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Coffee & Tea Collective teams with a juicer

Place

Coffee & Tea Collective

2911 El Cajon Boulevard, San Diego

East Village continues to attract specialty coffee shops. On November 12, North Park’s third-wave torchbearer Coffee & Tea Collective announced it would be opening a second location in early 2015, at 631 Ninth Ave. Technically, C&T will only occupy half the space — it will be shared with Juice Saves, the recently opened cold-pressed juice bar by restaurant group Consortium Holdings.

Coffee & Tea Collective began small-batch roasting in 2010, initially serving their product at art and cultural events. Founder Daniel Holcomb and brand strategist Michael Spear met as classmates at Point Loma Nazarene. Their interest in coffee grew post-college in part due to visits to shops in San Francisco, where roasters such as Blue Bottle and Four Barrel were busy garnering national reputations for their approach to coffee sourcing and preparation.

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At that time, according to Spear, the two felt “There wasn’t a conversation about specialty coffee in San Diego.” So they bought a five-pound sample roaster and got to work, he jokes, “spreading the good news of the coffee gospel.” In 2012 they secured a small storefront on North Park’s El Cajon Boulevard, at 30th. They got a bigger roaster — a 25-pound San Franciscan — and brought in Stephen Freese to serve as head roaster.

Freese honed his roasting skills in a small town outside Topeka, Kansas. He keeps detailed notes throughout the roasting process to ensure quality and continuity, roasting in 16- to 18-pound batches — below the San Franciscan’s capacity — to maintain greater control over the variances in heat applied to roast the beans precisely.

C&T serves between six and nine single-origin varieties at a time, roasting twice per week to ensure their in-stock beans never age past a week to ten days.

The Boulevard shop occupies a blank white space, interrupted by occasional decorative accents, rotating artwork, and small shelves displaying coffee products for sale. There’s no overhead menu, which Spear understands can be “a little offputting” to the casual coffee drinker who comes through their doors. This is by design, he says, a prompt “to make customers engage.” He hopes customers will ask questions, so their baristas can talk about the coffee, maybe convince someone to approach coffee a different way. Say, to taste a latte without sweetening it first. The tricky thing, he adds, is to do this “without seeming condescending.”

They will maintain the same approach with the new East Village shop. The shared space will be conceptually split down the middle: juice to the right, coffee to the left. Separate staff, separate registers, even separate design elements.

Consortium Holdings will continue to enlist the design of Paul Basile, responsible for the distinctive look of CH restaurants, including Ironside and Polite Provisions. Coffee & Tea Collective will stick with Shawn Benson’s SIDEYARDprojects, who set up their first shop. Spear suggests the result may be reminiscent of the Batman villain Two-Face, but figures East Village residents will benefit from the unlikely pairing. “When you start off your day there are two beverages you go straight to,” he says. It may be interesting to see which has longer lines in the morning.

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Place

Coffee & Tea Collective

2911 El Cajon Boulevard, San Diego

East Village continues to attract specialty coffee shops. On November 12, North Park’s third-wave torchbearer Coffee & Tea Collective announced it would be opening a second location in early 2015, at 631 Ninth Ave. Technically, C&T will only occupy half the space — it will be shared with Juice Saves, the recently opened cold-pressed juice bar by restaurant group Consortium Holdings.

Coffee & Tea Collective began small-batch roasting in 2010, initially serving their product at art and cultural events. Founder Daniel Holcomb and brand strategist Michael Spear met as classmates at Point Loma Nazarene. Their interest in coffee grew post-college in part due to visits to shops in San Francisco, where roasters such as Blue Bottle and Four Barrel were busy garnering national reputations for their approach to coffee sourcing and preparation.

Sponsored
Sponsored

At that time, according to Spear, the two felt “There wasn’t a conversation about specialty coffee in San Diego.” So they bought a five-pound sample roaster and got to work, he jokes, “spreading the good news of the coffee gospel.” In 2012 they secured a small storefront on North Park’s El Cajon Boulevard, at 30th. They got a bigger roaster — a 25-pound San Franciscan — and brought in Stephen Freese to serve as head roaster.

Freese honed his roasting skills in a small town outside Topeka, Kansas. He keeps detailed notes throughout the roasting process to ensure quality and continuity, roasting in 16- to 18-pound batches — below the San Franciscan’s capacity — to maintain greater control over the variances in heat applied to roast the beans precisely.

C&T serves between six and nine single-origin varieties at a time, roasting twice per week to ensure their in-stock beans never age past a week to ten days.

The Boulevard shop occupies a blank white space, interrupted by occasional decorative accents, rotating artwork, and small shelves displaying coffee products for sale. There’s no overhead menu, which Spear understands can be “a little offputting” to the casual coffee drinker who comes through their doors. This is by design, he says, a prompt “to make customers engage.” He hopes customers will ask questions, so their baristas can talk about the coffee, maybe convince someone to approach coffee a different way. Say, to taste a latte without sweetening it first. The tricky thing, he adds, is to do this “without seeming condescending.”

They will maintain the same approach with the new East Village shop. The shared space will be conceptually split down the middle: juice to the right, coffee to the left. Separate staff, separate registers, even separate design elements.

Consortium Holdings will continue to enlist the design of Paul Basile, responsible for the distinctive look of CH restaurants, including Ironside and Polite Provisions. Coffee & Tea Collective will stick with Shawn Benson’s SIDEYARDprojects, who set up their first shop. Spear suggests the result may be reminiscent of the Batman villain Two-Face, but figures East Village residents will benefit from the unlikely pairing. “When you start off your day there are two beverages you go straight to,” he says. It may be interesting to see which has longer lines in the morning.

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