The author Jess Levy and her dog Athena ordering at the rooftop coffee shop of Kini Koffee, one of the best coffee shops in San Diego

28 Best Coffee Shops in San Diego (in 2023)

Did you know that there are over 800 coffee shops in San Diego? Considering factors such as high-quality coffee, specialty drinks, reliable wifi, and delicious pastries, you’ll have your hands full discovering the best shops around the city.

But never fear – I’m from the San Diego area and I know the very best spots to grab a coffee in the city. In fact, I’m writing this guide at my absolute favorite San Diego coffee shop (keep reading to see which one!) 

In this guide, you’ll find the very best no matter where you’re staying in San Diego. Let’s dive in!

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28 Best San Diego Coffee Shops

Better Buzz

With over 10 locations in San Diego, this quirky modern cafe has the best vanilla drink ever.

A dog with a cup of iced coffee on the outside patio of Better Buzz
My pup enjoying the dog-friendly atmosphere on the outside patio

📍 Google Maps | ☕ Website | 📞 +1 619 269 2740

My all-time favorite cafe in San Diego is Better Buzz, as I do some of my best work here with their strong vanilla lattes. 

Many friends would agree they have the best coffee, and Better Buzz has multiple locations in town. They serve pastries, acai bowls, and breakfast sandwiches with a great space to knock out a bunch of work. This place will keep you buzzing all afternoon.

👉 Don’t Miss: The Better Buzz Encinitas location is within walking distance to the beach and other fun things to do in Encinitas.


Elegant multi-location cafe with tasting flights and floral shops.

Cozy vibe at the outdoor seating area of Communal
The North Park location has great outdoor seating

📍 Google Maps | ☕ Website | 📞 +1 619 363 7737

Communal is your elegant, modern, health-conscious San Diego coffee shop with 3 locations across North Park, South Park, and the San Diego beach town of Oceanside. 

Their specialty is their sweet mint cold brew along with their creative coffee-tasting flights. They truly have great coffee and you’ll find a lot of people working here to use their high-speed wifi. Where else can you go for coffee with a stunning flower shop boutique inside?

👉 Don’t Miss: While the downtown location is the original, the newest Oceanside Communal at Tremont Collective will keep you fueled for all the best things to do in Oceanside.

Lofty Coffee

Artisanal cafe in every major neighborhood with pour-overs, specialty lattes, and fancy toast.

A sunny view of a plate with avocado toast and a mug of coffee on an outdoor table
Besides the coffee and the space, the best breakfast toast around

📍 Google Maps | ☕ Website | 📞 +1 760-230-6747

Lofty Coffee is a local meetup spot with multiple locations around San Diego. Little Italy is their flagship location, but they also have spots in Encinitas, Carlsbad, and more. 

Lofty’s refined drinks and almond milk make it an elevated shop for artisanal tastes. They make pretty latte art and serve high-end breakfast toasts, chia seed parfaits, and gourmet pastries. They have plenty of indoor and outdoor seating but keep in mind you’ll need your own wifi hot spot here. The environment and craft of their drinks keep locals coming back. 

S3 Coffee Bar

A whimsical coloring book-style cafe in Allied Gardens with gold speckled rose lattes.

An illuminated neon sign with pink and gold accents on the interior of the S3 Coffee Bar

📍 Google Maps | ☕ Website | 📞 +1 619 693 5333

S3, situated in the greater San Diego area, wins for one of the most unique spots in town. They infuse character into literally everything from the moment you walk in, from their interior design to their seasonal menu. Have your morning cup with their homemade almond milk accompanied by a piece of their unicorn toast – it might change your life. 

They also have fast wifi and a relaxing ambiance. During Fall, they serve their Pumpkin Spice Lattes in a mini pumpkin. If you’re looking for different, this is it!    

Kini Koffee

Instagram-worthy tiny cafe with an ocean view atop a Del Mar rooftop plaza.

View of the rooftop coffee bar and seating area of Kini Koffee

📍 Google Maps | ☕ Website  

Kini has two locations, one Encinitas drive-thru and one rooftop ocean-view plaza in Del Mar. I love how much outdoor seating their Del Mar location has with an incredible view. It’s great to support a young female-run shop that puts a unique spin on a coffee shop, offering fun colorful cold foams. 

