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My 3 Favorite Coffee Shops in Downtown San Diego

July 16, 2019

Coffee is life and when life depends on the perfect cup downtown San Diego has no shortage of cafes and bistros to choose from. The last few weeks the husband and I have taken more time out of our days to unplug and go for walks around downtown. It’s a great way to get to know our new city and along the way we’ve discovered a few new coffee shops that I’m completely obsessed with. It’s no secret that Starbucks may have some great coffee options and fun frappes, but if you want a classic cup of caffeine and feel good about supporting local small businesses, going to smaller cafes are your best bet!

Here are a few of my newly discovered favorite coffee and tea shops around downtown San Diego!

Copa Vida

905 J St.

Although there are a few different locations of Copa Vida downtown, the J Street location is conveniently just a few blocks from our apartment. We happened upon this little coffee and tea shop on one of our morning walks. The atmosphere is casual/trendy but also welcoming. The menu is light and the coffee speaks for itself. I was pleased to see their coffee menu full of classical favorites like lattes and cappuccinos as well as traditional macchiatos (i.e. the kind served in small espresso cups). They also have a food menu that is artisan and fresh – having a chorizo hash didn’t leave me feeling stuffed but rather sustained and ready to take on our morning jaunt down to the waterfront. A must-visit if you’re looking for a casual morning coffee run or want a comfortable place to sit and relax while doing work.

Coffee & Tea Collective

704 J St.

Coffee & Tea Collective is another fantastic coffee shop on J street as you make your way down towards the water. Just a few blocks from Copa Vida and even Petco Park, this coffee shop is no frills – but that’s the best part. Just a small corner location and only outdoor patio seating, C&TC serves up some pretty amazing hot and iced coffee. I tried their iced vanilla latte and I enjoyed how flavorful and refreshing it was without the sweetness you’d typically expect. It’s not much in the way of lounging or hanging out, but definitely worth a stop

Better Buzz

801 University Ave
flagship cafe and roastery

Okay, so this location is not necessarily downtown, but it’s definitely worth including on this list. Better Buzz has their cafes sprinkled all around town from the beach up to Encinitas. When we first moved to downtown we enrolled Grey into a preschool in the Hillcrest area. On one of my drop offs I noticed this buzzing coffee shop, which always had a line out the door. Out of curiosity I decided to pop in and OMG. This place is worth the hype, the trip, and the money. Their lattes are the bomb and you have to order their avocado toast…yes, I said avocado toast…

my version of a Better Buzz avocado toast. close, but not the same!

When you can’t find it, Yelp it!

My go-to wherever we go is Yelp. It helps me gain a perspective when wanting to locate something specific…like coffee…but it’s also a great tool to see what people are saying about the different restaurants and businesses all around town. To find more amazing coffee and tea shops around downtown be sure to just do a simple Yelp search! There are so many great cafes and it’s hard to list them all here.

I hope you get the chance to give downtown San Diego a visit! Happy sipping, everyone!

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