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caffe calabria

A Tour of San Diego's 30th Street Coffee Corridor

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A Tour of San Diego's 30th Street Coffee Corridor

Photo by Raymond Reyes

Photo by Raymond Reyes

Words by Raymond Reyes

Dark Horse Coffee Roasters

Opened: Feb. 2015

Roaster: not on-site.

On 3794 30th St, Dark Horse Coffee Roasters expanded their territory into North Park, sharing a space with Waypoint Public. The café is small, but the coffees pack a big punch. Dark Horse focuses on the highest quality, whether it’s the beans, their crew, or their collabs. They offer vegan donuts daily and cold brew ice cream on weekends. Recently, Dark Horse partnered with Coffee & Tea Collective, Copa Vida, James Coffee Company, and Bean Bar on a San Diego “Dis-loyalty” Card, made to encourage the exploration of San Diego’s many coffee roasters. Be sure to pick one up at Dark Horse’s three San Diego locations, or any of the participating roasters, before supply runs out.

Photo by Raymond Reyes

Photo by Raymond Reyes

Holsem Coffee

Opened: May 2015

Roaster: on-site roasting.

Whether it’s the quality ingredients or the flawless interior, something will bring you back into Holsem Coffee.  Located in the heart of North Park, 2911 University Ave, Holsem’s patio is the perfect place for people-watching. The baristas are skilled and exceptional, sometimes offering to pour a rosetta into your latte. Without sacrificing quality or purity, you’ll want to try every drink on Holsem’s menu.

Photo by Julie Rings

Photo by Julie Rings

Caffe Calabria

Opened: April 2001

Roaster: on-site roasting.

From espresso to pizza to soccer to wine, these italian favorites live in harmony in Caffe Calabria. Caffe Calabria is a 15 year-old North Park fixture at 3933 30th St. During the day, Calabria is a local-favorite workplace. By night, the wood burning oven is fired-up and the coffee is replaced with wine. Whatever your drink of choice, Caffe Calabria provides an ideal atmosphere.

Photo by Jared Armijo-Wardle

Photo by Jared Armijo-Wardle

Young Hickory

Opened: Sept. 2013

Cafe: Brews Bird Rock Coffee, and is currently collaborating for three-year anniversary specialty roast.

It’s hard to resist a place that paints “Hot Coffee Cold Beer” on its wall. That’s what Young Hickory, on 4096 30th St., will offer. The hot coffee comes from Bird Rock Coffee Roaster, with whom they’re collaborating for their third anniversary specialty roast later this month. On display is their variety of cold coffees, many of which are local, craft brews. With plenty of seats, outlets, and Wi-Fi, they have you covered for an hour or two.

Photo by Julie Rings

Photo by Julie Rings

Coffee & Tea Collective

Opened: July 2012

Roaster: on-site.

Coffee & Tea Collective, 2911 El Cajon Blvd, uses just an ampersand (&) to mark its store. This flagship site boasts a knowledgeable staff and serves as its main roastery and tasting room. Coffee & Tea take coffee to a new level from beginning to end, starting with roasting complex and cohesive flavors to crafting your beverage. Its crisp, white walls are often loaned to local artists for small art shows. Sharing a passion, along with providing great coffee, is what Coffee & Tea Collective does best.

Photo via  nomaddonuts.com

Photo via nomaddonuts.com

Nomad Donuts

Opened: Dec. 2014

Donut & Coffee Shop: Previously brewed Zumbar, now collaborates with Global Coffee Trading on its specialty roast.

If you're feeling more adventurous with your appetite, wander over to Nomad Donuts, on 4504 30th St in North Park. Nomad takes tastes and flavors from around the world and incorporates them into their pastries and coffees. Their menu changes daily but it’s not hard to find something for everybody. Collaborating with Global Coffee Trading in Sorrento Valley, Nomad is no stranger to local business partnerships. It shouldn't surprise you to find one of their products in a brewery or restaurant. The space is decorated with vintage maps and offers a limited dog-friendly seating area where all are welcome.

Find more local coffee shops on our online MAP. Just click on a neighborhood, and we'll show you where to go.


About the Author

San Diego native, lifelong musician. Always in search of the next great cup of coffee or record spin. Find out where my adventures have taken me via Instagram: @hi_im_raymond.

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July's Roast of The Month: Caffe Calabria's Calabria Blend

Words by Jessica Percifield. Photos by Julie Rings.

Caffe Calabria, San Diego's signature Italian style cafe, is the origin of July's Roast of the month shared with SD Coffee Club subscribers earlier this month. The Calabria Blend is also used as the cafe's espresso iced coffee boasting a balance of coffees from Sumatra, Kenya, Colombia, Costa Rica, and Ethiopia.

Ken Rauen, Lead Barista and Wholesale Trainer at Caffe Calabria, kindly met up with us to share a cup via the aeropress, which is quickly becoming a ubiquitous favorite for home brewing and a new pour over method offered in specialty coffee cafes across the US.

As Rauen carefully grinds and measures the coffee to water ratio, he praises the aeropress for being so user friendly. As long as you dial in the grind size, you generally can't muck it up. He also likes that the aeropress seems to enhance the "Heavier syrupy flavors" of the Calabria Blend.

For those enjoying at home or in the cafe, the Calabria Blend is known for tasting notes of chocolate, vanilla, a low bearing sweetness deriving a bit of acidity from Ethiopia and earthiness from Sumatra.

For those who have traveled Europe and have fond memories of sipping espresso and eating pastry, Caffe Calabria, is definitely your staycation coffee destination.

