The Regular Blend

Who are the faithful supporters of San Luis Obispo's many small specialty coffee shops? I asked the baristas of several locally-owned coffee shops who their favorite "regulars" were. I conducted interviews based on their responses. These are the stories of some SLO Roast Regulars. Thank you for sharing your experiences with me.

Five Cups A Day

Meet Paul Rangel. Rangel, aged 53, is originally from Visalia, California. He now lives in San Luis Obispo and is known as the “Rice Milk Guy” at the Nautical Bean on Los Osos Valley Rd. Everyday, Rangel orders a drip coffee with steamed rice milk. He returns throughout the day for refills. “He literally comes in four to five times a day with this energetic energy. He is always really nice,” said Charlene Meja, a barista at Nautical Bean. He started coming to Nautical Bean in September and is already known by all of the baristas. “He’s like the only person here who gets rice milk. I’ve never understood how people can be that regular and come here so many times a day,” said Robert Penna-Welch. Knowing his order, Jessica Ruiz uses the register after automatically placing his cup on the counter while Rangel reaches into his jean pocket for $2.25 in exact change. Rangel goes to several different coffee shops. He is known as a regular customer at the Starbucks on Madonna Road, the Blackhorse on Higuera Street, the Peet’s Coffee on Court Street, and now the Nautical Bean on Los Osos Valley Road. He filters through various coffee shops because he likes to meet different kinds of people. Nautical Bean is currently his favorite because it is conveniently close to his house. He also said that he likes the type of people that come to Nautical Bean. “I come for the people first and the rice milk second. And atmosphere is in there somewhere,” Rangel said. Ironically, Rangel poured half and half into his drip coffee because they ran out of rice milk. He said that he would rather have half and half than rice milk but that the half and half is too fattening. Once Rangel gets his coffee, he takes thirty minutes to collect his thoughts, play a game of chess on his iPad, and converse with the other customers in the shop. He started playing chess in elementary school. “My mind needs a challenge, I need to think,” he said. Rangel used to trim trees. He climbed palm trees with a chainsaw in Pismo Beach and was paid $200 for each tree. “I loved being there swaying in the air, I wasn’t afraid of falling but it was scary,” he said. When the city found out that he did not have a license to trim the trees, he began gardening. Now, he is a caregiver for one of the women he previously worked for as a gardener. In three months, he will be unemployed because his employer is moving out of town. He said that he almost applied to work at Nautical Bean but decided against it. His reasons were unclear. Rangel places the cap on his coffee cup after pouring his first refill. He drinks approximately nine cups of coffee a day. Nautical Bean brews six different kinds of drip coffee. Rangel buys the Peru Organic blend. When asked about why he prefers this blend he said, “I think it is the realness of it, like wherever it is grown, in the mountains somewhere.” With his iPad tucked under his arm and a fresh cup of coffee, Rangel leaves his first Nautical Bean visit of the day.
|Photo Credit| Leanna Newby

Three Local Shops

Click on each image to hear four regulars talk about their favorite local shops.

Lucy's Coffee Company /> Coastal Peaks Coffee /> Blackhorse on Broad Street />


Locals support locals. Owner of Garden Street Goldsmiths, David Hillbebrecht visits Linnaea's Cafe daily. The frienship between Linnaea's and the Hillbebrecht family is multigenerational. David's father assisted the original owner, Linnaea Phillips, when starting the business in 1984. Now, Hillbebrecht takes his daughter Samantha to the shop.