Unique Craft Coffee Shops
Contributing Writer & Photographer: Jordan Younis
Coffee is somewhat of a cultural obsession. It’s more than just a drink: it gives us routine and ritual, serves as morning fuel and afternoon pick-me-up, gives reason for a work break and reasons to gather together. Thanks to trendy third-wave coffee shops and an emphasis on specialty roasting, sustainability and quality, coffee lovers and connoisseurs have positively overwhelming options for where to enjoy their morning (or afternoon) caffeine dose. And American coffee culture shows no signs of fading.
Meccas like Seattle, the country’s so-called coffee capital, New York City and Hawaii are known for their coffee consumption and production, but Southern California is a worthy contender. And with stunningly designed java shops and quirky neighborhood staples on seemingly every block, the soulful city of Oceanside is establishing itself as a craft coffee destination. From espresso classics, to inventive coffee drinks with a twist, to good old drip, O’side is serving up something for locals and visitors alike.
THE COFFEE TRAIL
Check out the full Oceanside Coffee Trail by expanding the map and learn more about a few local spots below! Every coffee shop has a unique story and brew for you to sip and explore.
Click on the top, left map icon to expand location information.
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Bound Coffee Co.
Bound Coffee Co. sits at the base of a sleek office building perched just north of the Buena Vista Lagoon. But don’t let its quiet and unassuming location fool you. Bright and aesthetically simple, Bound fits right into its trendy South O surroundings. Its feel is clean and minimal, created by white walls with splashes of color in the form of geometric prints, leafy plants and succulents and a green wood paneled barista counter.
Husband and wife duo Ryan and Maria are quite literally bound by coffee. Their romance began over a cup of coffee back in 2016. As their love for one another grew, so did their love and knowledge of quality coffee. And you’ll be able to feel the love put into their delicate operation. Their fine-tuned process uses individually timed espresso pulls, as opposed to the commonly used auto-timed machines. That means you won’t find these baristas slacking or doing any frenzied multitasking, even at the busiest peak hours. Instead, they time the brewing espresso between 42 and 52 seconds, and weigh the liquid to 45 grams to ensure the most balanced shots go into each meticulously crafted latte.
To add to the labor of love, all of Bound’s syrups are made in-house, like the vanilla syrup, which is made with real vanilla beans and featured in the shop’s signature, subtly sweet vanilla bean latte. Rotating flavors of lattes are featured monthly and seasonally, with unique must-try flavors like herby grapefruit juniper pink peppercorn, tropical cafe colada and autumn-inspired sage pumpkin spiced. Aside from traditional espresso-forward lattes, Bound also has a variety of teas and tea lattes, including the nutty and toasty hojicha latte and a classic matcha latte.
If you’re hungry, go for a made-to-order-breakfast burritos, which come with homemade salsa and crema, or a staple avocado toast. For the kids or those with a sweet tooth, pick up a decadent homemade scone. Flavors rotate daily along with other pastries and gluten-free options, so there’s truly something for everyone.
With their expertly prepared espresso drinks, homemade ingredients and food items and peaceful ambiance, Bound is an essential coffee shop stop for visitors and locals alike, and those with an appreciation for quality and simplicity.
There’s a lot going on in South Oceanside. Over the years, this trendy stretch of city, which sits about 2 miles south of its downtown heart, has become home to countless restaurants, bars, breweries, and of course, coffee shops. Enter Revolution Roasters.
True to the mid-century modern sign perched above it, Revo, as it’s affectionately referred to by locals, brings “coffee, culture and craft” to Oceanside’s south happening end. Offering delicious blends and single origin coffees roasted right here on the North County coast, it’s truly a place for coffee lovers, yet accessible for all types of java drinkers.
With a bright patio facing the coast highway and an airy interior complete with eclectic light fixtures, antique knick-knacks and a variety of tables and high top seating, guests can sip specialty coffee, co-work or enjoy a bite to eat together. The menu is presented from floor to ceiling on a bold navy blue wall — just as much a centerpiece of the shop’s decor as it is a functional element. On it you’ll find a mix of classic espresso-and-milk drinks, coffee and non-coffee concoction, plus food items. Again, if you’re a coffee person, you’ll appreciate Revolution Roasters’ variety of high-quality house drip, single-origin pour-over, cold brew and nitro. For the latte lovers, a butterscotch latte stands out as a unique signature favorite, alongside a sweet and floral lavender honey latte and rotating seasonal options. For those wanting a refreshing ice cream-infused indulgence, a cold brew float or an affogato are an absolute must. The menu also features several alcoholic offerings like beer, hard kombucha and mimosas. If you’re hungry, pick up one of six sweet or savory toasts served on local Prager Brothers artisan bread.
With locally roasted coffee and a vintage beach feel, Revolution Roasters is bringing finely crafted coffee and a place for the community to Oceanside’s coffee scene.
Seaborne Coffee Company
Coffee houses are more than just a place to stop for a cup of joe, especially today. They’re spaces that help cultivate entrepreneurship, encourage community and reflect local character. Seaborne Coffee does just that.
Centrally situated in town up the Pacific Coast Highway, Seaborne is housed inside Rising Co. — a 1930s gas station turned open-air co-op. Renovated but still retaining its original charm, the building’s vaulted, white beamed ceilings, vibrant gallery walls and open windows give the shop those quintessential breezy SoCal vibes that are the embodiment of Oceanside’s new-found trendiness.
Seaborne features traditional cafe drinks and some specialty lattes. Stop in for a classic cappuccino, latte, cold brew or cortado, or try a floral favorite like the honey-lavender Summer Fields latte or the rose cardamom version. Light made-to-order breakfast and lunch fare, grab-and-go items and local pastries from the famed SPLIT Bakehouse Vegan Bakery are also available.
