The school year is officially in full swing and I am officially exhausted. Even though I’m swimming in a sea of assignments and I can’t keep any of my group projects straight, I’m not drowning just yet; I have my Chemex and daily caffeine fix to keep me afloat (apologies if you’re a V60 aficionado).
I’ll admit it: I’m completely wired and co-dependent and have no regrets at all. And even though I have three unfinished bags of coffee sitting in my apartment waiting to be steeped, those are old and less deserving of my love, so my insatiable urge to go buy a cup somewhere else remains. I know some of you feel the same.
So whether you’re looking to do some late night studying or early morning journaling, there’s a shop in San Diego for you. Here’s a breakdown of 9 of my favorite coffee shops for UCSD students on campus and in the greater San Diego area.
Location: Normal Heights.
Known For: 24 hour service and their Snickers iced mocha.
Ambiance: Your eccentric uncle’s dimly lit living room (Not to be confused with The Living Room).
Benefits: Three locations open 24 hours a day, a great place (or horrific place) to cram all night before an exam.
Drawbacks: Dingy, kind of stuffy and some of their chairs are uncomfortable.
Global Coffee Trading
Location: Sorrento Valley.
Known For: On site roasting and cupping.
Ambiance: Relaxed living room.
Benefits: Knowledgeable staff for those who want to learn more about roasting, brewing, and tasting.
Drawbacks: Very upper echelon and may be a bit intimidating for the average coffee drinker.
Location: Solana Beach Design District.
Known for: Their salted caramel latte.
Ambiance: Outdoor seating with a mixed flair of industrial and organic.
Benefits: Right next to Solana Beach Transit Center, a convenient stop before taking the train ride to LA.
Drawbacks: No outlets and not great for long-term studying.
Coffee & Tea Collective
Location: North Park / Downtown.
Known For: Being incredibly pretentious in the best of ways.
Ambiance: Minimalist decor, good lighting, monochromatic.
Benefits: Nobody will judge when you’re reading Virginia Woolf for fun.
Drawbacks: Outlets are minimal.
Art of Espresso
Location: Mandeville Center.
Known For: Their Spun Monkey and brewed Bird Rock Coffee.
Ambiance: Hip anti-establishment outdoor coffee cart that is inescapably still part of the campus establishment.
Benefits: Batch brew is all self pay and self serve.
Drawbacks: Pastries often sell out and sometimes you have to make awkward eye contact with a former professor.
Muir Woods Coffee House
Location: Muir College (duh).
Known For: Being the Central Perk of UCSD and having comfy chairs.
Ambiance: Incredibly amiable and warm.
Benefits: The place to get work done on campus if you need a break from the stuffiness of the library.
Drawbacks: So very, very, very busy.
Location: Geisel Library.
Known For: Being named after Dr. Seuss’ wife.
Ambiance: Modern ambiance mixed with with the unmistakable sadness of still being inside Geisel.
Benefits: It’s a coffee shop in Geisel.
Drawbacks: It’s a coffee shop in Geisel.
Bird Rock Coffee Roasters
Location: La Jolla.
Known For: Locally roasted light roasts.
Ambiance: Open seating, ocean breeze, surfer dudes.
Benefits: Easily accessible by bus (take the 30) and super cool windowsill seating.
Drawbacks: Minimal seating and they close off most of it an hour before closing.
Location: North Park.
Known For: Friendly staff, social atmosphere, and their house flavored latte flight.
Ambiance: Imagine if Pinterest and an open storefront had a lovechild.
Benefits: Lots of natural light, making this is the perfect place for daytime musing and studying.
Drawbacks: A bit far from campus and despite having lot of seating it’s usually pretty busy.
Extra Pro Tip: Never buy coffee at Perks.
I know this list is in no way comprehensive (If I listed every great coffee shop in San Diego this list could go on forever), but hopefully this gives a taste for a few of the shops in the area. If you have a favorite shop that’s not listed, leave it in the comments below!
Curtis Yee is a coffee snob in training and the Student Life Editor for The Triton.