13 Of The Best Coffee Shops In San Diego

Let’s be real. Not all of us have the luxury of hanging out in our hood’s hot coffee shop in the middle of a random Tuesday.

But one special day that happens once a year? I think you can manage the treat to yourself.

Said day happens to be Friday, September 29th – because it’s National Coffee Day!

This day is the perfect excuse to finally start your day with a coffee made for kings, or even take your work meeting to the delicious cafe in town – you might just be surprised to see what your team will accomplish with the change of scenery!

That said, let’s get you prepped with a list of the best coffee shops in San Diego, with the freshest brews, and the sweetest work spaces…

1.) Better Buzz

My personal favorite is Better Buzz Coffee. They have multiple locations around San Diego including Encinitas, San Diego, Mission Beach, San Marcos, Fashion Valley and Pacific Beach. Their San Marcos location is really only a drive-through/walk-up and Fashion Valley is a small stand, so those two locations aren’t ideal for studying or working but their Encinitas, Point Loma, Mission Beach and PB locations have great atmosphere, WiFi, mellow mood music and ridiculously strong coffee; the perfect recipe for getting serious work done.

2.) Bad Ass Coffee Company of Hawaii

Bad Ass Coffee is a Hawaiian company bringing 100% Kona Bean coffee to the mainland; more specifically, Rancho Penasquitos. Whenever you’re in the hood and looking for a spot to set up your remote office, Bad Ass Coffee is “Da kine.”

3.) Bird Rock Coffee Roasters 

Bird Rock Coffee Roasters has three locations around San Diego; Little Italy, La Jolla and San Diego on Morena Blvd. It has an awesome atmosphere and is the winner of Roast Magazine’s 2012 Micro Coffee Roaster of the Year! They only buy seasonal coffee and roast five days a week to ensure that their coffee is always at peak freshness!

4.) Cafe Bassam 

Cafe Bassam is a unique vintage coffee house in Bankers Hill and reviewers rave that it has the best coffee in San Diego! Owner, Bassam Shamma claims it is the “first coffee house in San Diego,” saying, “Of course other places had coffee,” Bassam said. “But not serious. Not the urban, social-gathering place where cultural things happen.” If you’re ever on a deadline and need to work late, Cafe Bassam is open until midnight every night.

5.) James Coffee Co. 


James Coffee Co. is a sweet place on India Street with tons of room. The James “Space” is the building that houses the James Coffee Co. coffee shop and roaster but is also home to a few boutique shops all under one roof.

6.) The Living Room 


The Living Room in Point Loma is literally a living room in a converted home. It can get crowded but you can typically find a nice quiet spot upstairs. They have plenty of outlets and the WiFi won’t slow you down! They have three other locations in La Jolla, National City and at San Diego State.

7.) Te Mana Cafe

(Permanently closed)

Te Mana Cafe in Ocean Beach reminds me of a Hawaiian version of “Central Perk” from the show “Friends.” It’s got the feel of a real home with vintage furniture and an awesome fireplace with a nice tropical patio.

8.) Vinaka Cafe

Vinaka Cafe is a cozy coffee shop in the Carlsbad Village that not only has awesome java but it showcases local art. If you need an extra sugar boost on top of your caffeine buzz, they also offer ice cream blended drinks, pastries and other tasty menu items that are amazing.

9.) Pannikin Coffee & Tea

Pannikin Coffee and Tea has three locations around San Diego County including Leucadia, La Jolla and in the San Diego airport. Their Leucadia location provides a rustic, beachy atmosphere great for studying and getting work done.

10.) Lofty Coffee Co. 


Lofty Coffee Co. in North County has two Encinitas locations and one Solana Beach location in the Cedros Design District and according to the company website, they are opening a Little Italy Cafe complete with scratch-baking kitchen sometime in late 2016 or early 2017.

11.) Lestat’s 

Lestat’s coffee house has three locations, one on Adams, one on Park and the other in Hillcrest which is now open 24 hours a day, everyday. The location on Park Avenue has a ton of work space and is perfect for getting the job done!

12.) Dark Horse Coffee Roasters


The original Dark Horse Coffee Roasters is on Adams Avenue in Normal Heights and they now have two other San Diego locations in North Park and Golden Hill. Dark Horse may be the coolest, hipster coffee spot in San Diego with their casual, industrial-inspired design and laid-back local feel. Dark Horse also offers Skinny Donuts.

13.) Swell Coffee Co

Swell has two locations in San Diego, one in Mission Beach and one in Del Mar. I have only been to the one in Del Mar, but the coffee is fantastic, the environment is just about perfect for working (both indoors and out), and the WiFi is a solid ‘B’. Definitely a great spot.

There you have the 13 best local spots to caffeine up and cram for finals, get some serious work done before a deadline or prepare for an important meeting without being distracted. Enjoy a nice coffee buzz and get down to business!

See you there, San Diego!

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