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Franchises and chains always tip their hand early. I actually think it has something to do with the way the design is free of error. It always seems like the place is laid out with an overarching vision that makes everything sync up perfectly, from the menu boards to the tables to the little caddies that hold condiments and stuff. It looks tailor-made. Curiously, the same could be said of very nice restaurants, where chic design firms plan out every detail of the dining room before construction begins and everything looks one-of-a-kind, but I’m pretty sure Bad Ass Coffee fits into the former category.

I had never seen the store before, probably because it is up in Rancho Penasquitos where I seldom find myself, but I’m always into checking out a new coffee shop, franchise or otherwise. I learned that the next nearest one in California is in Rancho Cucamonga. There are franchises all over the country, but they are very spread out. It has a cute, Hawaiian theme, allegedly paying homage to the bellowing donkeys of the Big Island’s coffee industry. Evoking the legends of some bad asses to imply that your coffee is truly badass.

I see what you did there!

Snark aside, Bad Ass Coffee is legit. The java is good. It’s strongly brewed, bold in flavor, but still very smooth. Better than ‘Bucks or low-grade indie coffee house brew, but not as good as the rad places like the Collective or the Art of Espresso. It’s also cheap. I bought a cup of coffee and a couple (OK but not great) cookies for under $3. It doesn’t take a mathematician to figure out that paying less for your daily coffee generates staggering savings in a very short time. Don’t go expecting a cup of Kona coffee, however, because even the “Hawaiian blend” has only 10% Hawaiian coffee in it. The company doesn’t hide the fact, I just don’t want to raise any false hopes.

I'm not super into sugary, iced coffee drinks, but I had to give it up for the extensive set of flavors and combos that Bad Ass offered. Not really for me, but

Another admirable gesture was the little sink by the cream and sugar station. “Liquids,” read the label. It was obviously for pouring off excess coffee, rather than into the trash or a pan, and I have to say that it strongly appealed to my sense of “doing things properly.” Kudos.

None

Last point of advantage for Bad Ass: they have a drive-thru window. Quite the godsend for people on the go, I’m sure.

9878 Carmel Mountain Road
858-240-7077

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