Once your appetite is satisfied, head across to the other side of the building to check out Rising Co. co-op. The retail space showcases creations from over twelve local designers and artists. You’ll find hand-poured candles, leather goods, houseware, clothing, books and more. Or, head outside and take a seat on the shaded outdoor patio to people watch and get some sun. On your way out, strike a pose in front of the instagrammable outside wall on the building’s south side.
If you can’t get enough bohemian vibes and want an all-in-one dining and shopping experience, Seaborne is sure to be a fast favorite.
Camp Coffee Company is bringing a bit of woodsy NorCal to coastal SoCal.
For owner Jason Simpson, coffee and camping were always connected. He recalls the sound and aroma of percolating coffee on a camp stove during his many family expeditions to Golden State landmarks like Sequoia and Yosemite National Parks. Later in life, he brought these memories to life once again, this time, in the form of a cozy, dimly lit coffee shop in downtown Oceanside.
When you walk into Camp, you’ll indeed be transported to the forest. Exposed hanging light bulbs mimic stars in the night sky, a hauntingly beautiful photo of a pine tree adorns one wall and a blazing red espresso machine reminiscent of a classic camp stove all add to the shop’s vibe.
Of course, that vibe is also reflected in Camp’s signature drinks. No visit is complete without the s’mores-inspired Camp Mocha, which features semisweet chocolate from San Diego company Nibble, toasted marshmallow syrup and torched marshmallows on top. If you’re looking for less richness and a little complexity, go for a Tribute Latte, which uses a hint of orange oil and house-made vanilla bean syrup, or the sweet cardamom flavored Ceremony Latte.
Camp uses the highest quality beans from San Diego’s Bird Rock Coffee Roasters. Jason opted for medium to darker roasts as the base of Camp’s drinks, with tasting notes of dark chocolate and molasses to complement the warm flavors of their creations. They keep it simple when it comes to food — and, of course, on brand. Choose from grilled cheese or a variety of toasts (goat cheese and honey is our recommendation), or pick up a SPLIT Bakehouse Vegan Bakery pastry.
Driven by the motto “simply well-executed”, Camp Coffee delivers delicious, original drinks and a comfy space to enjoy your cup of joe. What’s more, you’ll truly get an experience of being temporarily somewhere else, somewhere equally beautiful and equally Californian, before stepping back out into the sunshine.
Local roasts and vintage vibes are practically baked into Oceanside’s coastal culture, and Captain’s Grounds is the literal embodiment of the two.
Local O’side owners Ted and Jen Stoddard opened this unique coffee joint on the city’s south stretch. Perched in the storefront of their vintage consignment shop, Captain’s Helm, Captain’s Grounds is a modest little walk-up coffee bar with an extensive menu that provides guests with a hybrid shop-and-sip experience.
Using beans that are roasted just a block away, Captain’s Grounds serves all the hot and iced coffee classics you’d expect to enjoy, plus some fun alternatives like the sweet and spicy Mexican mocha. Refreshing iced blended drinks are also a unique feature on the menu. We love the flavorful blended banana chai and the chocolatey peanut butter and banana Funky Monkey shake. If you’re a tea drinker, a variety of tea-based concoctions, like the popular chai latte and the yerba mate latte, are also available. For a quick bite or breakfast, go for a $5 egg sandwich in one of four tasty made-to-order varieties, or try a fresh, fruit-topped acai bowl. Then, head over to Captain’s Helm and shop new and used clothing, candles, hand-made jewelry, records, local art and more.
Whether you want to grab a quick cup of joe on your way to work or sip it slowly as you wander through vintage wonderland, Captain’s Grounds is a casual, friendly stop along Oceanside’s coffee route.
You know by now that there’s no shortage of coffee shops in Oceanside. Breezy, beautiful, minimal, edgy, bright, cozy — there are as many aesthetic varieties as there are roasts and specialty lattes.
The Cup on Wisconsin is characterized by casual. It’s the unsuspecting corner spot you might walk right by on your way to the water, but this neighborhood gem is not to be underestimated. There’s a lot to be said for keeping it simple and keeping it real. It’s like Oceanside’s very own Cheers. This one-stop shop has coffee, beer on tap, sandwiches, wraps and more.
Using high-quality roasted beans from San Diego’s Caffé Calabria, The Cup offers a menu of traditional but delicious espresso drinks. You can pick up some java on the way to the beach, or take your coffee to the spacious, shaded patio in the back. With its vibrant mural wall, ample seating and a big-screen TV, it’s the perfect place for a morning coffee date or coworking date, or to watch a Sunday football game with a beer in hand. If you can’t choose between coffee or beer, go for both: ask for the beautifully balanced espresso beer. Make sure you don’t skip breakfast either. The Cup is locally known for its simple, affordable breakfast sandwiches and cheesy toast. Also on the menu are lunch bites, like the veggie and chicken caesar wraps.
Everything about this quintessential neighborhood spot is genuine and approachable. If you’re a local — or want to live like one — stop by The Cup for a shot of Oceanside authenticity just steps away from the beach.
Oceanside’s booming coffee scene is something to experience. We hope you stop by to sample something special from all of these shops and so many more. Sip slow. Take in the scenery. Relax. You’re in Oceanside, afterall.
About the Writer & Photographer
Jordan Younis is a San Diego-based writer and photographer. She spends her days working in the world of biotechnology, but outside of work, you can find her doing personal writing projects, cooking, taking photos of food, local entrepreneurs and landscapes, and exploring the great outdoors. Connect with her on Instagram @jordanyounis.