Re-discovering Free Soul Caffe (Orange County)


Several months ago my husband and I discovered Freesoulcaffe, a vegan coffee shop in historic Old Town Tustin. We loved the place, but were afraid to go back because of the fiasco we caused the last time we were there. Here’s what happened. We tied our dog to a patio chair and went inside to place our order. While waiting in line, a man rushed inside and shouted, “Your dog, your dog!”

I bolted out the door and saw Mambo running in circles in the middle of the street with the chair we tied him to bouncing on the ground behind him. Horrified, I ran to him. By the time I calmed him down; a crowd was watching us. Shaking from the trauma and wondering what had spooked him, I carried my urine-covered shaggy dog back to the coffee shop patio.

The employees were gracious about what happened, but I was shamed. Although the sandwich I’d ordered was delicious, I couldn’t wait to leave. I felt sure that right after we left an employee would put up a “no dogs allowed” sign. Thus, as much as I’ve wanted to go back to this shop, I haven’t.


Mambo, the shaggy culprit

This past Sunday, however; I was ready to return. While my husband and I got in the car with Mambo, I figured the worst thing that could happen was that we’d have to get our coffee to go.

As we walked into Freesoulcaffe’s lovely brick patio I didn’t see a “no dog” sign, so I sat at a table and asked Paul to order for me. I knew it was silly, but while I waited I worried that someone would come out from the shop and ask me to leave. After awhile, someone did come out. She looked like she might be the owner or manager and she came right up to me. Oh no!

“What a cute dog,” she said as she bent down to pet Mambo. “We love dogs here.”

I had a brief conversation with the woman, who was as nice as can be. Then Paul came out holding a number and sat down. “This brick courtyard reminds me of something you’d see in Boston,” he said.

I agreed with him as a woman brought out our mocha lattes in over-sized white mugs. I took a sip of my mocha and my eyes opened wide. I honestly think it’s the best one I’ve ever tasted. Then an employee brought out a muffin for Paul and a bowl of oatmeal for me.

My oatmeal was in a large ceramic bowl topped with beautifully presented fruit. I appreciated that they actually made their oatmeal instead of pouring hot water into a paper cup with sweetened instant oats at the bottom. I thoroughly enjoyed my breakfast and Paul loved his muffin as well.


So, if you haven’t already guessed, I’m now a huge fan of Freesoulcaffe. I love that they’re super friendly, have delicious food, a nice ambiance, outstanding coffee and on top of all this, that they’re vegan. I only have one complaint – I wish they were closer to where we live!


About celestedimilla

Hey there. I’m Celeste, California girl, writer, psychotherapist and burgeoning plant-based foodie.
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8 Responses to Re-discovering Free Soul Caffe (Orange County)

  1. Lorrie Wenzler says:

    The mocha latte and oatmeal look delicious. Did Mombo panic when he saw the restaurant and the chair?

  2. The mocha was fantastic! It’s amazing how different mochas can taste from different coffee shops. Sometimes they’re too sweet and sometimes they taste mostly like coffee. This one was just right. Yes, the oatmeal was good too. Thankfully, Mambo didn’t panic this time. Still, we won’t leave him outside alone like that at that restaurant again. I’m not sure what happened the last time. He’s usually fine when we leave him outside for a few minutes. Thank you so much for your comment – I appreciate it!

  3. bill says:

    is Mambo a vegan too?

    • Hey Bill!
      Funny you should ask. We looked into having Mambo go vegan and the info about it was confusing. I know several people who have vegan dogs, so I thought it would be okay for Mambo to go vegan. We tried it, and after a week or so he started throwing up everyday. It might have been the particular food we were feeding him and not the fact that he was vegan that was making him sick, but we started feeding him meat again. If anyone out there has a vegan dog that’s doign well, please share.

  4. Why didn’t you post a picture of the muffin? It was goo-ood!!

  5. Hi Sweetie! Nice of you to add your two cents. Anyway, I’m afraid that the muffin photos didn’t do it justice. I just posted the pretty photos – I can be so vain!

  6. Poppy says:

    Oh he’s gorgeous!! 🙂 And I love his name!

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