Coffee Good Enough for a Smuggler

Baba Coffee
2727 State Street, #100
Carlsbad, CA 92009
Open 6 to 6, 7 days a week

This month’s adventure took us north to Carlsbad where we visited Baba, a coffee shop we’ve heard lots of buzz about. It opened in January and has already captured the attention of many who suggested we give it a try.

Baba is named after a 16th century coffee smuggler. Popular Indian lore states Baba Budan discovered the wonders of coffee and was eager to grow his own. He smuggled seven coffee beans hidden in his beard from the port of Mocha, Yemen to plant when he returned home.

Today, you don’t have to be a smuggler to enjoy a delicious cup of coffee. I had a delicious, pretty-as-a-picture, latte and Patty enjoyed a made-to-order dark roast drip. It, of course, took a few minutes, but was definitely worth the wait.

Latte art

We just missed meeting the owner, but he definitely has his finger on the pulse of what people want in their neighborhood coffee shop. The store is modern, welcoming, and a hubbub of activity. They offer an extensive menu (we heard avocado toast is a favorite), lots of bakery items, and, a plethora of coffee options.

They buy their beans and Pannikin roasts them. Parking is easy and there is inside and patio seating.

Definitely worth a stop if you are in the area or you’re in the mood for a coffee adventure.



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A Place to Chill

Cool Down Coffee,
750 E. St. (at I-5 exit E St.)
Chula Vista, CA 91910

Need a place to cool down after a run or just chill after a stressful day at work? This is the place for you! The atmosphere is comfortable & relaxing, encouraging conversation instead of computers. Not that computers aren’t welcome, but in our 2 hour visit no one was on their cell phone or laptop. They also encourage exercise…see the last paragraph here for a direct quote from them on this subject.

Comfortable seating

It’s the coffee we were after and we weren’t disappointed. My cold brew with a splash of cream was excellent! It was bold, not watered down as sometimes happens with iced beverages. Helen’s cappuccino was exceptional. Their beans are roasted in Mexico. If you’re here for food there are the usual breakfast choices, including a bagel with cream cheese & coffee for $4.00 (ask for their “grab n’ go” special).

Friendly staff & delicious choices greeted us

The parking lot is for the trolley blue line, but there are about 8 green spots reserved for Cool Down customers. Cool Down is open Mon.-Fri. 6:30am to 3:00pm and Sat. 7:30am to 3:00pm, closed Sundays.

Inspiring messages in English & Spanish

A direct quote from their website:  At Cool Down Coffee, we would like to serve our community by giving ideas as far as workout routines, different exercises, programs to meet various goals–whether they are to lose weight, gain muscle, move faster, or simply just exercise for stress relief.  Begin with going out for a walk!

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Blue Bottle Has Arrived in San Diego

One Paseo Place
3725 Paseo Place, Unit 1060
San Diego, CA 92130
open 7AM to 7PM
Blue Bottle Coffee was started in early 2000s, but they have grown to a network of cafes across the United States and Japan. One week ago, San Diego got their first Blue Bottle. So, of course, off we went to investigate.

Look for this blue bottle on the building.

The store is sleek, modern, and prides itself in the presentation of its coffee with a Japanese sensibility.

The coffee is made in full view and I watched every step of my Bella Donovan au lait being made. The presentation made my heart soar with coffee delight. I loved the beauty of the glass mug and the art heart and leaf. It is said that we eat with our eyes first, and similarly, we drink with our eyes first in a beautifully presented cup of coffee.

Watch as your pour over is created.

The ambience may not be your typical coffee shop look, but we found a cozy corner to enjoy our coffees and chat and catch upon on our recent adventures. Patty had the Myanmar coffee which had a subtler, less bitter taste than mine. Both of us enjoyed our coffees, the kind and informative employees, and the ambience. 
The shopping area is still being completed and few stores are currently open for business so parking was easy when we arrived at 8:30. 
Be sure to take your credit card as the shop is a cashless one. They don’t have WIFI (also no plugs for electronic devices) as they want to encourage guests to talk with each other, but the mall does have WIFI. 
They host special events to help you learn more about coffee and they’ll be posting them on their website. You can sign up to receive notifications for the events.
They will be opening a downtown location in the near future. 
You can read their whole story and other locations at their website:
Definitely worth checking out!

Their graceful glass mugs are available for purchase.



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All Organic Coffee

Clairemont Coffee
3095 Clairemont Dr. (at Iroquois Ave.)
San Diego, CA 92117

No need to inquire if your coffee is organic here…every cup is! Their coffee is roasted by San Diego Coffee Co., roasting coffee since 1978 ( Choose from options of lattes, cappuccino, Americano, and blended coffees such as Vietnamese (hot or cold), plus teas, smoothies, and kombucha. Bags of their beans are available for purchase, too.
The shop is a popular neighborhood gathering place with comfortable leather chairs or table seating, books and toys for kids. Dogs are welcome, too.  Scones and other Bread and Cie breads are available, as well as Acai bowls and an assortment of ice cream.

Art is everywhere, from a fanciful mural filling one wall to small paintings on another and even on the ceiling! The big mural was done by Debi Winger. The smaller paintings are for sale and very reasonably priced.

Fanciful mural by Debi Winger

Art is for sale or just enjoy it while you enjoy your coffee.