You can be sure your cup won’t be boring at Kini’s. This is a great place to come for an afternoon pick-me-up while catching the sunset, meeting up with a friend, and then walking over to the beach after.  

Dark Horse Coffee Roasters

Your favorite hipster cafe for small-batch handcrafted brews.

📍 Google Maps | ☕ Website | 📞 +1 619 344 0808 

Dark Horse coffee San Diego has 6 locations all around downtown San Diego, including their South Park and North Park locations. Dark Horse’s shop usually has a long wait as they source, roast, and brew amazing small-batch Direct-Trade coffees in-house. 

However, this San Diego coffee shop is best for to-go coffee due to its limited seating. They also serve breakfast sandwiches along with cold foam handcrafted cold brew, espresso, french press, and pour-over varieties.

Superbloom Coffee & Juice

A scenic vegan cafe with walking trails around Mission Bay.

A hammock in between the trees with a scenic view
Grab a drink and hit the scenic trails

📍 Google Maps | ☕ Website | 📞 +1 858 201 7551

Superbloom is a 20-minute walk from Bay Park Coffee and is located inside the Mission Bay Beach Club. Since it’s at San Diego’s Mission Bay, there are plenty of San Diego activities nearby.

They do have some picnic snacks available and outdoor seating, but no wifi so you’ll want to enjoy this spot for the scenic and peaceful ambiance. I usually go here to walk my dog or after a hike or paddle board sesh with friends.

Bird Rock Coffee Roasters

San Diego’s nationally awarded roastery with direct trade beans from farmers.

Coffee from the coffee machine to a mug with small cacti décor in the background

📍 Google Maps | ☕ Website | 📞 +1 619 272 0203

Bird Rock Coffee Roasters is nationally awarded for their direct & fair trade beans. They hold themselves to high coffee standards and have a handful of shops in San Diego. They serve a delectable pour-over bar, lattes, plus a rare form of geisha coffee at $200 a bag. 

They also offer breakfast burritos and other food items for customers that are looking to use the wifi and stay for a while.

👉 Pro Tip: Grammy Award-winning musician Jason Mraz played music in San Diego coffee spots in the early days. He now has a local coffee farm offering rare geisha coffee you can try at Bird Rock Coffee Roasters. 


Cozy artistic cafe with excellent coffee and pastries.

A candle on the table of an outdoor seating area with illuminated string lights around

📍 Google Maps | ☕ Website | 📞 +1 619 282 0437

Lestat’s coffee is really good and the seven-layer bar and other pastries are mouth-watering. This spot stands out for bringing a cozy flair, perfect for sipping and hanging out for hours.

James Coffee

Warehouse-style San Diego cafe with the best honey cinnamon latte.

View of the coffee bar and stools by the glass window and door

📍 Google Maps | ☕ Website | 📞 +1 619 756 7770

James Coffee boasts 3 locations in downtown San Diego with one in Bankers Hill too. 

The decorating style is minimalist with an open-style floor plan and little boutique shops inside. Plus, at the India Street location, planes fly directly over you.

James Coffee offers eco-conscious artisan roasted coffee drinks and pastries made from scratch. They are independently owned in Escondido and offer a thoughtful approach to artisan coffee. Don’t forget to try their famed honey cinnamon latte. 

Cafe Moto

A solar-powered, car-themed roastery in Barrio Logan with a walk-up/drive-up window.

A Siberian Husky drinking water from a glass

📍 Google Maps | ☕ Website | 📞 +1 619 239 6686

Cafe Moto is known for its amazing coffee, and its Barrio Logan neighborhood is home to the best Mexican food in town. For a solar-powered small batch roaster, they do offer a variety of brew methods. 

Moto includes free wifi, but there is limited seating. Come for the bold flavor and stay for their cocoa Oaxaca Mexico drink. 

🚌 Fancy a Tour? San Diego gets a lot of inspiration from our borders, so if you’re looking for a fun coffee crawl, check out a coffee hop from SD to Tijuana.

Brick & Bell Cafe

Charming bakery cafe in the heart of La Jolla.

