Wednesday, September 5, 2012

I have heard so many great things about Portola Coffee Lab, yet I have never been to the actual place nor did I even know where it was located.  Unfortunately my first experience with Portola Coffee Lab was at The Playground and it was not a great experience.  At first I had written them off because of the horrid experience, but as always I try to keep an open mind as I never had it from the source.
Thanks to Katie and Mike (Eating My Way Through OC), we were out on one of our foodie adventures  and added a few stops along the way.  She had been dying to try Portola Coffee Lab and I was completely on board to join the fun =).
Finding the place was a maze in itself.  We went on a Sunday and the place was desolate.  I guess most of the businesses around here are only open on the weekdays or closed early.  There were a few places that we would have liked to try on another trip when they are open.
This was the last place we visited after a full meal so there wasn't much stomach room to try out their delectable pastries.  Their cases offered a wide variety of both savory and sweet treats.  They definitely looked worthy of a return trip.
I really enjoyed all the eclectic and inspiring coffee concoctions.  It almost feels like you have stepped into Dr. Frankenstein's science laboratory.  Coffee is not just made here but "created".  The mad scientists laboratory was just so well lit that it was almost like a moth to a flame that I kept staring at the equipment.

Portola Coffee Lab is definitely not your ordinary coffee place.  I spoke to the manager and mentioned my past experience and he sincerely voiced his concern, which made me feel like that they really do care about the quality of their coffee and not just about selling the coffee.
Although they are known for their coffee, I felt like a Mocha instead.  It is made with their housemade Belgian Chocolate Ganache and you can have it either hot or cold.  The chocolate was thick and rich.  For those who don't really like overly sweet drinks, then this would be good for you.
Katie and Mike decided to go with their teas that are brewed in their special Trifecta brewer.  The tea was light and refreshing.  Personally I prefer my teas a lot sweeter but that can always be rectified by adding more sugar.  I thought the tea was a good balance of flavor and a subtle aromatic taste that doesn't overpower the tastebuds.
All in all this was a much better experience than my first drink.  There are a few more places at the OC Mart Mix that I would like to come and try so I will definitely be back and stop by for a drink! They also offer free wi-fi for patrons to use.  A nice place to chit chat with friends over a good drink.
Portola Coffee Lab
3313 Hyland Avenue
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
(949) 284-0596
Portola Coffee Lab on Urbanspoon

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