James coffee beans and cold brew to go, plus an impulse buy pastry
Normally, a late morning visit to the James Coffee co-op in Little Italy would mean searching for a place to park, bumping into someone I know on the street, standing in line for a pour over coffee, then finding a spot to linger a couple hours, while human life bustled around me.
2355 India Street, San Diego
But this morning, weeks into the pandemic, parking is easy, and the spacious warehouse venue is all but empty. All the small shops that share the place with James Coffee are closed. The only people there are a pair of baristas behind the coffee counter, each wearing a mask, as I am. They tell me no pour overs are available, but there is batch coffee, the espresso menu, and cold brew. I ask for the latter, plus a 12-ounce bag of Ethiopian coffee beans to go.
At the last minute, I add a chocolate and almond croissant to my order. Freshly baked by downtown French bakery, Le Parfait Paris, the chocolate coated pastry tantalizes from inside its glass case. It’s the first impulse buy I’ve made in a month. I stick my credit card in the reader, gather up my food and drink, and retreat to my car.
A coffee shop sits empty during the pandemic.
Coffeehouse culture may be at a standstill, but I can still get my fix.
Back in March, when most people were panic buying toilet paper and hand sanitizer, I was stocking up on locally roasted coffee beans. Priorities, right? It wasn’t yet clear how coffee roasters would be affected by retail closures and stay at home orders, and I wanted to make sure I had enough caffeine — I mean beans — to get me through.
Indeed, many neighborhood coffee shops have closed, but weeks into the public health crisis, coffee roasters have responded with different covid business models as they try to stay afloat. Online ordering, shipping, and take-out orders are how coffee business is being done, now. Most now keep at least one retail location to sell beans and serve take-out food and drinks, and some, like James, accept online take-out orders to reduce contact.
Dark Horse Coffee Roasters initially closed all locations, but now offers beans and (for the first time) cans of cold brew from its North Park and Golden Hill locations only.
Better Buzz Coffee is only serving from its six locations equipped with drive-thru service, while Barrio Logan roaster Café Moto has set up a temporary drive thru operation at its shop.
Lofty Coffee is only serving drinks out of its Encinitas roastery. But as Lofty Provisions, it delivers baked goods and dairy products in addition to coffee beans and tea leaves; free home delivery three days per week throughout north county with a $50 order.
Mostra Coffee, the nation’s reigning Micro Roaster of the Year has its Carmel Ranch shop open regular hours, serving take-out coffee orders as well as beans. But if you prefer to have beans mailed to you, Mostra ships free with a $35 minimum order.
Bird Rock Coffee Roasters has closed its retail locations. And though it’s shipping beans free with a $30 minimum, it’s halted roasting operations for the second half of April, so supply is limited.
Rancho Bernardo’s Manzanita Roasting Company has closed its coffee bar, but continues to roast twice a week in small batches. One of the county’s best kept coffee secrets, it offers free shipping on beans with no minimums.
Whether open for retail or online shipping orders, here’s a current list of open coffee roasters, county wide — subject to change.
- Bankers Hill
- James Coffee Co. (2870 Fourth Ave, Suite 107)
- Barrio Logan
- Café Moto (drive thru, 2619 National Avenue)
- Ryan Bros Coffee (1894 Main Street).
- Café Virtuoso (1616 National Avenue)
- Carmel Mountain Ranch
- Mostra Coffee (12045 Carmel Mountain Road, Unit 302)
- Steady State Roasting (2562 State Street, Suite G)
- Sleeping Tiger Coffees (2906 Carlsbad Boulevard)
- Downtown San Diego
- Achilles Coffee Roasters (703 Ash Street, 800 B Street)
- Lofty Coffee Encinitas Roasting Works (97 North Coast Highway 101)
- Pannikin Coffee and Tea (510 North Coast Highway 101)
- Ironsmith Coffee Roasters (458 South Coast Highway 101)
- Zumbar Coffee (111 Chesterfield Drive #115)
- Better Buzz Coffee (1831 South Centre City Parkway)
- Golden Hill
- Dark Horse Coffee Roasters (811 25th Street, Unit 100)
- Little Italy
- James Coffee Co. (2355 India Street)
- Jaunt Coffee Roasters (8680 Miralani Drive, Unit 134)
- North Park
- Coffee and Tea Collective (2911 El Cajon Boulevard)
- Holsem Coffee (2911 University Avenue)
- Caffe Calabria (3933 30th Street)
- Dark Horse Coffee Roasters (3794 30th Street)
- James Coffee Co. (4379 30th Street)
- Camp Coffee Company (101 North Cleveland Street)
- Ocean Beach
- OB Beans (4879 Newport Avenue)
- Pacific Beach
- Better Buzz Coffee (822 Grand Avenue, 1186 Garnet Avenue, 1909 Garnet Avenue)
- Point Loma
- Better Buzz Coffee (1480 Rosecrans)
- The King's Craft Coffee Co. (14530 Espola Road)
- San Marcos
- Better Buzz Coffee (904 West San Marcos Boulevard)
- Sorrento Valley
- Zumbar Coffee (10920 Roselle Street)
- Online shipping orders only
- Bird Rock Coffee Roasters
- Leap Coffee
- Modern Times Coffee
- Manzanita Roasting Company
- Parabola Coffee Roasting Co.
- Seven Seas Roasting Co.
- Tired Eyes Coffee