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.

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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.

 

Husband and wife duo Ryan and Maria began their romance over a cup of coffee back in 2016. As their love for one another grew, so did their love and knowledge of quality coffee. From there, Bound Coffee Co. was born. Their finely tuned process uses individually timed and weighed espresso pulls to ensure the most balanced shots go into each meticulously crafted latte – and the taste reflects it. Menu staples like the vanilla bean latte and salted caramel latte feature syrups made in-house, and unique, inventive rotating flavors come onto the menu monthly and seasonally. Aside from espresso-forward drinks, Bound also serves a variety of teas, tea lattes, made-to-order-breakfast items and pastries. 

Seaborne Coffee Company

Coffee shops are more than just places to stop by for your daily caffeine fix. They’re spaces that cultivate entrepreneurship, encourage community, and reflect local character. And Seaborne Coffee does just that. This all-in-one sip-and-shop experience is a charming local favorite in central Oceanside. Housed inside the renovated 1930s gas station turned open-air co-op known as Rising Co., Seaborne offers classic cafe drinks, made-to-order and grab-and-go fare, and local pastries from the famed SPLIT Bakehouse Vegan Bakery. Once your appetite is satisfied, head across to the other side of the building to check out Rising Co.’s collaborative community space, which showcases creations from local designers and artists. On your way out, strike a pose in front of the Instagrammable mural wall on the building’s exterior south side.

Camp Coffee Company

For owner Jason Simpson, coffee and camping were always connected. Memories of the sound and aroma of percolating camp-stove coffee during his expeditions to Golden State national parks now come to life in the form of his cozy coffee shop in downtown Oceanside. Camp Coffee transports visitors 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 create the outdoor theme. The woodsy vibe is reflected in Camp’s signature s’mores-inspired Camp Mocha, adorned with torched marshmallows on top. Less rich and delicately complex options include the orange-vanilla Tribute Latte or sweet cardamom Ceremony Latte. For a light bite, choose from grilled cheese or a variety of toasts, or pick up a fresh pastry.

Captain’s Grounds

Whether you need a quick cup of joe on your way to work or want to sip slowly as you wander through vintage wonderland, Captain’s Grounds is the friendly South O stop that provides guests with a shop-and-sip experience. Perched in the storefront of the vintage consignment shop, Captain’s Helm, Captain’s Grounds is a casual walk-up coffee bar with a robust menu of hot and iced coffee and tea drinks. Using beans that are roasted just a block away, Captain’s Grounds serves all the hot and iced coffee classics you’d expect to find, plus some fun alternatives like blended chais. Affordable breakfast egg sandwiches in four tasty made-to-order varieties, fruit-topped acai bowls, and smoothies are also available. Once you get your food and drink fix, browse around Captain’s Helm to shop for new and used clothing, candles, hand-made jewelry, records, and local art.

vigilante

Though it originated on the east coast, Vigilante has found its west coast home here in Oceanside. Situated near the south end of the city, Vigilante’s open-air space hosts a spacious 2,000-square foot interior with high ceilings, a wall adorned with plants, and plenty of seating, plus 1,500-square feet dedicated to a roastery. The menu is extensive, offering classic espresso drinks (think lattes, macchiatos, and cappuccinos) along with fizzy, refreshing specialties like the Chronic Tonic, which features espresso laced with muddled orange floated over iced tonic water. A pastry case stocked with scones, croissants, cookies, and muffins sits right by the register, offering a tempting bite, and a few shelves of merchandise offer visitors the chance to take a little bit of world-class coffee home with them.

plantology

While coffee has long been a cultural obsession, plants have emerged as a new fan favorite in recent years, and Oceanside’s Plantology is bringing them together. The family-owned, Latino-owned cafe is a haven for green thumbs and house plant connoisseurs. A vibrant storefront of earthy pink-red ombre painted with a stunning mural of plant vines, leaves and a huge hummingbird welcomes visitors into the space, which is a fully stocked plant shop with a few tables to sip and enjoy. Unique flavors are woven into the shop’s menu. For a little twist on a latte, go for the De La Olla, which borrows the flavors of traditional Mexican coffee punctuated with cinnamon and piloncillo. Pastries and toasts are also available. With a coffee in hand, browse the lush greenery for another treat to take home, or sit and relax on the patio facing the Coast Highway. 

Revolution Roasters

True to the retro sign perched above it, Revolution Roasters – or “Revo”, as it’s affectionately called by locals – brings “coffee, culture and craft” to trendy South Oceanside. This neighborhood staple brings a local specialty coffee experience to coffee aficionados and the average java drinker alike, offering delicious blends and single-origin coffees roasted right here on the North County coast. The menu hosts a mix of high-quality drips and pour-overs, along with signature standouts like the butterscotch latte and an indulgent ice cream-infused cold brew float. House-made pastries and breakfast items are also available, along with beer and kombucha.

The Cup

Authentic, approachable, and just steps from the beach, The Cup on Wisconsin is characterized by casual. The Cup’s cafe drinks use high-quality roasted beans from San Diego’s Caffé Calabria. Visitors can pick up some java on the way to the water or take a seat on the 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, ask for the beautifully balanced espresso beer for the best of both worlds. Make sure you don’t skip breakfast either. The Cup is locally known for its simple, highly affordable breakfast sandwiches, along with lunch bites.

pannikin

Beloved, family-owned San Diego staple Pannikin has set down more roots, this time in downtown Oceanside. Since 1968, Pannikin has been serving fine coffee and tea from various locations, each one embodying historic charm and preserving original character. Despite its quaint vibe, Pannikin’s Oceanside location fits right into the buzzing downtown. It occupies the two-story brick building known as the Bunker House – one of the city’s last standing brick buildings. When you step inside, you’ll be greeted by vintage fixtures and high-top seating, although you can enjoy your drink and the San Diego weather on the cozy front porch or on the shaded back patio. You’ll find all the coffee shop classics you’d expect to find, plus a few Pannikin originals, like the espresso-loaded Mexican hot chocolate concoction dubbed the “Keith Richards” and “The Joey”, which is their riff on a Bulletproof butter coffee.

 

 

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.

Published: December 2, 2021
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