While Seattle has long dominated the coffee culture scene and held onto its “Coffee Capital of the U.S.” title (more on that, here), San Diego is an emerging coffee city moving up in the ranks. If you find yourself stationed in San Diego, do yourself a favor and try one of more than a dozen independently-owned and locally-roasted shops.
Here’s three great coffee shops to start with:
James Coffee Co.
James Coffee Co. might be our favorite coffee shop, especially to buy beans from. They sell 1kg bags and I think my husband bought 3 of those to last through his most recent deployment! His favorite is the Night Owl blend. I recently tried the Honduras and was a big fan. We use a V60 pour over at home to get the best flavor out of these. For most days we use beans from our trade subscription, and save our James coffee for sharing together on the weekend. James does have their own subscription though and we have seriously been considering switching to that! James is also big on sustainability – recently switched to serving their coffee in reusable mason jars.
When Better Buzz put in a drive thru location on Rosecrans St. it quickly became a favorite among submariners on their way to work. They are up to about 12 locations now, many of which have drive throughs! When San Diego remained in HPCON Charlie for nearly a year, with no in-person dining allowed, drive throughs make it easy to enjoy a fresh roast on the go.
Trident Coffee just opened a new location on Orange Ave. in Coronado. Imperial Beach is their original location, and their canned beverages can be found at many grocery and convenience stores throughout the San Diego area. In their ‘tap rooms’ you can try a variety of different roasts as a nitro cold brew. I first tried their “Damn the Torpedoes” dark roast, and it was so good! As someone who puts French vanilla creamer in everything, this coffee is fine on its own – smooth and slightly sweet. Another favorite of mine is the “Calm Under Pressure” – as a chocolate fiend, this roast infused with cacao nibs hits the spot.
There are so many more coffee shops in San Diego I have not tried! It is hard to not want to keep to the tried and true. What are some of your favorites?