoisseurs are raising the (espresso) bar and progressing our palates beyond the Starbucks daily brew. Sacramento visitors may be surprised to discover a thriving coffee culture in the Capitol City that rivals neighboring San Francisco. Locally roasted, small-batch coffee can be found at a handful of popular cafes in Downtown and Midtown, all conveniently located near the Sacramento Hostel.

Temple Coffee boasts the modern equivalent of the People's Choice Award -- the highest Yelp rating -- and has earned the "Best Cafe" stamp from the Sacramento News & Review. Temple sources single-origin coffee from around the world and roasts it in Sacramento. Though they're a small operation, they've managed to attract some national attention for their dedication to quality, flavorful, and unique coffees. Their two cafes -- located at 1010 9th Street, 3 blocks from the hostel, and at 2829 S Street -- are modern and minimalist, and while WiFi is free, conservation is encouraged.

Insight Coffee in downtown Sacramento is an ultra-cool space that's inviting, open, and airy with a rotating display of colorful, local artwork on the walls -- but the piece de resistance is the coffee. Sourced from all over the world and roasted in small batches in Sacramento, Insight Coffee is rich, bold, and flavorful, and the company aims to educate consumers on the unique character of their coffees (describing one blend as having flavors and aromas of "papaya and spice"). If you subscribe to the idea that coffee is the new wine, then this is your new cafe. Insight Coffee is located at 1901 8th Street, about a mile from the hostel, and has free WiFi.

Artisan coffee is wonderful, as is a hip space to tap away at your next novel, but Naked Lounge offers something else. Their Downtown location -- at 111 H Street, a stone's throw from the hostel -- doubles as a music venue, transforming from a laid-back cafe by day to an indie music hall at night. In addition to locally roasted coffee, Naked Lounge serves beer and hard cider, as well as the "bowl of soul" (a tea and soy latte with chocolate sprinkles) and Mexican hot chocolate. A second location is at 1500 Q Street in Midtown.

Six blocks from the hostel is a brick warehouse that houses "The Alley," the original location of Old Soul Co. In addition to its large roasting facility, The Alley offers a comfortable and laptop-friendly (free WiFi) space with plenty of outdoor seating. They serve fresh pastries and sandwiches made with housemade bread, and host live music nights. Dedicated to bringing the "soul" back to cafe culture, Old Soul Co. also operates two other locations in Sacramento: "Weatherstone" in Downtown and "40 Acres" in Alkali Flats.

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If You Go 

Stay at the Sacramento Hostel, and get a caffeine buzz from some great local coffee shops within walking distance of the hostel.