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Illini
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Sep 2007
Posts: 1
Location: San Diego
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri Sep 14, 2007, 1:53am
Subject: San Diego Espresso
 

I've been slowly learning the world of coffee (and especially quality espresso) slowly over the past few years.  After three years of living in San Diego and trying many of the 300+ coffee shops, I've sadly realized that only a VERY small handful of places have well-trained baristas.  Whenever San Diego espresso is discussed, Caffe Calabria is always mentioned (with good reason).  But there are a couple of other shops that go unnoticed, and should be tried by anyone looking for an alternative in a city that is flooded with bad coffee!  Here is my list for good espresso, quality microfoam, latte art, etc.  It's unbelievable that there are only 3+ quality locations in a city this size!  Any input that others have would be excellent.

  • Caffe Calabria -  30th St., North Park

  • Elixir -  427 C St.  Outstanding downtown location with consistent, quality espresso.  The barista that I met (can't remember her name) was very enthusiastic about espresso (and equally frustrated with the San Diego coffee scene).  Closes at 5pm.  

  • Village Coffee - 10415 San Diego Mission Road.  Knowledgeable and skilled baristas, great service, quality coffee roasted on site.  Still relatively unknown, but definitely worth a try!

  • Caffe Italia - 1704 India St. in Little Italy.  I've only tried espresso here a couple of times, and results have been inconsistent.  Both milk-based drinks I've had have been excellent (w/ perfect latte art), but straight espresso shots have been average to good at best.  With the quality of their lattes, affogato, etc, my guess is that I just happened to have espresso on off days.  Caffe Italia is not at the same level as the other three mentioned, but in a city with limited options it was definitely worth mentioning.  


AND THAT'S IT!  Hard to believe that there are hundreds that fall into the poor to mediocre range.  
Are there any that I have missed???
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iginfect
Senior Member
iginfect
Joined: 8 Dec 2003
Posts: 346
Location: herkimer new york
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: vetrano
Grinder: versalab m3
Vac Pot: yama 5 cup
Drip: melior french press
Roaster: hot top kn-8828p
Posted Fri Sep 14, 2007, 5:00am
Subject: Re: San Diego Espresso
 

Several years ago I attended a professional conference at the downtown Convention Center and stayed at a hotel across the street from a roaster. I had to be be at the Center just before 7 a.m. and never got to try the roaster who was closed at that hour. At the end of the day I was all caffeined out to have more at the roaster. Unfortuneately,  I neither remember the name of the hotel, roaster or street. It was a 5 minute walk away. My first a.m. coffee was at a char$. This year the conference is back in S.D. and I will be there earlier and will find and try this roaster and bring a pour over with me. Any comments on the roaster?

Marvin
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mike_p
Senior Member


Joined: 31 Jul 2007
Posts: 13
Location: San Diego, CA
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia w.PID
Grinder: Super Jolly, Bodum Antigua
Drip: Bodum Press
Posted Thu Sep 20, 2007, 10:49pm
Subject: Re: San Diego Espresso
 

Cafe Calabria and Elixir are the only two coffee shops that make decent espresso. Elixir actually closes at 3pm, but it's a great place to visit if you work downtown. They consistently pull good shots. The reason it's an oasis in a city of bad coffee shops is because they use Calabria coffee and are trained by Arnie, who runs Calabria.

Gelato Vera makes a decent shot as well (they also use Calabria coffee), and have delicious Gelato to compliment your shot. They are located on 3753 India St. north of Little Italy.

For drip coffee, I have been pleased with Java Jones, which has a roasting facility in Downtown (but I don't have a refined palate for drip).
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joesonthenose
Senior Member
joesonthenose
Joined: 8 Jan 2008
Posts: 5
Location: San Diego
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Elektra Moderne 2 Group
Grinder: Mazzer Mini
Vac Pot: Curtis Lever x ?
Drip: Bunn
Posted Tue Jan 8, 2008, 10:26am
Subject: Re: San Diego Espresso
 

There are other choices in town.

Bird Rock Coffee Roasters, in La Jolla. And yes, they use a La Marzocco.
http://www.birdrockcoffeeroasters.com

My mobile shop- Joes on the Nose
http://www.joesonthenose.com

I use Bird Rock's espresso and coffee. We both believe in artisan coffee. Bird Rock's retail and roaster location is on La Jolla Blvd, a block from the ocean, and the Joes on the Nose orange organic coffee mobile runs all over San Diego.

I agree that Calabria trains well and has a great location. I suggest trying another place to see what you think.

Thanks.

