New local cafe provides a unique twist to Marin coffee shops


Sarah Barsky

In house iced almond milk latte

NOTE: This visit was done prior to the expansion of COVID-19. However, Pink Owl Coffee is available for delivery and pick up on Uber Eats, Grubhub, Caviar, and DoorDash. 

Daily life can be exhausting. During a long day of school or work, there are many obstacles causing fatigue or stress. For many, a cup of coffee makes these problems disappear. 

Marin County is home to many coffee chains such as Starbucks, Peets, and Philz coffee. However, there are few unique to Marin.

Pink Owl Coffee, located in San Rafael’s West End Center, opened this past year. It’s tucked away at the end of the mall, decorated in bright pink signs.

As stated on their website, the pink signifies breast cancer awareness, because one of the owners is a breast cancer survivor. One of the goals for the cafe is to eventually donate 10 percent of its annual revenue to breast cancer research. The employees want to make Pink Owl Coffee more than just a coffee shop. They want to provide a “zen retreat from the pressures of daily life for the local community around West End,” as stated on the website.

Upon arrival inside the building, you are greeted by rustic decoration and a cohesive color scheme. The ambiance is homey, with soft music playing to a point where you can hear it but it’s not distracting. There is also a small refrigerator placed at the entrance, housing various food selections and bottled drinks.

Additionally, there is no self serve section for cream or milk. There are only a few self serve options which are beneficial for preventing food waste as well as illnesses. The plastic cups have a hole to drink out of, so there is no need for a straw. There is also a “for here” option for no extra price, which helps limit excess plastic use.

The menu is confusing, as the different options for drinks aren’t very clear.  The different sizes, temperatures and milks aren’t evident. However, the workers are friendly and welcoming, happily answering any questions about the menu. 

The price for the “in-house” iced almond milk latte was $4.00. The same drink at starbucks is $2.80.  Comparatively, this drink is on the pricier side. This is the same price as the smallest size, however, it was a large glass.

There was a light sweet taste, most likely from the almond milk in addition to a soft hint of nuts. There was a strong coffee flavor but it wasn’t too overpowering. However, I wouldn’t recommend this drink to someone who minds the taste of coffee. 

After this visit, I decided to do the pick-up option so I could try another drink. One of their more popular drinks is the “Vanilla Lavender Latte”, costing $5.50 for a small (12oz) which is on the pricier side. 

This drink similarly had a light sweet taste, with elements of lavender, but not overpowering the drink as a whole. I did prefer this drink to the other as it is very unique and a change from the normal latte. It also is unique to Pink Owl Coffee, part of what makes this coffee shop so special.

Overall, I highly recommend Pink Owl Coffee. Although expensive with a confusing menu, the welcoming atmosphere and the delicious drinks make it worth the cost. It provides Marin with a unique coffee shop for all residents to enjoy. I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars.