Being A San Diego native, and having lived from Oceanside down to Imperial Beach, I’ve been around the coffee block a bit in this big city.
San Diego has some great coffee shops with amazing coffee and great ambiance.
You have plenty of options for an awesome coffee experience in San Diego.
Of course, this is a site that gives tricks, tips and information to make the best coffee you can right at home.
I love talking about coffee and coffee products to help you become the best barista you can be. But, we can all get cabin fever!
Sometimes we just have to get out and pay a little extra money for the great experience we get at a coffee shop.
Plus, at least a few of these sell their own delicious, quality coffee you can make for your home-brewed coffee.
Whether you’re a San Diego native like me, or you’re just visiting and want some recommendations, here’s the list of my four personal favorites (with plenty of runners-up at the end).
I’m considering everything from the price, coffee quality, and the overall experience/vibe.
In no particular order, here’s what I think are the best coffee shops in San Diego…
Bird Rock Coffee Roasters
Bird Rock is an award-winning coffee shop, and as the name says, also a roastery.
The name Bird Rock comes from its original location in one of the most beautiful areas of San Diego: La Jolla. The vibe here is laid back, artsy, slightly surfer feel.
They currently have six locations in San Diego county. If you’ve ever been to Bird Rock, it should be hard for it not to be on your list of favorites, too.
Not only is their coffee amazing, but they have a nice sitting area, with a cozy inside and large windows that open for you to sit on wooden benches and enjoy the fresh air and the view, or just people watching.
They feature art, and have live events and music, and they have a pour-over bar. You can also see their roaster on site.
It can be a crowded place at the La Jolla location, and sometimes there’s not much available seating because the inside seating area is a bit small.
But in my opinion, whether you can find seating there or have to take your coffee for a walk, you can never go wrong with Bird Rock’s delicious coffee!
Pannikin Coffee & Tea
With four locations in San Diego, the original location being in Encinitas, Pannikin is a unique experience with great coffee.
One thing I love about Pannikin is the ambiance.
They’re style inside the shops is more vintage, rustic, and eclectic. It will definitely be a more homey experience when you visit Pannikin.
For me, the ambiance makes it a great place to go and meet with someone for a while.
Plus, they’re in-store made food is delicious! All their baked goods are baked in house daily. Any food you order from their menu will not disappoint.
They also roast their coffee on site, and when you walk downstairs you can take a look at the roaster.
In my honest opinion, it’s maybe not the very top-notch coffee on my list, but it’s still delicious.
In terms of the whole experience you get from Pannikin, the great coffee and they’re awesome food menu, it ranks in the top 4 on my list and I love to frequent this cozy, eclectic place.
Lofty Coffee Co.
Not only does the name almost rhyme… but their coffee is lofty on my list so it definitely works for me.
With five locations in San Diego, they just make flat out amazing coffee.
And they’re not even totally hipster. Ok silly jokes aside, everything about Lofty Coffee just screams quality, their drinks are superb. They also sell their own coffee beans for purchase.
The vibe at Lofty Coffee is modern and hip.
I’m not sure what else to say about Lofty other than just saying once again that any coffee beverage you get there will taste delicious!
All the ingredients and all their coffee itself are top quality and it shines through as you sip on it.
I highly recommend purchasing their coffee beans for your home-brewed coffee.
Lofty really knows how to do coffee, and their beans are a bit pricey, but there certainly is a reason for it and I can almost guarantee you’ll love it.
Better Buzz Coffee
An appealing name, and clever, punny sayings make Better Buzz a fun coffee shop to visit.
One thing I enjoy is the ambiance at Better Buzz, it’s really an enjoyable place to go to and like I said in the first sentence… it’s just, fun.
It’s almost a glam feel to it, and the baristas are friendly and good at keeping that fun atmosphere.
It’s a pretty hip place, and with 10 locations all across San Diego county, it’s really catching on.
Also, you probably won’t be too far away from at least one of them wherever you are in the county. I love the fact that they focus on quality coffee, but they don’t take themselves too seriously.
Also, they seem to be pretty focused on the buzz, as the name implies. Who doesn’t like that!? It’s an energetic hangout spot with great coffee.
With these four coffee shops, I think we’ve covered some pretty good ground from the coffee to the whole atmosphere and experience.
Keep in mind, I haven’t been to every coffee shop in San Diego! These are my personal recommendations and they have become coffee shops that I myself frequent. They’re all great!
Now, with that being said, here are the many runners-up:
- Holsem Coffee
- Dark Horse Coffee Roasters
- James Coffee Co
- Communal Coffee
- The Grounds Bean Bar
- The Living Room
I haven’t been to some of these or I might have written about them. But when I go, maybe I’ll make another list of coffee shops in San Diego that I love.
I hope this was helpful and if you have any comments, questions, or opinions about these shops from my list, or the runners-up, let me know! Go out and enjoy the coffee crawl in this gorgeous city.