Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Third wave breaks in Bird Rock

Place

Bird Rock Coffee Roasters

5627 La Jolla Boulevard, San Diego

I drink coffee every day.

I probably don’t even drink water every day, or beer, or any other important beverages. But coffee gets the call, rain or shine. For a time I was content to get coffee from whichever shop was closest. But too many burnt beans and weak brews have prompted me to embrace so-called Third Wave coffee spots. These post-Starbucks places favor single-origin, locally roasted beans, made by the cup using Japanese pour-over methods to ensure perfectly consistent brews that show off each coffee’s flavor profile.

It’s an artisanal approach to coffee that has been gaining momentum in San Diego. It’s propelled by a growing number of local roasters and coffee bars catering to everyday drinkers who possess increasingly refined palates. In craft-beer terms, it’s like putting down the Budweiser and picking up an Alesmith IPA.

This is why I recently drove 20 minutes to Bird Rock for coffee. If there’s a local coffee equivalent to Alesmith Brewing, it’s probably the south La Jolla micro-roaster hailed by the coffee-industry press as being among the best in the nation.

Bird Rock Coffee Roasters (5627 La Jolla Boulevard) has been around since 2002, when owner Chuck Patton started selling home-roasted beans at the La Jolla farmers’ market. For years he roasted beans procured the old-fashioned way: through a broker. However, about seven years ago he initiated the process that sets Bird Rock apart, when he took a trip to buy beans in Colombia. In the years since, Patton says he has made more than 35 trips throughout Central and South America and Africa to purchase coffee directly from the source. It’s ambitious work for a micro, but by setting up direct-trade agreements, Bird Rock can offer single-origin beans that taste like nothing else in town.

It also gives Patton a chance to sample product. He can see where or how the coffee is growing, try to pinpoint which estate produces better flavors or fewer impurities. Some farmers in Patton’s network even reserve hand-picked crops for Bird Rock. Why is origin so interesting to coffee aficionados? Because, while blending beans from multiple sources may mask impurities, it also obscures the delicate, distinguishing flavors that allow us to characterize a coffee as tasting good in the first place.

Listen in on a serious coffee-cupping (tasting) in action and you might mistake it for a wine-tasting. You’ll hear poetic descriptions of body and acidity, the invocation of fruit, and plenty of swishing and spitting. Another term you might hear is terroir. The French word for referring to a wine’s local character has been adopted by coffee enthusiasts. What was the soil like? Which other plants were growing nearby? Such things influence flavor enough that having answers to the questions significantly impacts how you roast the bean, which greatly impacts the way that tastes.

Place

Caffe Calabria Coffee Roasters

3933 30th Street, San Diego

A couple of years ago, Patton brought on Heather Brisson, previously of Caffé Calabria (3933 30th Street, North Park), to take over as head roaster. Heather’s first task is to identify the needs of each batch. She draws on experience to coax the right balance of flavor and body from each varietal, based on color, density, and how the coffee cherry was processed.

She, Patton, and the rest of their cupping team gather frequently to taste new beans roasted in a 1920s-era cast-iron roaster that sits in Patton’s office. They sip and discuss and come to a consensus what the beans have to offer, at what temperature they might best be roasted, and for how long, in order to bring out those subtle differences single-origin coffee drinkers seek.

Enjoyment is subjective, and even a regular Bird Rock customer might occasionally come across a batch that doesn’t suit his or her taste, like the single-malt scotch drinker who finds the vaunted Laphroaig too peaty to drink.

Someone accustomed to Dunkin Donuts coffee might not recognize or appreciate some of the flavors that come across in Bird Rock beans. However, Patton is banking on the idea that San Diego coffee drinkers are acquiring a taste for single-origin coffee. He plans to expand roasting operations into a larger facility near Mission Bay. Bird Rock will also open a pour-over coffee bar in Little Italy this fall, adding to an upswell of third-wave coffee shops that continue to pop up in central neighborhoods. If nothing else, this growing trend will ensure coffee addicts like yours truly will find it easier to regard ourselves as connoisseurs without having to drive across town for a caffeine fix.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

The unsinkable Linda Broyles

“I mean, when they said I couldn’t go home, I could see Coronado!”
Next Article

The unsinkable Linda Broyles

“I mean, when they said I couldn’t go home, I could see Coronado!”
Place

Bird Rock Coffee Roasters

5627 La Jolla Boulevard, San Diego

I drink coffee every day.

