The Best Coffee Shops in San Diego

Having a good cup of coffee is the perfect start to any new endeavor—words I live by. Like most people, I love coffee. I love trying new blends, iced or hot, latte or macchiato, cold brew or batch brew. My affinity for coffee most definitely comes from the endless all-nighters I pulled in high school but as a second-year college student, I have grown to appreciate it even more.\

One of the many perks of living and going to school in San Diego is that it has an amazing variety of coffee shops, each with their own quirks and specialties. I love going to these coffee shops to finish homework, spend time with family and friends or to simply decompress for a while with a good book and a latte. I thought I’d share a few of my favorite ones and hopefully if you’re ever down in the 619, you can make your way to one of them!

  1. 1. Communal Coffee

    Upon entering Communal Coffee, you are greeted with the smell of fresh coffee and flowers. With its infamous “Coffee and Flowers” sign outside, Native Poppy flowers inside and quirky gift shop items, Communal Coffee is arguably one of the most popular places in San Diego. This location has managed to capture two of my favorite things: coffee and flowers. After picking up your coffee, you can grab a bouquet of flowers hand-crafted by Native Poppy’s florists. Not to mention, Communal offers an incredible selection of pastries and other yummy treats! Outside the shop, there is also a plant nursery from which you can purchase succulents and other potted plants. I would highly recommend visiting Communal if you are a first-time visitor to San Diego and are looking for a fun and hip experience.


    My Order: Rose Vanilla Latte (Iced)

  2. 2. James Coffee Co. 

    I didn’t know what strong coffee was until I went to James Coffee. There is something about their blend which gives me the perfect combination of energy and motivation to push right through my day! James Coffee is located inside of Little Italy and right in front of the Marina, which gives it an ample number of visitors on a daily basis. James Coffee is not only a coffee shop, it has a barber shop, haberdashery, card shop and mini gift shop right inside. James Coffee also has an extraordinary bakery selection which includes macarons, croissants, muffins and a variety of different cakes. They really have anything to satisfy your sweet tooth and caffeine cravings. However, my favorite part about this coffee shop is that on any given Sunday, you are guaranteed to see cute dogs coming in with their owners. James has an incredibly laid back and easy-going vibe, which is why I love it so much. Many of my weekends with my family involved hours of chatter at this coffee shop without realizing time was truly passing. I would definitely recommend checking out this coffee shop, with the promise of seeing a cute dog, a good cup of coffee and maybe even a sweet gift from the gift shop!


    My Order: Iced Vanilla Latte

  3. 3. Better Buzz Coffee 

    Life’s Better Buzzed! Not my words, this is the Better Buzzed motto! I think the buzz they are referring to is the caffeine buzz. 😉 Better Buzzed Coffee is another great coffee shop in San Diego. My favorite part about this coffee shop is that it is right across the street from the beach. (The Mission Beach location) Whenever my family is in town, we love to get our coffees and enjoy them as we stroll along the beach. I absolutely adore the interior décor of this place. The open windows funneling in a beach breeze and the dark brown wood floors mixed with perfect number of catchy quotes on the wall makes this an amazing place to spend your time. Aside from the fresh coffee, Better Buzzed has put its own spin on tasty foods such as açaí bowls, avocado toast and other baked treats! If you’re looking for the perfect place to spend a sunny afternoon with some great company, I would say that this is your place!


    My Order: Hazelnut Latte (Iced) or a Chai Tea (Iced)

  4. 4. Coffee and Tea Collective

    Coffee and Tea Collective is not as big or crowded as most of these other coffee shops, but it is quaint and cozy. I would say this is the perfect place to study or have some alone time. The simple and quiet nature of this coffee shop is what I really like about it. The minimalist décor and branded coffee-ware makes this place as original as it gets, not to mention they import their very own coffee beans! When it comes to a latte, they hit the nail on the head, with the perfect amount of sweet, but slight bitterness of coffee and of course the charming latte art on top! Nevertheless, this is a really good place to get work done or simply take some quiet time for yourself.


    My Order: Vanilla Latte (Hot)

  5. 5. Dark Horse Coffee

    A remotely small coffee shop with a specialty in vegan donuts. Dark Horse coffee is quaint place with excellent service and even better coffee. Although I have only been to this coffee shop once, I really liked its simple set up and friendly staff.


    My Order: Cold Brew

Some of my best memories have been through sharing a cup of coffee with my friends and family! All of these coffee shops hold a special place in my heart because of the memories that I was able to create with some of my favorite people. My hope is that other people will be able to share this same feeling of connectedness when they visit these places, even if it is just over a cup of coffee!