Ken Leighton 7:59 a.m., May 22
Only a small circular sign on the glass door announces the presence of Café Virtuoso on National Avenue. Even that is easy to overlook if you’re not keeping an eye out for it. Right inside the door, however, you’re greeted with 2400 square feet of organic coffee and tea.
A couple hundred of those square feet and a few small tables are dedicated to the café itself, making it clear that selling cups of coffee was an afterthought. As it turns out, the company has been roasting and bagging coffee in this location for about five years. They sell approximately 30 different coffees and 20-something teas and move about 2000 pounds of coffee per week. The small company counts Barona and Sycuan casinos among its wholesale customers.
The café has been around for about two years.
They don’t have a ton of food items, just a few bagels, muffins, and biscotti.
But they have coffee galore. I ordered an iced coffee ($3.25), which was cold brewed (a process by which they sit the coffee in cold filtered water for 12 to 24 hours) and strong. My first thought after I gave it a taste was, Now, THAT’S coffee.
The blueberry bagel ($1.75 plus 25 cents for cream cheese) I got to go with it was soft and fresh.
Although the café is tiny, it’s pleasant. They have free WiFi and trance music that made my headphones unnecessary. The large industrial warehouse windows let in a ton of light, and I had the place to myself for the most part.
If you can’t make it to Barrio Logan, you can find Café Virtuoso at the Little Italy Farmers Market every Saturday.