Parking is free & plentiful in their front lot (at least we didn’t have any trouble). WIFI is free, of course. Stop by any time Mon.-Fri. from 6:00am to 8:00pm or Sat./Sun. from 7:00am to 8:00pm.

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New Spot in South Park

Seven Seas Roasting Company
1947 Fern St.
San Diego, CA 92102
Monday — Sunday 6 AM to 2 PM

No need to sail the seven seas to enjoy Seven Seas Roasting Company. It’s the new kid on the block in South Park.

I first came across Seven Seas Roasting at the Pacific Beach farmer’s market (on Tuesday afternoons) and learned they were opening their storefront. Seven weeks ago they opened and they seem to already have a following.

Their fabulous outdoor signage looks like it has sailed the seven seas. It was so fascinating, we asked about it. Turns out the artist recently made it for them and immediately turned it into a vintage relic.

Next the octopus tentacles crawling along the floor and up the walls caught our attention. We learned they were painted by the tattoo artist who has the neighboring shop.

They roast their coffee onsite and the lovely smell fills the shop. The aroma, the ambience, and friendly staff make this an enjoyable stop on any coffee adventure. (Not to mention the scones.)
Yes, the coffee is delicious. Yes, we’re fans!

They started their company in 2017 and next on their plans is opening a new store in Aliso Viejo.

Stop by their storefront or visit Pacific Beach, Little Italy, and La Jolla farmer markets and catch them there. Visit their website to learn more about this company.

We’re looking forward to see how they grow!


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Coffee for a Cause

A  7.0 earthquake hit Haiti in January 2010, taking over 100,000 lives and leaving many homeless. Edeline Felizor, a Haitian teacher and nurse, was crushed under rubble with life threatening injuries, but she was more concerned for the children, many of whom were left homeless.  In 2011 she established Project Edeline to aid students in Beudet, Haiti. It provides education, clean water, food, and healthcare to children in need. Their goal is to offer sponsorships for students and salary for teachers through donations. Read more about the project at or contribute through

If you live in San Diego you can help through coffee.  By purchasing a 12 oz. bag of Singing Rooster Coffee for $12 at La Jolla Shores Physical Therapy, 100% of the profit goes to Project Edeline. Select your beans at 8080 El Paseo Grande, La Jolla CA, 92037 (above La Jolla Kayak on Avenida de la Playa). Call or email for their hours & current supply of coffee: 858-454-5545 or The bags of coffee are available in ground or whole Arabica beans in medium to dark roasts. I can vouch for the quality of the coffee…it was robust & delicious! No shipping is done from this location.

Singing Rooster does offer shipping, however, a purchase through Singing Rooster doesn’t offer a direct contribution to Project Edeline. They are, though, a Haitian Farm Direct company and any purchases to a Haitian company ultimately helps the big picture. See

Read about sponsors & organizers, some from San Diego: They are a 501 C3 Organization.

Check out the adorable student photos here:

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To the Point for Coffee

Point Loma Coffee
1302 Rosecrans (entrance faces Dickens)
San Diego, CA 92106

Portside Coffee and Gelato
2614 Shelter Island Dr. (at Anchorage Dr.)
San Diego, Ca 92106

Coffee can be enjoyed in their tech retail space or outside.

There are 2 new coffee shops in Point Loma, so we decided to check them out at the same time. Point Loma Coffee recently changed names from Tech Outfitters to Point Loma Coffee. There was no ownership change and no product change, just a name change to better reflect the 2 products they sell:  coffee and technology. Tech Outfitters will still offer tech assistance and sell tech related items.

You can relax in their retail space in comfortable chairs while sipping a coffee drink from Point Loma Coffee. That’s where we enjoyed our holiday coffee fantasy, a Candy Cane Red Velvet Mocha…the best specialty coffee drink I’ve ever had! This phrase may be over used, but in this case it’s true.

They only serve locally roasted coffees, but we have so many roasters in San Diego that they rotate their selection. The week we were there they had brewed OB Beans, Seven Seas, and Manzanita. Websites for their current coffees are OB Beans, Seven Seas Roasting, Manzanita Roasting

Our twin cups of heavenly Red Velvet.

They also have a few unique coffee options, such as their Cascara Fizz made from the dried cherries of the coffee plant topped with sparkling water. Perfect on a hot day! Or try their holiday beverages, such as the Candy Cane Mocha we had or a Salted Maple Latte.

Parking is free & usually easy to find on Dickens St. (with a 2 hour time limit). They open at 7:00am Mon.-Fri. and at 8:00am Sat. & Sun.  Closing is at 7:00pm daily except Sun. has a 2:00pm closure. Come for Happy Hour where your 2nd coffee (of equal value) is free from 2-4pm Mon.-Fri.


Nearby is Portside, a coffee & gelato option next to the new Ketch Grill on Shelter Island Dr. Their coffee is locally roasted by Café Moto ( Pastries are made in house and ice cream is made to order by an Arizona company. It’s a tiny space, but has plenty of outdoor seating.

They are part of the Brigantine Group of restaurants. Look for Portside Coffee to expand when the Brigantine opens their group of restaurants along Harbor Dr. (where Anthony’s used to be). Parking is metered at the Shelter Island Dr. location and will be also be metered when their Harbor Dr. location opens. This location is open 6:00am to 9:00pm daily.

Portside Coffee is built to look like a cargo container.


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