I probably don’t even drink water every day, or beer, or any other important beverages. But coffee gets the call, rain or shine. For a time I was content to get coffee from whichever shop was closest. But too many burnt beans and weak brews have prompted me to embrace so-called Third Wave coffee spots. These post-Starbucks places favor single-origin, locally roasted beans, made by the cup using Japanese pour-over methods to ensure perfectly consistent brews that show off each coffee’s flavor profile.

It’s an artisanal approach to coffee that has been gaining momentum in San Diego. It’s propelled by a growing number of local roasters and coffee bars catering to everyday drinkers who possess increasingly refined palates. In craft-beer terms, it’s like putting down the Budweiser and picking up an Alesmith IPA.

This is why I recently drove 20 minutes to Bird Rock for coffee. If there’s a local coffee equivalent to Alesmith Brewing, it’s probably the south La Jolla micro-roaster hailed by the coffee-industry press as being among the best in the nation.

Bird Rock Coffee Roasters (5627 La Jolla Boulevard) has been around since 2002, when owner Chuck Patton started selling home-roasted beans at the La Jolla farmers’ market. For years he roasted beans procured the old-fashioned way: through a broker. However, about seven years ago he initiated the process that sets Bird Rock apart, when he took a trip to buy beans in Colombia. In the years since, Patton says he has made more than 35 trips throughout Central and South America and Africa to purchase coffee directly from the source. It’s ambitious work for a micro, but by setting up direct-trade agreements, Bird Rock can offer single-origin beans that taste like nothing else in town.

It also gives Patton a chance to sample product. He can see where or how the coffee is growing, try to pinpoint which estate produces better flavors or fewer impurities. Some farmers in Patton’s network even reserve hand-picked crops for Bird Rock. Why is origin so interesting to coffee aficionados? Because, while blending beans from multiple sources may mask impurities, it also obscures the delicate, distinguishing flavors that allow us to characterize a coffee as tasting good in the first place.

Listen in on a serious coffee-cupping (tasting) in action and you might mistake it for a wine-tasting. You’ll hear poetic descriptions of body and acidity, the invocation of fruit, and plenty of swishing and spitting. Another term you might hear is terroir. The French word for referring to a wine’s local character has been adopted by coffee enthusiasts. What was the soil like? Which other plants were growing nearby? Such things influence flavor enough that having answers to the questions significantly impacts how you roast the bean, which greatly impacts the way that tastes.

Place

Caffe Calabria Coffee Roasters

3933 30th Street, San Diego

A couple of years ago, Patton brought on Heather Brisson, previously of Caffé Calabria (3933 30th Street, North Park), to take over as head roaster. Heather’s first task is to identify the needs of each batch. She draws on experience to coax the right balance of flavor and body from each varietal, based on color, density, and how the coffee cherry was processed.

She, Patton, and the rest of their cupping team gather frequently to taste new beans roasted in a 1920s-era cast-iron roaster that sits in Patton’s office. They sip and discuss and come to a consensus what the beans have to offer, at what temperature they might best be roasted, and for how long, in order to bring out those subtle differences single-origin coffee drinkers seek.

Enjoyment is subjective, and even a regular Bird Rock customer might occasionally come across a batch that doesn’t suit his or her taste, like the single-malt scotch drinker who finds the vaunted Laphroaig too peaty to drink.

Someone accustomed to Dunkin Donuts coffee might not recognize or appreciate some of the flavors that come across in Bird Rock beans. However, Patton is banking on the idea that San Diego coffee drinkers are acquiring a taste for single-origin coffee. He plans to expand roasting operations into a larger facility near Mission Bay. Bird Rock will also open a pour-over coffee bar in Little Italy this fall, adding to an upswell of third-wave coffee shops that continue to pop up in central neighborhoods. If nothing else, this growing trend will ensure coffee addicts like yours truly will find it easier to regard ourselves as connoisseurs without having to drive across town for a caffeine fix.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Jorge Hank's wealthy nephew heads for White House dinner

Tijuana billionaire's relative an AMLO invite
Next Article

The Tobacconist: Stogie story

His job is to sell pleasure and desire, cigars “hand-rolled tenderly by beautiful women on their thighs.”
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close