By Allison Mitchell By Allison Mitchell | November 28, 2023 | Food & Drink Feature Eat Resto to Socialize Brunch Drink Features Food & Drink Featured Food & Drink Feature Community Guide Restaurants Guides
Whether you're looking for a local roaster, specially curated blend or even a coffee cocktail, here are the 12 best coffee shops in San Diego.
Visit Better Buzz Coffee Roasters 18 shops throughout San Diego. PHOTO COURTESY OF DANIEL GREIG
Better Buzz Coffee Roasters
Certified by the CCOF (California Certified Organic Farmers) as an organic coffee roaster, Better Buzz Coffee is committed to its mission to source fair trade and Rainforest Alliance coffees. With 18 shops across San Diego, its popular creations include both the hot and iced versions of its Best Drink Ever (a classic Americano mixed with the brand's signature creamy vanilla) and its Hazelnut Divinity (a white chocolate mocha with a touch of hazelnut). Order a bacon ciabatta sandwich stacked with spicy chipotle aioli, eggs, bacon and Muenster cheese to complete your morning delight.
As its slogan says, Bird Rock Coffee Roasters is "empowered by great coffee." With 10 locations across San Diego, this homegrown coffee empire is known for its sustainable and ethical sourcing. To get your caffeine kick, order the Daily Double, a secret menu item featuring two cappucinos in one cup.
This chic hangout has redefined slow roasting since its debut in 2010, offering coffee lovers single-origin beans and blends roasted right here in San Diego. Don’t miss the pour-over coffees and cold brews—they’re worth the wait.
Haven by Communal recently launched its coffee bar and complimentary co-working space in North Park. PHOTO BY LET'S FROLIC TOGETHER
Communal owner Jen Byard charms her customers with cafe concepts that function as flower shops, retail stores, event spaces and more at her four San Diego locations. Opt for a latte flight to enjoy your choice of two sips in flavors such as vanilla bean, honey lavender and salted caramel.
Copa Vida aims to make ordering coffee a true experience, from the ambiance of its shops to the service of its team members. Try a warm cup of classic coffee or an iced Shakerato (two double shots of espresso sweetened with agave and shaken with iced milk).
Since 2013, Dark Horse Coffee Roasters has been satiating coffee cravings for San Diegans at its seven local shops, the latest of which is tucked in the Southwest terminal at San Diego International Airport. Wake up your senses with The Champ (espresso, steamed milk, honey and cinnamon) or its Cold Brew on Nitro featuring a splash of its homemade vanilla bean syrup.
This North Park favorite describes its brand as “coffee evolved, where the quality of coffee and the purity of ingredients converge with high design for a wholesome mix of excitement and energy.” That translates to fair-trade coffee that is ethically sourced from rotating seasonal coffee origins with no preservatives, colors or additives. “Holsem is about the next generation of coffee brewing and preparation,” says co-founder and roaster Salpi Sleiman. “Now that customers have experienced quality, the question is ‘now what?’ Holsem answers this question in one of the most exciting ways I’ve seen.”
Almond croissants and delicious drinks await at Invita Café's two San Diego locations. PHOTO COURTESY OF BRAND
With locations in Rancho Santa Fe and Carlsbad, Invita Café is bringing a taste of Italy to San Diego's coffee scene. Lattes, macchiatos and cappucinos featuring premium organic milk and cream from Straus Family Creamery and are served alongside delicious toasts, salads, sandwiches and more. Don't miss the signature tiramisu latte.
The coffee curators at this Encinitas hot spot traverse the globe to source the best beans for their thoughtfully curated libations, which have been recognized domestically and internationally. Purchase a coffee subscription through its website to support this veteran-owned small business.
Crafted coffee is paired with fresh, housemade goods such as nut milks, juices, breads and pastries at Lofty Coffee Co. Sign up for its coffee subscription (with your choice of coffee, quantity and frequency) to bring Lofty Coffee straight from the farm to your doorstep.
Talitha Coffee is the brand evolution of the former Cafe Virtuoso, a self-described "people-first coffee roasting company," where purchases support survivors of sex trafficking. “Unveiling our new identity and introducing an online shopping experience represents our progress and metamorphosis as a growing company,” says co-founder Jenny Barber. “We believe in connecting people through the universal language of coffee, and this new chapter will enable us to share our carefully crafted blends and single-origin beans, while also widening our reach in facilitating positive change.” Visit the feel-good shop for its award-winning sips on National Avenue in Downtown San Diego.
The new Revolution Roasters outpost at The Cottages in Carlsbad; PHOTO BY KIMBERLY MOTOS
This quaint brewshop in Oceanside, which just opened its second location at The Cottages in Carlsbad, prides itself on creating a friendly coffee community. Pick up its globally sourced blends that are deliciously served hot, cold, as a pour-over, in drip style and more.