The Best Coffee Spots in San Diego

Caffeine is a language I think we can all understand. Whether you get your fix from a green tea or a double espresso shot, a vast majority of the population needs their dose to function on a daily basis. Not only that, but lets face it, the most common and popular workspace for the freelancer has become a cozy coffee shop. For those of you who actually live in San Diego or are planning to visit anytime soon, make sure to save this post, pin it, bookmark it (whatever you need to do to revisit this post) and pay close attention to the best coffee shops in the city!
James Coffee CO. opened up its doors to San Diego a little over three years ago. It is a small neighborhood coffee shop with the most inviting staff. Their workspace is mainly outside which for San Diego works out perfectly. However, if you’re looking to buy a hot drink because of the chilly weather outside, I recommend a grab & go. My favorite drink is the iced Honey Cinnamon drink. It has just the right balance of caffeine and sweetness for a pleasurable gulp.
Better Buzz in Hillcrest is my go to coffee shop when I want to dine in and catch up on emails. It is a two story gem in the Hillcrest neighborhood providing the most delicious drinks. The best drink ever is one of their staples which for the most part is the drink I order (plus it is non-dairy). Its low caloric content makes you think you are cheating on your diet, when in fact you are just helping yourself to a tiny delicacy with minimal guilt.
Communal coffee introduced itself in North Park — however a little less than a year ago they opened up shop in South Park with the most charming scenery. They have a trailer style coffee shop and you have an open air workspace with instagrammable corners. Not to mention the traffic around those streets is minimal — so there’s ops to take picture in the middle of the street without almos getting run over.
Lofty Coffee is the best coffee shop in all of Little Italy. To be honest, there’s not many in this neighborhood but if there were , Lofty would still take down the others hands down. The contemporary decor makes it a hip & trendy place to work — plus the gray concrete walls are great to achieve that perfect lighting in your pictures. I love their “make your own” avo toast — where you can add as many ingredients as you want to the piece of toast. My go-to drink here is usually a double espresso shot over ice with coconut milt (mouth is literally watering).
Coffee & Tea Collective has two active locations in San Diego: Downtown & North Park. The places pictured are at the Downtown location because it is a little bit spacier that the North Park location. I love to come in and choose a tea because of their wide selections However, from time to time I do treat myself to their espresso americano with stevia and almond milk. A must for a much needed pick-me-up!
Oh Bean Bar ! I swear, I probably go to this place at least once a week. Not only is the selection of coffee delicious, but each corner inside & outside the place has its unique beauty. I love the way that it creates an experience rather that just walking into a coffee shop, and the community tables allow for a pleasant meet up with friends. This coffee shop is located a block from Petco Park, which you would think was super busy. However, it is one of the quietest places in the Downtown area perfect for shoots & working.
Grounds Coffee shop is a little north of where I live specifically. I go here just whenever I am in the neighborhood, but I wish it was around my house. It is in Pacific Beach, the beach town near La Jolla. It has the most amazing interior decor — I swear you feel like you are in RIO. There’s greenery on the walls, bird drawings, bird cages hanging from the ceiling, and comfy colorful pillows. It is a place to go if you want a bomb banana nut muffin and some time to concentrate on work. The workspace is tiny and limited, but such a cute coffee shop to get a few great photos.
Copa Vida is another one of those gems in the Gaslamp District. I love their matcha the most especially sweetened with honey. Their outside patio is great to chat up an old friend and the inside is perfect to sit in the corner and read a good book. Their selection of food is not that large, however any plate that you order is mouthwatering. Their salads & toasts are my favorites. Plus, you can tell the barista takes their time to prepare the drink specially for you.
Last, but not least Parakeet in La Jolla. Okay, so I don’t make the drive up very often but I do take my sweet time there when I do make it up. It is a compact coffee shop (the kitchen takes up most of the place) but their selection of organic, gluten free, non-dairy goods is just amazing. I love the mushroom toast & a cold brew to go with it! You have to try it when you visit La Jolla.

I hope these coffee shops are places that you will visit or intend to visit soon. I have lived in San Diego for over twenty years and have narrowed down my search for the best coffee shops to give you quality (even though the quantity is quite big — there’s just so many in the San Diego area). Leave any comments below on which your favorite coffee shops are or if you actually ended up visiting any of the above places !

xx Gina


  1. Deb
    January 24, 2019 / 9:29 pm

    Agreed! Try S3 Coffee Shop (Mission Valley) super cute ❤️

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *