Best Coffee Shops In San Diego, California

Photo of Catrina Pang
20 November 2016

San Diego, California has embraced third-wave coffee craftsmanship, sourcing from local farms and serving up new techniques like pour-overs, siphoned coffee, and cold brewing. Here are the best coffee shops in San Diego.

© Nic Taylor/Flickr

Heartwork Coffee Bar

Located in San Diego’s beautiful Mission Hills Neighborhood, Heartwork Coffee Bar is committed to serving high-quality local coffee and baked goods. Run by three married couples with a passion for coffee, Heartwork makes a point of always showing their customers how much they care and helping them find a drink that best meets their tastes. The staff always makes the effort to get to know each person that walks through the door. They remember every regular, greeting them all personally. This quaint little coffee bar with neat skateboard art on the walls serves up amazing cold brews and lattes. Their almond milk is of the best quality. The honey and cinnamon latte is especially popular, the freshly baked pastries are delicious, and the outdoor seating is great for dog owners.

© David Foltz/Flickr

Caffé Calabria

Founder Arne Holt’s love for Italy and passion for quality coffee come together in Caffé Calabria, one of the finest coffee roasters on the West Coast. Holt tasted coffee all over the country, worked tirelessly for years, and made dozens of trips to Italy and millions of batches of coffee to bring the culinary art of coffee to San Diego. The company’s roasters do not rely on timers or one-push buttons to roast. Instead, each batch receives the full attention and care of the staff. The cafe’s baristas are trained in everything from espresso extraction to milk texturing, bringing visitors epicurean masterpieces. They make excellent Caffe Viennese, Mexican Mocha, and Chai Latte, and their sandwiches and Italian pizzas are also fantastic.

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Industrial Grind Coffee

Owned and operated by veterans, Industrial Grind Coffee is a funky little micro roaster and coffee shop located in Hillcrest on the corner of Park and University. Kathy and Barb, the owners, always dreamed of owning a coffee shop after their service in the military. In February 2011, they made that dream come true. They make everything from the espresso to the drink flavors to the gluten-free pastries in-house, and the shop has seating out front as well as a great indoor-outdoor area inside reminiscent of a wooden fort. The kind and welcoming staff make very creamy espressos with properly roasted organic and fair-trade whole bean as well as amazing house-made sugars and powders. The cold brew and the Lavender Whisper are favorite drinks, and the chocolate zucchini bread is a popular pastry.

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99 Cups of Coffee

If you are looking for a great place to get amazing coffees as well as delicious pastries and sandwiches to eat with them, 99 Cups of Coffee is one of the best places to go. The staff takes the time to make sure that each sandwich is delicately prepared, exhibiting robust flavors from ingredients that are wedged between some of the most delicious artisan-style fresh breads in town. They use Virtuoso beans in their popular cappuccinos, iced coffees, and mochas, which yield flavorful and smooth coffees. The adorable little shop is decorated with lots of wood, barrels, and vintage accents. It has both indoor and outdoor seating. They also have vinyls, and if you bring one of your own, you can get 50 cents off of your drink. The French Gourmet almond and chocolate croissants are favorites. Patrons also love the friendly owner, Broc, who is always working to improve and expand the shop.

© Richard/Flickr

Holsem Coffee

A shop with a comfortable and modern design, Holsem Coffee values fair-trade and ethical coffee sourcing, wholesome and pure ingredients, third-wave brew methods, and a high-design environment. They spare no expense to source the highest-grade beans from all over the globe. Offered daily are seven roasts like Yirgacheffe, Sidamo, and their own Holsem Blend. They also have a 15-tap system that pours a selection of cold brew on nitro. In addition, they offer 18 non-alcoholic blended, shaken, and mixed ‘coffee parlor cocktails’ like banana bread (cold brew, banana milk, cinnamon, honey) and lavender (dark chocolate, lavender confetti, milk). Everything is made from all-natural, house-made nut milks, malts, fruit purées, and syrups created with evaporated cane sugar.

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