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Best Coffee in San Diego

san diego coffee sceneBrandon Hernández explores San Diego’s world-class beer and cocktail scenes in the July/August 2012 issue, and where beer and cocktails are taken seriously, it’s a good bet that coffee also gets the royal treatment. This is increasingly true of San Diego’s growing coffee culture. Here’s a sampling of the beach town’s best bets for coffee and tea that’s totally tubular.

Bird Rock Coffee Roasters

Named the 2012 Micro Roaster of the Year by Roast Magazine, this beachside coffee roaster and retail shop is leading the charge for specialty coffee in San Diego. With a direct-trade model and a commitment to quality in the cup, Bird Rock has put San Diego on the national coffee map. 5627 La Jolla Boulevard, La Jolla; 858-551-1707;


Caffé Calabria

Carrying the craft coffee torch in San Diego for more than 15 years, Caffé Calabria is a pillar of the local coffee scene, with a reputation for quality that makes its North Park café one of the city’s most popular. 3933 30th St.; 619-291-1759;


Café Virtuoso

With a focus on sustainability, Virtuoso features only organic, fair-trade coffees, and it’s also one of San Diego’s top spots for cold-brewed iced coffee. 1616 National Ave.; 619-550-1830;


Café Moto

With local roots going back to 1968, the folks behind local this roaster promote themselves first as coffee drinkers and second as coffee sellers, with the motto, “We drink all we can—the rest we sell.” This passion has translated to the beans and the cup, earning an ever-growing local following. 2619 National Ave.; 619-239-6686;


Elixir Espresso Bar

Espresso is the main event at this eye-catching Italian-style coffee bar. It’s tucked into the white-tiled lobby of the historic Marston Building, a circa-1881 Italianate Victorian edifice that once served as a department store, then a bank. 427 C St.; 619-696-6242;


Brickyard Coffee & Tea

A local favorite for al fresco breakfasts, impeccable coffee, espresso and tea, and a laidback, dog-friendly attitude, this café is a great place to sit and watch the trolley go by. 675 W. G St.; 619-696-7220


Toma Sol Café

With beans from Café Moto and a commitment to sustainability and friendly service, it’s no wonder this Hillcrest café has become a local institution. 301 W. Washington St.; 619-291-1159;


Better Buzz Coffee

A local alternative to national coffee chains, this San Diego-born roaster and coffee shop franchise is several locations strong, but it’s managed to maintain its commitment to quality, including freshly roasted single-origin beans. Multiple locations;


Ryan Bros.

This quirky, family-owned local roaster has earned a reputation for friendliness, and its airy, industrial-chic Barrio Logan coffeehouse draws adventurous locals and out-of-town visitors alike. 1894 Main St.; 619-546-6314;


Halcyon Tea

If you don’t drink tea, this South Park tea shop might change your mind—and if you do drink tea, you may never want to leave. With a staunch commitment to eco- and socially conscious practices and an excellent selection of leaves and teaware, this clean, inviting retail space puts a fresh spin on tea. 3009 Beech St.; 619-450-4224;

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