Words by CJ Evangelista, SDCN North County Contributor.
Escondido, like much of North County, has some great places to experience craft coffee, and we hope this article helps to illuminate its coffee scene for those out on an adventure, passing through, or local to the area.
A gem tucked in downtown Escondido at 122 S. Kalmia Street, EscoGelato emphasizes the importance of community. This quaint space sources their ingredients like those avocados that go into their must-try Deedo panini to the eggs that go into their baked treats from other local businesses. They also locally source their coffee, using locally roasted beans from Zumbar Coffee in Sorrento Valley. Patrons may choose from any number of specialty treats. We recommend their famous honey lavender latte or an affogato (two shots of espresso poured over any gelato of your choosing), or both simultaneously because the struggle is real.
Blue Mug Coffee & Tea
Blue Mug Coffee & Tea is located at 1882 W. El Norte Parkway, Escondido, CA 92026. Upon entrance, you are immediately greeted by a gorgeous selection of beans from Santa Cruz Coffee, even a couple from Cafe Virtuoso in Barrio Logan. With an extensive pour over selection and specialty latte beverages, free wifi, and little brother approved chairs, the baristas encourage you to stay an hour or two.
Elixir Espresso & Wine Bar
One of four locations in San Diego County (two in La Jolla and one in downtown), Elixir Espresso & Wine Bar takes center court on the first floor of Westfield North County at 200 E. Rancho Parkway, Escondido, CA 92025. In addition to the craft coffee by Caffe Calabria, they house a fine selection of wine, because hey, it’s five o’clock somewhere. This location provides optimal post coffee consumption activities whether it’s to linger around people watching, or to shop until you drop in the three story indoor mall.
Kettle Coffee & Tea
In the heart of downtown Escondido, located at 119 E. Grand Avenue, thrives a third wave coffee shop that boasts its specialty in a multitude of brew methods ranging from the classic Chemex, to the Aeropress, to their San Diego Magazine recognized Kyoto cold brew. Kettle Coffee & Tea serves Klatch Coffee, a small batch, family owned specialty coffee roaster out of Los Angeles. If the red brick wall aesthetic isn’t enough to draw you in, maybe their open mic nights on Thursdays will. And on Fridays between the months of April and September when Cruisin' Grand is hosted along historic Grand Avenue, they extend their hours for those that wish to have their coffee fix later in the evening.
Sunny Side Kitchen
Big on hospitality, this cozy independent coffee cafe is located in downtown Escondido at 155 S. Orange Street. A true "Mom and Pop", Sunny Side Kitchen uses locally roasted beans that are sustainably sourced by Origen Coffee Roasters. We recommend their breakfast and lunch paninis made with freshly baked bread from Bread and Cie. A perfect pairing with a latte to go or to stay. If you work near downtown Escondido, or are just there for a walk-a-bout, this is a great place to grab a bite and a morning and afternoon pick-me-up. Try a Latte on ice for those warm days. Photo gallery by JP Henry.
Nestled just inside The Centre, located at 1205 Auto Park Way, Escondido, CA 92029, Culture Cafe serves James Coffee Co., a local roaster out of Little Italy. Culture Cafe offers an assortment of baked goods, pastry, sandwiches and salads. For something a little more substantial, you can take the glass elevator up a floor and enjoy signature California-style cuisine at Vintana, which also boasts a swanky vodka bar. The kids driving you mad? No problem. There's a great place to let them bounce off the walls while you find your center again over a cup of hand crafted espresso, or behind the wheel of a brand new Lexus. Hey, you gotta do what you gotta do. Sometimes you just need coffee, other times something stronger, and if that doesn't work, the soft leather interior of a luxury car. We don't judge. Photo gallery by JP Henry.
We will be working our way through each neighborhood in San Diego over the coming weeks to highlight all the great places to coffee. But don't feel you have to wait! You can find and fall in love with a new coffee shop every weekend with over 150 listed on our new interactive coffee MAP. If you think we've missed one in your neck of the woods, please write us at firstname.lastname@example.org
About CJ Evangelista:
San Diego born and raised, Starbucks Frappuccino indulgent turned cortado queen. Barista at Global Coffee Trading. Firm believer that brunch is the most important meal of the day. When not preparing drinks for her fellow caffeine crazed cats, she enjoys the specialty craft at other coffee shops, preferably with a Green-Tea-Black-Sesame donut from Nomad Donuts in the other hand. Follow her coffee exploits via #coffeewithCJ, or @celinieweenie on Instagram.