At the busy corner of Mission Street and Highway 1 stands a large and attractive brick church where a meeting hall has been transformed into a popular non-profit coffee, art, and music lounge.
On one side of the comfortable, high-ceilinged room, green velvet settees loaded with colorful pillows, floor to ceiling drapes, and crystal chandeliers give it an operatic feel. Elsewhere patrons enjoyed coffee and conversation at various sizes of both tall and short tables. Laptops appeared in abundance, taking advantage of free Cruzio hotspot wireless internet and numerous electrical power strips.
The extensive list of coffee drinks is made with locally roasted Verve coffee. In the Abbott’s Chocolate Sipper ($3.50), two espresso shots, mellow San Francisco Guittard and Scharffen-Berger bittersweet chocolates were shaken with ice and cream to compose a decadent mocha.
Matcha, powdered from shade-grown green tea leaves, is central to the traditional Japanese tea ceremony, and used in making green tea ice cream. I doubt that the Zen Buddhist monk who brought this tea to Japan ever envisioned the Abbey’s 16-ounce Matcha Green Tea Latte ($3.65). Served in a heavy white cup brimming with tiny foam bubbles, the steaming pale green beverage carried the earthy, hay-like flavor of top-notch tea.
The desserts and pastries served at the Abbey are all delivered fresh daily from local bakeries. On a given day, you might find croissants, scones, and biscotti. I enjoyed a Kerri’s Kreations thick, palm-sized chocolate chip cookie. Chocolate Goodfellow ($2.50) was a shallow donut-sized cup of tender pastry dough filled with Devil’s food cake batter and baked, then lightly frosted with chocolate and sprinkled with powdered sugar.
The Abbey, Coffee Art and Music Lounge, 350 Mission St., Santa Cruz. Open weekdays 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and weekends 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Visit myspace.com/theabbeysc