Tinted Green

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Cool Coffee Shops to Visit in San Diego

travel, coffeeAlex HoodComment

Three days isn’t nearly enough time to explore all the great coffee San Diego has to offer but I made do with the time I had. Back in college, my friends and I were always on the lookout for the next cool, hipster, possibly third wave coffee shop we could try out. We’d spend hours reading up for class, writing, and procrastinating with personality quizzes.

Those years are what made me grow to love coffee shop culture and I do my best to incorporate local coffee to each and every trip I take. Like really, it's almost embarrassing how much time I spend looking up coffee shops and checking out their instagram profiles and the hashtags they use.

Since San Diego is such a big city (and county, really), consider this a tiny, mini-guide, I'm only covering the North Park, Liberty Station and Point Loma neighborhoods so it goes without saying that this by no means comprehensive. But all of these places are new to me and I wanted to share them with you in case you decide to check out all the coffee San Diego has to offer.

There are so many that I could probably spend an entire long weekend sitting in coffee shops and still not cover everything. If I missed out on a great spot, let me know! I plan to make it down to San Diego more than once every two years and I’d love recommendations!

Alright, now on to the highlight reel of my most recent San Diego coffee experience!

COMMUNAL COFFEE, North Park

Coffee and Flowers - outdoor sitting area at Communal Coffee/Native Poppy in North Park, San Diego

I somehow stumbled on Communal Coffee’s Instagram and was so excited to see a new (to me) coffee shop in North Park. There's a lot to like about this place! For one, it's a vignette dream. I want to share like every photo I took here. More importantly, it has good coffee. I ordered my standard drink, a latte, and thought it was delicious.

Had I been able to stay longer and hang out, I would have probably gone for the coffee flight tasting. The coffee flight concept got me. I think it's so cool and really centers the experience on the coffee instead of just the cool ambiance. If this is a new trend, I'm on board. Granted, my access to third wave coffee shops has been nonexistent for the last few years.

Interior seating at Communal Coffee shop in North Park, San Diego | Places to visit in San Diego

The last thing I'll say about Communal is they share a space with a florist (who I also weirdly found on insta!) Native Poppy. The arrangements are beautiful. I’m convinced I'd form a habit of buying weekly bouquets if I still lived in San Diego. I didn't get to go back this trip, but this place has definitely made it onto my “must visit” list for when I go back.

Location - The corner of University & Texas in North Park (2335 University Ave) || What I'd order - coffee Flight, any of the lattes || WEBSITE

DARK HORSE COFFEE, honorable mention

Dark Horse Coffee Roasters

Full disclosure: I've never set foot in any of the three (yeah, three!) San Diego locations so I can't tell you what the ambiance is like in any of those. What I can recommend is the coffee because it's damn good. I did hang out in the Dark Horse shop while in Truckee earlier this summer and thoroughly enjoyed the space and the coffee, so if the San Diego locations are anything like the Truckee one, you'll be in good hands.

Cold brew latte form Dark Horse Coffee shop

Locations - NORMAL HEIGHTS, 3260 Adams Ave. NORTH PARK, 3794 30th St. GOLDEN HILL, 811 25th St. || What I'd order - cold brew latte (it's delicious and amazing) || WEBSITE

BETTER BUZZED COFFEE, Point Loma

iced horchata latte from Better Buzzed coffee shop in Point Loma, San Diego | photo by Alex Hood for Tinted Green

After this roundup it should be no secret that I freaking love instagram (even though I wish they would quit messing with the algorithms, already). Anyway, I heard about Better Buzzed thanks to the instagrams of my college friends who live around/still attend PLNU. Since Brandon and I were headed to check out the campus for old time’s sake anyway, we made a quick stop at Better Buzzed to see what the...well, buzz...was about. I had the horchata iced latte and Brandon had an iced chai. I enjoyed the horchata latte but i did find it a taaaaad too sweet, which if I’m being honest, can happen to me when I’m drinking regular horchata. I guess I'm picky when it comes to my horchata? Go figure. I'd order it again, but maybe not towards the end of the day. It seems like more of a post-lunch dessert/coffee pick-me-up, if you get what I'm saying.

better buzz coffee sop in point loma, san diego

The space is also an instagram dream. I almost feel icky writing that...almost. Because it’s true! I got camera shy so I only snapped a couple shots, but just take a look at their instagram and you’ll see what I’m talking about. (if you scroll down a bit you'll also see a photo I took!)

Locations - 1480 Rosecrans in Point Loma, but also in Encinitas at 578 S. Coast Hwy 101 || What I’d order next time - Killer Bee, Mocha de Mexico, Cold Brew || WEBSITE

MONIKER GENERAL, Liberty Station

coffee bar at Moniker General in Liberty Station, San Diego 

I said it earlier and I’ll say it again: three days isn’t nearly enough time to enjoy my old favorite coffee shops and explore new ones. My body physically can’t consume that much caffeine. I get a big headache because I'm so hopped up on coffee that I forget to eat and I'm forced to stop drinking coffee. It’s a total shame and I’m currently thinking of starting a go fund me to find a scientific solution for this problem.

Moniker General is new-to-me and it was so...cool. As in the entire vibe of it was cool. Cool like the kid who's probably too cool for your friend group but you try to hang out with anyway and you have to keep reminding yourself:

I will stop using the word "cool" now.

a casual weekend travel outfit from my summer capsule wardrobe I wore while visiting San Diego.

It’s a multi-use space. On one end (where we entered) is a general store with a great selection of hip things to buy. From t shirts to ceramics, I could have stayed in there for hours. We were on a time crunch so we dashed straight to the back of the building where there are two bars. One for beer on the left and one for coffee on the right. Obviously we went to the right! The coffee was unsurprisingly good. I’m really digging the trend of good coffee and good design. I won’t be surprised if in 20 years my kids consider it weird that I took my coffee shop vibes so seriously, but for now, I think it’s fun.

Location - 2860 Sims Rd in Liberty Station || What I’d order - anything, but I got a hot latte when we visited || WEBSITE & THEIR INSTAGRAM

What’s your favorite coffee shop in San Diego? Is it a low key hole in the wall or a clearly designed hipster spot? Tell me all about it in a comment!