Bread Whore Explores El Cajon Blvd. Caffinated Pleasures

July 27th, 2012  |  Published in Bread Whore, Culinary Creative, Drink

I really try my best to pound the pavement in search of new coffeehouses even if I have a chosen few I go back to time and time again (Influx, I’m looking at you.  Goddamn, your muffins, scones, and cupcakes are sinful!).  The few noteworthy coffee businesses mentioned below are worth your time and money.
A recent wonderful addition to San Diego coffee culture is the Coffee and Tea Collective over on El Cajon Blvd. near 30th Street.  Not the first location you might envision for a new business (insert your own sarcastic remark here about “unless said business involves prostitution or drugs of the illicit nature“).  But the Coffee and Tea Collective is a modern, welcoming new spot that does something rare for SD: it offers a fresh cup of coffee utilizing the the pour over method.  I can count on one hand the number of places in San Diego I’ve visited that offer a truly fresh cup of coffee (Bird Rock Roasters, Ryan Brothers, a couple of others . . . I really only said that because I can’t count past five).  Fresh in the sense that someone will literally grind the beans and pour the simmering water over the grounds as you wait casually for your cup.  It makes a huge difference; no matter how great the beans happen to be, coffee that’s been sitting in a tanker for even five minutes doesn’t taste nearly as wonderful as a pure java brewed to order.  As a matter of fact, the Papua New Guinea blend I ordered at Coffee Tea and Collective was the first time I had even come close to drinking my coffee bla

ck.  I added one cube of sugar, stopped, smelled the wonderful floral aromas and decided to just sip it slowly.  Perfect.  Utterly perfect.  Not cheap – at three dollars a pop, you’re paying twice as much as most places for a single 12 ounce cup of coffee.  But you taste the difference, my friends.  There’s a reason why places like Ritual and Four Barrel in San Francisco charge anywhere from $3-7 for a cup of made-to-order coffee, and it’s simple.  The coffee is worth it.  And when you compare the prices at Coffee and Tea Collective to those joints and others of their ilk, CTC is downright affordable.  Another bonus – no wireless (at least the time I went).  So you actually talk to people!  So refreshingly antiquated it’s downright cutting edge.  So check it out and support a local.

Treehouse Coffee Roasters is out in La Mesa; I want to get that out of the way first thing because I generally would never head out to La Mesa.  What’s the point?  But that’s also how much I love Treehouse Coffee.  I discovered this place a year ago when I first tried Pubcakes (they share the same structure).  Who would have thought  a little building out on The Boulevard in La Mesa of all places would be where the Holy Trinity resided?  Beer, cupcakes, and coffee all in the same location?  It really is heaven.  What would Jesus do?  Who the F knows, but evidently he loves La Mesa because he resides there!  Pubcakes kicks ass, but I drink coffee more than I drink beer or eat cupcakes, and Treehouse is legit.  The owner, Mandi, is a super chill chick; she roasts small batches outside on the sidewalk daily and she exudes an understated confidence about her craft that appeals to people who might want to ask some questions about the coffee process, but feel a little embarrassed to not know the answers already.  No worries – Mandi will help.  How effin dope is that?  So you can go and get a drink at Treehouse Coffee Roasters with the understanding that you’re being served by a true professional who roasts beans as fresh as Russel Westbrook’s wardrobe post-game.  I highly recommend you try the Cinnamon-Honey Latte as well or grab some beans for home.  Treehouse sells whole bean or you can grind in-store.   No matter – get down to La Mesa, grab some Treehouse coffee (and maybe a cupcake?), and prepare to discover God.

Ephemera Coffee Roasters

My final coffee joint of notice isn’t even a joint.  It’s a friend of a friend who roasts from his home, and he makes some fantastic roasts.  The name?  Ephemera Coffee.  This is my go-to for making the French Press at home.  Why?  Well, I love the feeling of physically being in a coffee house and sipping that exquisite drug.  That’s why I like to visit Coffee and Tea Collective and Treehouse for coffee; they offer the actual space for me to get lost in the small sublime moment of the day.  Not so with Ephemera.  So I order their coffee to enjoy at home in order to show support to a local guy who’s got mad skillz.  I’ve ordered the Rwanda Karenge, the Peru Cajamarca, and the Colombian Los Naranjos; the Colombian has been my favorite so far, but I haven’t gotten anything yet that hasn’t been killer.  The best part?  If you’re local, they deliver to your doorstep free of charge.  I just place my order online; the next day, I come home and find a beautiful bag with my coffee beans inside.  That’s service!

While San Diego has become saturated with craft breweries popping up on every corner, local coffee roasters are flying under the radar delivering superior product.  Moto, Virtuoso, Calabria, and Bird Rock still keep it real, but I thought I’d highlight a couple of the smaller roasters rocking out and providing that much needed jolt of daily deliciousness.  Show some love and check them out.

 

Brendan

Brendan Jude Liszanckie (Bread Whore): current culinary student/ex-English teacher/rabid Celtics fan/raging film fanatic/obsessive lover of music /jack-of-a-few trades/all-around semi-decent guy. Compelled to move to California due to Dre and Tupac's ode, I left Boston, migrated to LA, and got my Dangerous Minds on as part of the Teach for America program. After several years living in the LBC, I bounced around before ending up here in beautiful San Diego with my better half. And I as I embark on my culinary journey, I quote one of my heroes: "I’ve got plenty of common sense…. I just choose to ignore it.” So follow me down this rabbit hole as I freely pilfer from various literary grab bags and write about some of the amazing places and people here in San Diego, all of whom make eating/drinking in this town worthwhile.

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