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The Better Buzz “Coffee Lab” in Mission Beach is yet another entrant in the melee of next-level coffee purveyors. They boast pour overs and “Kyoto drip,” the excruciatingly slow preparation of room-temperature coffee over hours and hours. The descriptor “single-origin” sees moderate usage. Of course, there’s plenty of the requisite glassware: retorts, test tubes, beakers, and alembics of all sorts for making the production of coffee as difficult as possible.

I snark...but I’m actually into exhaustive coffee preparations.

And they have a normal espresso machine, too, which gets put to plenty of good use. They’ve got the absolute gall to advertise the “best drink ever” (a sweetened, creamy Americano), but I have to give it up to them, it was a fine cup of coffee.

I liked the look of the Lab, too. Somehow, the designers managed to capture the appeal of “bee hive” without things getting weird. It’s that tricky mix of tasteful and adorable, like a Gucci’d-out Hello Kitty, only with more wood working.

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Ok, maybe that doesn’t make any sense whatsoever, but I still think they got the interior design just right on the Lab. It’s cute, it’s classy, and it’s a little bit organic. I stand by my crazy simile.

Probably the nicest thing about the Lab is that nobody working there came off as snooty or otherwise entitled. I didn’t get any sense of superiority, which can turn off a lot of potential customers. I think a little degree of humility in the arena of alterna-coffee is a good thing, especially as haute caffeine becomes increasingly normative. Everybody’s welcome. The more the merrier. Better buzz seems to get that by taking a more lighthearted approach to otherwise deathly serious java.

3745 Mission Boulevard
858-488-0400
Open daily 7-7

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