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Favorite (independent) coffee shop?

If you're going to say Starbucks, then OK, so be it.

But I'd like to hear some of the places people go to grab a cup of Joe and relax a bit, either with a laptop or one of those things they call "books".

My favorite is Upstart Crow in Seaport Village. Good coffee, cool vibe, friendly staff, fun events, and an eclectic selection of reading materials -- it's like a drop of serenity in the middle of Tourist Town USA.


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  1. During the day - Caffe Calabria
    Late Night (10pm+) - Rebecca's, Cafe Bassam, Claire de Lune, Chocolat

    1. I'll second Caffe Calabria.

      I used to frequent Twiggs (on Park, not the one on Adams) alot, but haven't been recently. They serve Caffe Calabria coffee,BTW. Or at least they were when I was stopping by regularly. They kind of have that shabby chic thing going on.

      Literally a block down Park from Twiggs is Lestat on Park. Used to be the ultra sterile Cream. Best coffee shop make over in SD. Lestats has turned a really cold and rundown spot into something fairly nice. It can get a bit noisy in the evening.

      One of the most unusual coffee spots has to be Jungle Java in OB. Part coffee shop, part garden shop, totally beach funky.

      1. Coffee + Staff + Setting = Bird Rock

        Panniken in LJ - gets absolutely packed, but cozy, friendly people, and a good selection

        Just for the setting, Turquoise Coffee - can't comment on too many experiences, but love the set up.

          1. In my neck of the woods - Coffee Corner. It's like the local Cheers - good coffee, great people, kitschy decor, and they know us there!

            For espresso - Nicole's pull at Zumbar.

            For espresso con panna and coffee close to work - Caffe Calabria.

            1. Bird Rock. Open air and spilling out to the sidewalk, crowds of local regulars. NYTimes on sale. Good enough coffee and service.

              1 Reply
              1. re: pickypicky

                2nd Bird Rock, a true cult following.

              2. Best Third-Wave coffee (super-light roasts, pourovers, etc.): Bird Rock Roasters. Coffee and Tea Collective is an upstart that's getting pretty good, and they're much more accessible if you're not in the La Jolla area.

                Best espresso: Zumbar (especially if Nicole is behind the bar). Nothing else is remotely close.

                Best place to bring a laptop: Calabria during the day, Lestats at night.

                Best place to read: Bird Rock if the weather is nice. Coffee and Tea Collective has a great vibe going as well.

                For coffee + (insert food): Calabria, hands down. Great pastries, incredible pizza in the evening.

                - Bird Rock Roasters does a free cupping event most Friday mornings, but you have to reserve a spot in advance.
                - Coffee and Tea Collective usually does a cupping or demo on Saturday afternoons.
                - I've heard that Calabria might be doing cuppings on Sunday now, but I haven't gone (Bird Rock and C&TC are much more third-wavey roasts, and thus imo more fun to cup).

                1. Petite Madeline in Oceanside. Bright sunny interior (lots of windows). Pastry and desserts made in house and good coffee.

                  Just had lunch with a friend there today.

                  Turkey, Brie,and pear chutney sandwich and coffee for me, Macaroon and Creme Brulee for her.

                  1. Definitely a toss up between Tabac on 3rd Avenue and G Street in downtown and Bassam on 5th Avenue and Redwood Street in Bankers Hill.

                    Both places serve good coffee, delicious sweets (especially Tabac) and excellent ambiance.

                    1. For Pour Overs (especially the chemex) Bird Rock

                      For espresso based drinks, Zumbar

                      1. perhaps only because it is on the way to my office but I like Influx in Little Italy; hate the parking in the Calabria neighborhood; like the place on 9th above Market; like Bassam

                        1. Bird Rock, though while not independent I simply love the staff at Peets in RP. Love their coffee as well.

                            1. Back in the mid to late 70's I was stationed at Moffett Field, south of San Francisco. Sunday morning was spent at the Upstart Crow (forget the town it was in...maybe Cupertino) and THAT was my idea of heaven...good coffee and Mimosas, eggs benedict, a string quartet, and a bookstore.

                              1. I don't know if a coffee cart counts but if it does I would choose daniel's coffee bean right by the prado restaurant in balboa park. The coffee is sufficiently good with arguably the best ambiance in all of san diego. The immediate small garden where it is or of course the park as well as the architecture of the nearby museums and such.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: polldeldiablo

                                  Interesting selection.

                                  No, WiFi ... but still interesting.

                                2. Toma Del Sol in Mission Hills is good, although in their infintite wisdom they are now turning it into a Sports Bar. Ugh.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Saabiar

                                    Maybe the sports bar will serve coffee?

                                  2. Cafe 1134 in Coronado. Good coffee and tea, free wifi. Food is pretty good too.

                                    1. Does anyone know of any hand poured coffee places? Along the same vein as blue bottle, phil'z, sightglass up in SF?

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: yanks26dmb

                                        Coffee & Tea Collective (which also roasts their own beans in-house), and Roast Coach (a stand in front of Sea Rocket Bistro) are both in that style. Both are in North Park.

                                        C&TC also has espresso drinks and at one point I was able to get a siphon coffee there though I'm not sure if they are really selling that or were just experimenting with that.

                                        On the more fun side of the border, Caffe Sospeso has multiple types of preparation (pour-over, siphon, espresso, maybe more, IIRC). Also notable in TJ is La Stazione -- I can't recall if they do pour-over but they certainly make delicious coffee.

                                        1. re: jayporter

                                          Big thumbs up for Caffe Sospeso. Delicious coffee. They are also one of the few places I've found locally that does AeroPress coffee

                                          You can also buy single orgin beans from all over the world; they also roast in-house. If your Spanish is good and you chat up the barista you can get all kinds of really interesting information about the coffee they serve and their in-house processes.

                                        2. re: yanks26dmb

                                          I used to love blue bottle and other such places that mainly do chemex but I found out last time I went to NYC that it's better to go to a place with high quality coffee that HAS the option of chemex(for an exorbitant amount). My personal experience while it may sound as if I was drunk or high which I wasn't, was when I had a Bolivian chemex at Stumptown and I swear to you, I tasted every element of the coffee and where it was grown as far as the neighboring plant influences of aroma and taste. Price tag non chemex was $3 bucks ish, chemex was $6+. Expensive but worth it for the experience.

                                          1. re: yanks26dmb

                                            Bird Rock Coffee Roasters in Bird Rock is the closest thing we have to BB/sightglass/ritual/etc down here.

                                              1. re: RachelinSanDiego

                                                Someone just told me Monica's on Adams just closed. Loved the back garden and iced tea there. Anyone know what the story is and if there is any chance that will reopen as a food/drink establishment?

                                              2. Red's Coffee on Rosecrans between Talbot and Canon in Point Loma. Good coffee, nice baked goods, other good food, friendly staff, mismatched furniture: the absolute non-Starbucks experience.

                                                1. Pappalecco--Little Italy, hands down.

                                                  I also like Brick and Bell in La Jolla.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: El Chevere

                                                    Pappalecco--Little Italy, hands down.

                                                    It's why they make good a affogato.