Like so many local Roasters, Caffe Calabria also offers a new loose leaf organic tea line that is also sure to please. We sampled their Scottish Pu-Erh with its caramel earthy butterscotch notes and swooned. A crowd pleaser and a lovely tea coffee lovers can love. We had a chance to fill our senses with a few other teas that blew us away, so we definitely encourage checking out their tea offerings next time you're in the cafe.

If you'd like to discover what's being roasted around San Diego each month, visit the SD Coffee Club and subscribe. Gift subscriptions are also available. Until next time! Drink Local. Drink Often. And happy coffee-ing San Diego!

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Treat Yourself San Diego: A Shopping Guide for Coffee Lovers

Written by Pablo Lara, SDCN Staff Writer

Photos provided by Jose Lopez.

Some people think shopping can be as uneventful as brewing a cup of coffee. I refuse to think accordingly. I love shopping and brewing coffee is as eventful to me as a Karl Lagerfeld runway. As most coffee lovers understand, brewing coffee at home can become a cherished ritual. Therefore selecting the right tools for brewing is just as important as taking the time to find that special bag of coffee. San Diego has hidden spots where shopping for home brewing equipment can translate into a delightful experience. 

The following five places have been selected because of their well stocked retail, unique merchandise, great service and fun environment for that retail therapy over-caffeinated individuals deserve. 

Cafe Moto:

This San Diego roaster is a local institution. The minute you walk into their retail section you will encounter a vintage industrial tea mixer, shipyard windows and a 1930's Jabez Burns & Sons roaster. Retail experts, Marisa and Bucky,  will guide you through the three aisle, 400 sq. ft. retail space. 

At Moto you will be able to find an extensive selection of coffee brewing equipment, including Hario plastic, glass and ceramic V60 cones, metal and plastic pour-over stands, syphons and all the filters necessary for Hario equipment including the syphons.

Moto also carries Chemex brewers in three different sizes and the coveted reusable stainless steel Chemex filter. You can also invest in a Baratza grinder, maybe you will be starting out with the Encore or going all out with the Virtuoso. For the San Diego weather nothing beats a batch of home made Toddy, and here at Moto you can find the home Toddy system for $34.95. 

The standout piece for me was the elegant Yama water dripper, for cold brew priced at $235.

Yama Dripper at Cafe Moto

Yama Dripper at Cafe Moto

Walk out with your new toys and enjoy a delicious single origin Papua New Guinea cappuccino made with care by Adriana, or any of Cafe Moto's friendly Baristas.

Lofty, Encinitas Roasting Works

The recently opened roasting facility of Lofty Coffee Co. hosts a luxurious retail shelf with carefully selected brewing equipment. Espro French Presses share space with Hario Electric Kettles, V60 Arm Stands, and a gorgeous Hario Water Dripper. But the beauty queen at Lofty has to be the Buono, a beautiful Hario copper kettle with wood detail priced at $170. 

Lofty's owner, Eric, told me that he patiently awaited the arrival of the Buono kettles directly from Japan. They are a great complement to his Modbar as-well. And while you gaze through the gorgeous selection of retail, sip a cup of Lofty's dry processed Aricha, Ethiopia great through a V60. 

Cafe Virtuoso

Home of the Amaro Gayo and those velvety cortados, Cafe Virtuoso has recently expanded their retail selection after much demand from its devoted customers. This Barrio Logan roaster now carries Baratza grinders (both Virtuoso and Encore), glass V60 Drippers, Hario Beehive Decanters, Hario scales, the Aero-press, Hario's V60 Iced Coffee Maker, and a simple yet eye-catching Olive Wood Pour-Over Stand also by Hario. 

Virtuoso also offers electric kettles by Bonavita and stove tops in two sizes from Hario. And if you want to add extra sweetness to your organic Bali they carry a  great selection of organic Monin syrups too!

Williams-Sonoma

Fashion Valley's Williams-Sonoma might not be a roaster, but it landed a spot on this list because of its great selection of brewing equipment. Also, it is pretty convenient to pick up some bamboo filters on your way to Prada a few stores down.

This store carries Fullcircle cleaning supplies for your coffee machine, Breville “smart” coffee grinders, the hard to find re-usable Hario coffee filters, the classic Chemex and my personal favorite, the MoccaMaster by Technivorm! If you are going to invest in an automatic coffee maker this bad boy from the Netherlands will make you a Gold Cup Standard brew every morning in a classic mid-century design. 

Caffe Calabria

Another San Diego institution, Caffe Calabria provides home brewers with a great retail selection accompanied by a delicious Viennese. While walking back to their retail area you can catch a glimpse into their green coffee room, the vault  reminds us of the building's past as a Bank of America. 

Lindsey can answer all your questions and give you plenty of brewing tips with her enchanting charisma. Calabria carries both the plastic and olive wood Hario pour-stands, Chemex, Bodum french presses, Aero-press, Hario scales and glass V60 cones. 

Coffee & Tea Collective

The retail shelves at Coffee & Tea Collective may be small, however they have all the tools necessary to home brew their delicious coffee. Want to brew their chocolatey Malawi at home? Well these guys have the wood collar Chemex, AWS 2kg Scales, the Hario Kerton Grinder, V60 filters and Hario ceramic cones and glass decanters. Their branded d'Ancap cups made with Italian porcelain go great with that wood collar Chemex don't you think? Owner, Daniel, gave us a heads up on new canteens coming soon!

Balance your checkbooks and make yourself that much deserved cup of coffee. Did you decide on a Chemex? Or an Aero-press? No matter what you purchase, supporting your local roaster allows their passionate and knowledgeable staff to do what they love. As for Williams-Sonoma, well, shopping for Italian shoes and Dutch coffee makers sure sounds like an excellent time.

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