San Diego’s Essential Coffee Shops

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Ah, coffee, the essential elixir that gets us through those early mornings, dragging evenings, and late nights. Nowadays, it seems like there’s a Starbucks on every corner, but there’s something special about the smaller cafe-style coffee shops that stand out to the caffeine connoisseurs that big name coffee places can’t stand up to. San Diego is home to a flourishing craft coffee community, brewing the very best in specialty coffee drinks, espresso, and good old fashioned cups of java. Here are the essential coffee shops in San Diego you have try out, if you haven’t already.coffee

Perks Coffee House – San Marcos

This upscale cafe is reminiscent of the 70’s with an interior decorated with art work, rock-n-roll influences and Swarovski crystal chandeliers. The whole place definitely has a retro-vibe that will have you strangely relaxed, ready to enjoy your drinks. Speaking of which, their Nitro and Turbo cold brew are to die for, and they flow freely on tap. Other standout coffee drinks include their Perk Up, an espresso and hot coffee that will get the gears turning real quick. For those who prefer tea, Perks has a wide selection of them, including their incredible White Coconut Creme tea and their Peach Passion. Along with a fantastic drink menu, they have a full food menu, including some delicious breakfast options.

Krakatoa – Golden Hill

Krakatoa is unique in that it constructed out a remodeled home, with a wraparound deck that extends around most of the exterior. This means ample seating for you and you friend to enjoy the nice sunny San Diego weather. Krakatoa has the usual coffee offerings, including espresso-based drinks and the ubiquitous iced coffee, but they also have several original drinks. Their Smoky Mocha is an espresso brewed with tea leaves, steamed milk, chocolate, and a special spice mix that gives it an extra kick. Another great choice is there Orange Blossom Latte, consisting of espresso with some fresh orange peel, over ice and kissed with a touch of jasmine syrup.

Bird Rock Coffee Roasters

serving up superb coffee sourced from sustainable vendors since 2006, Bird Rock Coffee Roasters has won several high-profile awards for their coffee. For all you coffee beans nerds who like the most wide selection for their cup of java, this is the place to go. At Bird Rock, drinking coffee is a complete experience, with comfortable seating and a chill vibe that puts all the focus on the brew. Not only are you going to get an excellent cup of coffee, you can sit easy knowing that all of the beans were acquired through fair trade with coffee bean growers all around the world.

Better Buzz – Throughout San Diego

Better Buzz is chain of local coffee shops, but don’t let the word ‘chain’ fool you. Better Buzz has been on the top of the coffee shop scene in San Diego for some time. There are several locations all throughout San Diego, with a brand new two-story shop in Hillcrest. With over 20 unique drink options, one you’ll have to try is the Best Drink Ever. Is it? It very well could be. Their Mint Mocha Latte is another fantastic option, seamlessly blending chocolate and creme de menthe to create a perfect handcrafted coffee beverage.

The Forum Coffee House – Kearny Mesa

This place takes crafted coffee drinks to the next level, serving up some of the most stunning looking in all of San Diego. Some of the drinks on their menu include rose-infused white chocolate mochas, lavender-infused espresso, and a slew of cold brew concoctions that will have you doing flips by the time you’ve finished them. The drink you have to order is The Code Black, which is a Kenyan cold brew pumped up with nitrogen giving it that extra kick and delicious foam on the top.

James Coffee Co. – Little Italy

This unique location inhabits a hangar style building that has a pretty neat industrial vibe perfect for some coffee shop chillin. With plenty of seating and lightning fast Wi-Fi, you’ll find it the perfect place to hangout. here you’ll find plenty of high-quality coffee options, hailing from single-origin beans each roasted with deliberate care.

Holsem Coffee – North Park

If you’re looking for trendy coffee shops, Holsem Coffee should be T the top of your list. At Holsem, they’re all about “coffee evolved,” where everything from ingredients to design and service converge to bring you the finest experience. The Nutella Latte is one thing on the menu you absolutely have to try.

Philz Coffee – Encinitas, La Jolla, Del Mar

Specializing in Turkish-style pour overs, Philz Coffee is no stranger to providing quality coffee to its customers. Here you won’t find any lattes, cappuccinos, espresso, or pre-brewed coffee – each cup is brewed specially for each customer. Each drink is sourced from single-origin beans, and are crafted with great care and perfection. In addition, Philz takes pride in maintaining the highest standards in ethical coffee bean sourcing.

Moniker Coffee Company – Liberty Station

The people behind Moniker Coffee Company have a common goal behind their coffee: providing the fuel for your busy life. Whether it being that extra needed boost in the evening or the jumpstart for your creativity, you’ll find a great cup of coffee here. With a list of quality drinks including espressos, corditos, and macchiatos, this is a great spot to get your coffee fix.

The Westbean Coffee Roasters – Liberty Market & Bankers Hill

There’s a reason you’ll often find a line of people waiting for coffee here. Westbean has quickly grown into one of the premier coffee shops in San Diego. From single origin coffees to top tier espresso, each drink is handcrafted by skilled baristas each made to specific flavor profiles. You need to try out the Kryptonite, a cold brew coffee infused with mint and a touch of brown sugar for sweetness.

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