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Published on February 5th, 2013 | by Ashley Shafer


Top 10 Best Coffee Shops in San Diego

To all my fellow coffee addicts, I gift you this thoughtful compilation. Many hours of intense study and sipping went into the creation of this list. It was a hard job, but I was honored to do it. Here it is San Diego, your Top 10 Best Coffee Shops.

*No Ranking. Coffee shops are listed in no particular order* 

Cafe Bassam San Diego EatSD

#1 Cafe Bassam, Bankers Hill

Like transporting back to the 1920s when piano bars and saloons were the shiz. This vintage-inspired spot reminds you of grandpa’s tales and silent films.

3088 5th Ave.
San Diego, CA 92103

Pappalecco San Diego EatSD#2 Pappalecco, Little Italy

The cherished project of Italian brothers and home to the most underrated delicacy known to man (or at least to EatSD)—the affogato, shots of espresso draped delicately over creamy and rich gelato. Molto bene!

1602 State Street
San Diego, CA 92101

Caffe Calabria San Diego EatSD#3 Caffe Calabria, North Park

Another delicious adventure with Italian roots. You’ve probably seen Caffe Calabria’s fine roasted beans take over coffee pots and market shelves all over San Diego.

3933 30th Street
San Diego, CA 92104

Cafe Mono San Diego EatSD Ghost Busters#4 Cafe Mono, Mission Beach

What cultured coffee snob doesn’t want a little art with their latte? Café Mono is the place to find cool foam art—even a bunny may appear in your mug! Pair your frothy beverage with a hearty acai bowl, topped with fresh berries and granola.

3833 Mission Blvd
San Diego, CA 92109

Lestats Coffee House San Diego EatSD#5 Lestat’s Coffee House, Normal Heights

It’s open 24 hours and has abundant plush couches and over-sized Victorian chairs. Exhibiting diverse art and hosting nightly performances at its next door concert venue, Lestat’s is an art/music/coffee/hangout nucleus.

3343 Adams Avenue
San Diego, CA 92116

Better Buzz San Diego EatSD#6 Better Buzz, Pacific Beach

Home to the Best Drink Ever. No really, that’s its name. In layman’s terms, it’s a Vanilla Americano. Very strong, sweet and absolutely delicious. It can only be described as “the best dri…”—ya, you get it.

1909 Garnet Ave.
San Diego, CA 92109

Espresso Mio San Diego EatSD#7 Espresso Mio, Mission Hills

Hidden on a quiet neighborhood street, this cozy coffee shop has a refined interior and one very special nook—a back outdoor patio that overlooks a small canyon. It’s the perfect place for sipping their tasty French Vanilla Latte and enjoying some quiet time.

1920 Fort Stockton Dr
San Diego, CA 92103

Influx San Diego EatSD#8 Influx, Little Italy

The sort of place that makes you feel more sophisticated than you really are. Influx serves up a taste of modern design, divine blended espresso drinks and killer sandwiches on soft focaccia bread.

750 West Fir Street
San Diego, CA 92101

Rebeccas Coffee San Diego EatSD#9 Rebecca’s, South Park

Scones, scones, scones. I know, this is supposed to be about coffee, and I won’t neglect the fact that they make my favorite cup in South Park, but it gets so much better when you pair it with a fluffy, steamy scone in awe-inspiring flavors like banana chai or pear ginger and homemade strawberry jam.

3015 Juniper Street
San Diego, CA 92104

The Living Room San Diego EatSD#10 The Living Room, La Jolla

Saltwater breeze, ocean views…and now serving hookah? Did we mention a full bar? ‘Nuff said.

1010 Prospect Street
La Jolla, CA 92037


About the Author

is a self-proclaimed coffee connoisseur and proud “foodie”. She has made consuming/writing about food and coffee her favorite pastime. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Biola University, where she wrote restaurant reviews for her school newspaper. She has brewed up frothy goodness at three different coffee shops and currently works in the communications industry. LinkedIn | Twitter

15 Responses to Top 10 Best Coffee Shops in San Diego

  1. Brian says:

    Perfect timing. We’re owners of a coffee roaster in AZ and are hauling the whole fam damly to SD Sunday for o week. We always spend as much time as possible visiting some local coffee shops. Thanks for saving us the time and disappointment.

  2. josh says:

    Good little article…but you failed to mention the best macro roaster in the country for 2012. Birdrock Coffee roasters does a fantastic job!

    keep up the good work Ashley.

  3. Brian says:

    how ’bout Zumbar in sorrento valley? best coffee north of the 8 for sure!

  4. Janell says:

    Coffee and Tea Collective in North Park should be on the list..

  5. David says:

    Mystic Mocha in University Heights has the best soy chai latte I’ve ever tasted!

  6. MHH says:

    This list is a joke.

  7. Kevin says:

    Almost none of these shops roast their own beans. How can the 10 best coffee shops in the 8th largest city in the country not roast their own beans. Either we are coffee poor or this is a bad list.

    • Rob Deason says:

      Right on, Kevin. I’m a home roaster and I was looking around for green beans here in San Diego and came across your post. I can’t imagine a coffee shop touted the best if it doesn’t have a monster roaster tucked away in the back room, and coffee aficionados sitting in a circle each morning cupping the day’s coffees.

      • Rachel says:

        Definitly would say Holsem (north park), Birdrock (little italy), James coffee (little Italy), Heartwork (Hillcrest), and coffee & tea collective (downtown). I believe most roast their own beans.

    • Ashley says:

      Hi Kevin: You’re absolutely right! My list has changed so much now, but this article was written in 2013, so many of the big contenders weren’t around yet.

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