Coffee Houses

Cafe Bravo: A Better Cup of Coffee

We at Taste of Temecula love locally owned businesses. We also love coffee. The best of both worlds can be found at Café Bravo in Old Town Temecula. It is located on picturesque 5th Street in a recently built structure that looks gracefully well-established. I was there recently, with my 16 year old coffee fanatic daughter, Katie. We left the

Caroline Dalton, manager of Café Bravo. Photograph by Natalie Mills.

house to run errands before we had a chance to eat breakfast. It became clear that neither of us are the “suffer in silence” types when it comes to hunger. I knew that we would find something delicious at Café Bravo. I have been a fan of theirs ever since it was at its original location at the Promenade Mall in Temecula, because the coffee was markedly better than anything I’d ever tasted before. Ryan Dalton started Café Bravo specifically because he was searching for a great cup of coffee. He found the readily available coffee sub par, and learned to do better. He is now a very busy roaster whose coffee beans are used many places, including Pechanga, and other casinos and local restaurants. His mother, Caroline, manages the 5th Street location. Once when talking to her, she told me, “Coffee people are interesting. I have at least three baristas here that go to conventions and take classes continually. They watch the coffee coming out of the machine, to make sure the color is right.” The dedication to the craft is evident in every cup you order. Since moving to the current location, they have added a full kitchen and make all the pastries and food on site. The same dedication to quality comes through in the fresh and delicious offerings. They are made with mostly local produce and food products, and all the spices and seasonings come from Spice Merchants, also in Old Town.

Café Bravo is exceptionally inviting, and invites you to stay for a while. Add hassle-free wi-fi and you are good to go. Photograph by Natalie Mills.

Gina Venegas-Paine greeted us warmly when we walked in. The energetic brunette is responsible for cooking about 70% of what goes into the spotless pastry case. We perused the selections, which were extensive and included Breakfast in a Cup, (a rice and egg mixture baked in a flour tortilla) many different types of quiche, and a wide variety of muffins and pastries. We chose a cheddar, ham and green chile quiche, a blueberry bran muffin, and, because we have no sense of culinary propriety, we also ordered bread pudding with whole bean vanilla glaze. I’ve never met a meal that wouldn’t be better with dessert. The quiche was flavorful and the crust was tender. The blueberry bran muffin was like no bran muffin I’d ever had. I ordered it because it was good for me, but I would order it again because it was delicious. It was light and tender, not a trace of sawdust anywhere. Even Katie liked it, and 16-year-olds are genetically programmed to hate bran muffins. She kept taking chunks of it until finally I offered to buy her one of her own.

“I’m fine,” she said, grinning as she popped yet another piece in. Gina told us that the bran muffins are made with 100% bran, and no refined sugar. Even that information didn’t slow Katie down.

We saved the bread pudding for last, because even if it was breakfast dessert, it was still dessert. The bread pudding was free of raisins, a fact I was grateful for, as I find them cloying in bread pudding. Skipping the raisins is only one of many things Gina did right when she created this dish. It is moist throughout, with only a hint of cinnamon and nutmeg, and the most amazing vanilla glaze. That glaze could make a vanilla convert out of a long-time chocolate lover like me. While we were enjoying our breakfast, Beau, the barista brought over Katie’s Buttercream latte, and my espresso marked with a heart-shaped bit of foam. The espresso was exactly what I have always loved about Café Bravo, the smooth, thick, and pleasant flavor of the coffee. They also carry a large selection of teas, iced and hot, which are brewed to order.

When you need a cup of coffee, stop in and see the friendly, and dedicated crew at Café Bravo. You can also by their perfectly roasted beans by the pound. If you find yourself out and about and needing a cup of coffee, seek out Café Bravo. You will find it worth the effort.

Gina Venegas-Paine, barista extraordinaire. . Photograph by Natalie Mills.

Café Bravo is located at 41911 5th Street, 
Suite 101, Temecula, CA, 92590

(951) 506-4938

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