David
Joes on the Nose
http://www.joesonthenose.com
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SDA
Senior Member
SDA
Joined: 21 Dec 2007
Posts: 7
Location: San Diego
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Tue Jan 8, 2008, 4:48pm
Subject: Re: San Diego Espresso
 

I work at a new cafe on the UCSD campus in La Jolla called Perks, located in the Price Center bookstore.  We're still working out the kinks, but we're using beans from Barefoot Coffee Roasters in Santa Clara.  We're without demitasse, unfortunately, but will be getting some soon.

Come visit us and demand good espresso and we will do our best.
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mike_p
Senior Member


Joined: 31 Jul 2007
Posts: 13
Location: San Diego, CA
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia w.PID
Grinder: Super Jolly, Bodum Antigua
Drip: Bodum Press
Posted Tue Jan 8, 2008, 5:16pm
Subject: Re: San Diego Espresso
 

SDA Said:

I work at a new cafe on the UCSD campus in La Jolla called Perks, located in the Price Center bookstore.  We're still working out the kinks, but we're using beans from Barefoot Coffee Roasters in Santa Clara.  We're without demitasse, unfortunately, but will be getting some soon.

Come visit us and demand good espresso and we will do our best.

Posted January 8, 2008 link

Hi SDA,

Just a couple of quick questions:

-What are your hours?
-When do you expect demitasse cups?
-Do you sell whole bean bags of Barefoot?

Thanks for the heads up. I am looking forward to placing my demands.



To David,

I expect to do the same at Joes on the Nose and at Bird Rock as well.


-Michael
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MarshallF
Senior Member
MarshallF
Joined: 1 Jun 2003
Posts: 810
Location: Los Angeles
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: LM GS/3 MP
Grinder: Mahlkonig ProM; Baratza...
Vac Pot: Hario Nouveau, Bodum ESantos
Drip: Clever Dripper
Posted Wed Jan 9, 2008, 11:02am
Subject: Re: San Diego Espresso
 

Thanks for the tips. There will be a lot of coffee people in your town next week for the Fancy Foods Show at the Convention Center. I'll try to make it to Elixir.
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SDA
Senior Member
SDA
Joined: 21 Dec 2007
Posts: 7
Location: San Diego
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Sun Jan 20, 2008, 9:02pm
Subject: Re: San Diego Espresso
 

The hours are M-F 7a-9p, Sa 9a-7p and Su noon to 6.

I've been expecting demitasse for months now, but it seems things change slowly here.

Yes, we can sell whole beans, just ask.

Cheers,

-K
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joesonthenose
Senior Member
joesonthenose
Joined: 8 Jan 2008
Posts: 5
Location: San Diego
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Elektra Moderne 2 Group
Grinder: Mazzer Mini
Vac Pot: Curtis Lever x ?
Drip: Bunn
Posted Tue Jan 29, 2008, 11:02pm
Subject: Re: San Diego Espresso
 

Hi Michael,

Sorry it took so long to reply, but please come by Bird Rock Coffee Roasters or the Joes on the Nose orange coffee mobile. The Bird Rock Coffee Roasters Bar is open 6A - 6P M-F, and 6:30A - 6P Sa-Su. They offer two espressos every day- their organic espresso blend as well as a single origin espresso, which changes daily. Joes on the Nose coffee wagon arrives at area events. Saturday and Sunday mornings it is found at farmer's markets- Saturday morning up in Scripps Ranch, Sunday mornings at the Gaslamp Farmer's Market on 3rd and J. Please check my website for more info: http://www.joesonthenose.com

Both locations sell beans by the pound. The Joes on the Nose truck sells its own organic Orange Truck blend. Buy one pound and get a free drip coffee. The Bird Rock Coffee Roasters location (on La Jolla Blvd, in Bird Rock) offers a wide range of coffees by the pound. Right now they have a Rwandan and a Sumatra that are both phenomenal- and certified organic. Demitasse cups are always available at Joes on the Nose as well as Bird Rock.

Thanks a lot! Good luck in tracking down a good cup. Bird Rock also offers public cuppings once a month.
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benvh
Senior Member
benvh
Joined: 31 Mar 2007
Posts: 20
Location: San Diego
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: La Pavoni Professional
Grinder: Rancilio Rocky
Vac Pot: Hario TCA-5, Bodum Santos,...
Drip: Beehouse drippers, Meloir...
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Tue Feb 5, 2008, 2:32pm
Subject: Re: San Diego Espresso
 

I've been in San Diego for almost three years now and I'm glad I'm not the only one dissatisfied with the state of coffee in this city. I've been trying to figure out why finding good coffee/espresso is so difficult here. Is it the weather? Do you think it's because everyone likes the 32oz bladder buster sugar waters that Starbucks provides? They always seem to be busy. I've always been keen on the idea of opening my own shop and it seems like San Diego is ripe with with possibility - I'm just not sure if that's what people want here.
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