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What's brewing in the local bean scene

Coffee presence warms up

The Local Coffee Corner at Barons Market North Park features beans from five local coffee roasters.
The Local Coffee Corner at Barons Market North Park features beans from five local coffee roasters.

Coffee Barons

Place

Barons Market

3231 East University Avenue, San Diego

With the opening of its seventh store in North Park last month, regional grocery chain Barons Market introduced a new concept it calls the Local Coffee Corner. A dedicated display at the end of the chips aisle features a small selection of beans from five county roasters.

Vice president of marketing Rachel Shemirani says Barons was approached by each of the local brands in the months leading up to the new store’s opening. “Bringing local coffee is a brand new thing for us,” she says, noting the coffee previously sold at Barons have been widely distributed brands such as Illy Coffee, based in Italy.

Each of the local roasters presented coffee at Barons’ weekly food-panel meeting, where products are evaluated for taste, ingredients, packaging, price, and the question, “Would you buy it again?” Shemirani notes, “Of the 80 to 100 items we try every week, about 5 or 6 make it through.” All five roasters presented such “shelf-ready” products that members of the Barons team were divided across the board.

Consequently, all five made the cut: Manzanita Roasting out of Rancho Bernardo, Mostra Coffee from Carmel Mountain, Golden Hill’s Dark Horse Coffee, Point Loma’s Swell Coffee, and North Park’s own Dane Coffee Roasters. Shemirani adds that, should the coffee corner perform well in North Park, Barons will replicate the model throughout its other stores.

Coffee brothers

Further north, 3 Local Brothers — the hospitality group behind the Urge gastropubs and Mason Ale Works brewery — has also taken a first step into specialty coffee with the launch of its Mason Coffee Works coffee bar.

Place

Brother's Provisions

16451 Bernardo Center Drive, San Diego

The counter is housed inside its Brothers Provisions gourmet foods and bottle shop, which recently doubled in size thanks to an expansion that also added a full kitchen, wood-fired pizza oven, sustainable meat and seafood selections, and takeaway fare.

Co-owner Zachary Higson says the coffee component has been planned for years but fell to the wayside as he and his partners focused on opening restaurants, breweries, and a planned bowling alley. While the new brand may expand into production, Higson maintains, “Right now we’re just showcasing quality coffee. We’re using Bird Rock as our featured roaster [including a custom blend], and we’re focused on making Mason Coffee a quality experience.”

Coffee carnival

Beer festivals have become commonplace in San Diego, but coffee festivals still turn up at a slow drip. Enter the Carnival of Caffeination, a coffee and coffee-beer fest Modern Times Beer hosts February 11th at its new Point Loma events space dubbed the Fortress of Raditude (3612 Kurtz Street.)

In addition to Modern Times’ coffee, the festival will feature out-of-town roasters, including Chicago’s Dark Matter and Charlotte’s Pure Intentions, pouring coffee drinks including cold brew and barrel-aged concoctions. Modern Times chief executive Jacob McKean notes, “We picked roasters who share our approach to coffee: nondogmatic, experimental, and focused on pushing specialty coffee forward. We also went for roasters who have done some of the most interesting and boundary-pushing collaborations with breweries.”

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The Local Coffee Corner at Barons Market North Park features beans from five local coffee roasters.
The Local Coffee Corner at Barons Market North Park features beans from five local coffee roasters.

Coffee Barons

Place

Barons Market

3231 East University Avenue, San Diego

With the opening of its seventh store in North Park last month, regional grocery chain Barons Market introduced a new concept it calls the Local Coffee Corner. A dedicated display at the end of the chips aisle features a small selection of beans from five county roasters.

Vice president of marketing Rachel Shemirani says Barons was approached by each of the local brands in the months leading up to the new store’s opening. “Bringing local coffee is a brand new thing for us,” she says, noting the coffee previously sold at Barons have been widely distributed brands such as Illy Coffee, based in Italy.

Each of the local roasters presented coffee at Barons’ weekly food-panel meeting, where products are evaluated for taste, ingredients, packaging, price, and the question, “Would you buy it again?” Shemirani notes, “Of the 80 to 100 items we try every week, about 5 or 6 make it through.” All five roasters presented such “shelf-ready” products that members of the Barons team were divided across the board.

Consequently, all five made the cut: Manzanita Roasting out of Rancho Bernardo, Mostra Coffee from Carmel Mountain, Golden Hill’s Dark Horse Coffee, Point Loma’s Swell Coffee, and North Park’s own Dane Coffee Roasters. Shemirani adds that, should the coffee corner perform well in North Park, Barons will replicate the model throughout its other stores.

Coffee brothers

Further north, 3 Local Brothers — the hospitality group behind the Urge gastropubs and Mason Ale Works brewery — has also taken a first step into specialty coffee with the launch of its Mason Coffee Works coffee bar.

Place

Brother's Provisions

16451 Bernardo Center Drive, San Diego

The counter is housed inside its Brothers Provisions gourmet foods and bottle shop, which recently doubled in size thanks to an expansion that also added a full kitchen, wood-fired pizza oven, sustainable meat and seafood selections, and takeaway fare.

Co-owner Zachary Higson says the coffee component has been planned for years but fell to the wayside as he and his partners focused on opening restaurants, breweries, and a planned bowling alley. While the new brand may expand into production, Higson maintains, “Right now we’re just showcasing quality coffee. We’re using Bird Rock as our featured roaster [including a custom blend], and we’re focused on making Mason Coffee a quality experience.”

Coffee carnival

Beer festivals have become commonplace in San Diego, but coffee festivals still turn up at a slow drip. Enter the Carnival of Caffeination, a coffee and coffee-beer fest Modern Times Beer hosts February 11th at its new Point Loma events space dubbed the Fortress of Raditude (3612 Kurtz Street.)

In addition to Modern Times’ coffee, the festival will feature out-of-town roasters, including Chicago’s Dark Matter and Charlotte’s Pure Intentions, pouring coffee drinks including cold brew and barrel-aged concoctions. Modern Times chief executive Jacob McKean notes, “We picked roasters who share our approach to coffee: nondogmatic, experimental, and focused on pushing specialty coffee forward. We also went for roasters who have done some of the most interesting and boundary-pushing collaborations with breweries.”

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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
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