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This way to a Better Buzz

A spacious new coffee shop for Hillcrest

Better Buzz Coffee is on the move. The Vista coffee roaster has opened its eighth coffee shop in San Diego, its fourth in just over two years. However, while most Better Buzz shops have been relatively small in scope, the newly opened Hillcrest location is large enough that it will become the growing company's new headquarters.

Place

Better Buzz Coffee

801 University Avenue, San Diego

The 7500-square-foot building at 801 University Avenue has been stylishly furnished with a full-service coffee bar and expanded food menu, in addition to multilevel seating and a private, enclosed meeting space that will be available to rent. Better Buzz management is, for the most part, moving into offices lining the top floor of the building.

While primary roasting operations will remain in Vista, the new property will feature supplemental roasting on site. A glassed-in room in the back of the shop features a century-old Probat roaster shipped over from Germany, and director of coffee production Daniel Greig says it will be used to roast small batches of specialty coffee, including the eventual introduction of the rare and highly sought geisha coffee beans to the Better Buzz brand.

Since opening an Encinitas shop in 2015, Better Buzz has also opened a second Pacific Beach café (with a 12-car drive-thru), and upgraded from its kiosk at Fashion Valley mall into a full storefront (next to Urban Outfitters). It also maintains is original drive-thru shop in Pacific Beach, as well as others in Mission Beach, Point Loma, and San Marcos.

Like the Encinitas café, the Hillcrest shop features a "Purist" bar devoted to making all single-origin espresso drinks. Hillcrest will be the first of the bunch to offer single-cup brews made with automated Seraphim pour over devices. In addition to coffee, the shop offers tea, matcha lattes, and has introduced a coffee-free "turmeric latte," which pairs the antioxidant-rich herb with cinnamon, ginger, honey and coconut milk.

While Better Buzz is one of the few coffee businesses outside Starbucks to operate drive-thru services in San Diego, the new Hillcrest location does not. However, a half-mile west, another new coffee shop has opened to car traffic. Copper Top Coffee and Donuts took over the small building that previously played home to Wienerschnitzel at Washington Street and First Avenue (101 Washington Street, Hillcrest). While it's walk-up window and patio seating are visible from the street, a drive-thru lane at the back of the building offers expedient to-go service.

Josh McCorkle and partner Kent Beidel met more than a decade ago when they both worked at Zoka Coffee Roaster & Tea Co. in Seattle. "Up in Seattle, there's drive-thru coffee everywhere," says McCorkle. "I've been down here for six years and didn't see a lot of drive-thru coffee, so decided to give it a shot."

With the Seattle connection, they've opted to serve beans sourced from the area, from Rococo Coffee Roasting. Coffee's available in espresso drinks, cold brew, and batch brew, served alongside donuts that are cooked throughout the day to keep a fresh selection on hand.

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San Diego is tied for first in number of coffee shops per capita. (Above: Better Buzz in Hillcrest).
San Diego is tied for first in number of coffee shops per capita. (Above: Better Buzz in Hillcrest).

Better Buzz Coffee is on the move. The Vista coffee roaster has opened its eighth coffee shop in San Diego, its fourth in just over two years. However, while most Better Buzz shops have been relatively small in scope, the newly opened Hillcrest location is large enough that it will become the growing company's new headquarters.

Place

Better Buzz Coffee

801 University Avenue, San Diego

The 7500-square-foot building at 801 University Avenue has been stylishly furnished with a full-service coffee bar and expanded food menu, in addition to multilevel seating and a private, enclosed meeting space that will be available to rent. Better Buzz management is, for the most part, moving into offices lining the top floor of the building.

While primary roasting operations will remain in Vista, the new property will feature supplemental roasting on site. A glassed-in room in the back of the shop features a century-old Probat roaster shipped over from Germany, and director of coffee production Daniel Greig says it will be used to roast small batches of specialty coffee, including the eventual introduction of the rare and highly sought geisha coffee beans to the Better Buzz brand.

Since opening an Encinitas shop in 2015, Better Buzz has also opened a second Pacific Beach café (with a 12-car drive-thru), and upgraded from its kiosk at Fashion Valley mall into a full storefront (next to Urban Outfitters). It also maintains is original drive-thru shop in Pacific Beach, as well as others in Mission Beach, Point Loma, and San Marcos.

Like the Encinitas café, the Hillcrest shop features a "Purist" bar devoted to making all single-origin espresso drinks. Hillcrest will be the first of the bunch to offer single-cup brews made with automated Seraphim pour over devices. In addition to coffee, the shop offers tea, matcha lattes, and has introduced a coffee-free "turmeric latte," which pairs the antioxidant-rich herb with cinnamon, ginger, honey and coconut milk.

While Better Buzz is one of the few coffee businesses outside Starbucks to operate drive-thru services in San Diego, the new Hillcrest location does not. However, a half-mile west, another new coffee shop has opened to car traffic. Copper Top Coffee and Donuts took over the small building that previously played home to Wienerschnitzel at Washington Street and First Avenue (101 Washington Street, Hillcrest). While it's walk-up window and patio seating are visible from the street, a drive-thru lane at the back of the building offers expedient to-go service.

Josh McCorkle and partner Kent Beidel met more than a decade ago when they both worked at Zoka Coffee Roaster & Tea Co. in Seattle. "Up in Seattle, there's drive-thru coffee everywhere," says McCorkle. "I've been down here for six years and didn't see a lot of drive-thru coffee, so decided to give it a shot."

With the Seattle connection, they've opted to serve beans sourced from the area, from Rococo Coffee Roasting. Coffee's available in espresso drinks, cold brew, and batch brew, served alongside donuts that are cooked throughout the day to keep a fresh selection on hand.

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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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