View of the freshly baked croissants on the iron cooling racks

📍 Google Maps | 📞 +1 858 551 0928

Brick & Bell Cafe used to have two locations but has held on to its original spot in La Jolla. This is a tried and true San Diego cafe with freshly baked pastries, scones, breakfast items, and lunch. They also have a few gluten-free options too. 

Their coffee meets the standard but if you’re looking for specialty drinks, this isn’t first on my list. However, this is a great meeting spot with consistent wifi and outdoor seating options. If you end up sticking around the beautiful area, this cafe is close to some of the best La Jolla restaurants

Pannikin Coffee & Tea

Local’s longstanding independent neighborhood cafe in Encinitas is great for hanging out.

A hand of woman holding a plate with croissant with a half-emptied coffee cup in the background in an outdoor seating area
Relax in the sunshine outside on their patio 

📍 Google Maps | ☕ Website | 📞 +1 760 436 5824

This guide wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the infamous Pannikin. A bright yellow victorian house offers plenty of shaded seating on their patio to enjoy a friendly cup of coffee and brunch. 

If you plan to stay in Encinitas, you’ll want to be close to the Pannikin, as it’s a great pit stop to walk or bike to. 

They have plenty of vegan and gluten-free options and the staff is super down-to-earth. They do not have wifi as this cafe is meant for more of a digital detox and spending time with a book or catching up with a friend type of vibe.

Sleeping Tiger Coffees

Artistic cafe with high-quality beans in the middle of Carlsbad Village and a winery by night.

A coffee on a mug with a glass of wine and sunglasses on a wooden table
It’s a coffee and wine type of afternoon

📍 Google Maps | ☕ Website | 📞 +1 760 720 7499

Sleeping Tiger is noted by the iconic rainbow mural outside their door. Their coffee is on the light roast side and if you plan to work from here, then you’re in luck – they have wifi, comfy chairs, and a restored greenhouse patio. If you plan to venture out of downtown San Diego and visit Sleeping Tiger, stay a while and check out more things to do in Carlsbad.

Bonus points: They share their space with Witch Creek Winery which is a great 2-in-1 spot that turns into a live music winery at night. Coffee lovers who enjoy nightlife can go from brew to brews, and check out the best breweries in San Diego

Achilles Coffee

Solana Beach pour-over kiosk steps from the ocean.

A closeup view of the barista's hands pouring hot water from a pitcher on a drip coffee
Artisanal pour-overs are Achilles specialty

📍 Google Maps | ☕ Website | 📞 +1 858 314 8513

Walk on up to Achilles Coffee, Solana Beach, at the Beachwalk Center for an artisanal pour-over and a delicious breakfast sandwich. They have a few expanded locations in San Diego and this is their North County spot. 

Even though it’s a small shop, they have shaded outdoor seating, perfect for catching up on emails with their free wifi. Achilles is a highlight for its coffee and convenient location to take the dog or grab a drink and walk to the ocean.

Pipes Cafe

Surf-themed espresso bar in Cardiff-by-the-sea blocks from the beach.

A closeup look at the chorizo tortilla scramble and coffee
Nothing like the combo of coffee and eggs by the beach

📍 Google Maps | 📞 +1 760 632 0056

Pipes Cafe is your go-to beach breakfast spot. Pipes has one of the best laid-back ambiances around town, with affordable prices and large-portioned breakfast burrito plates. They have a ton of outdoor seating for all visitors and locals to enjoy. 

They do have free wifi but you won’t find many people working from this brunch and hangout spot. Most importantly, their outdoor coffee bar offers a variety of standard, no-frill coffee drinks in a casual setting.

Spill The Beans

Downtown San Diego cafe is known for grab-n-go bagels and lattes.

Sliced bagels with butter in a small cup and coffee in a paper cup on the table

📍 Google Maps | ☕ Website | 📞 +1 619 233 3836

Spill The Beans has two locations, one off Market Street in the Gaslamp’s East Village, but you must try the Embarcadero harbor location. This location is inside the fun Seaport Village and it’s a perfect outing for grabbing one of their great espresso drinks and wandering around. 

They serve their own coffee label ‘Pot Head Coffee’ as well as unique bagel and cream cheese options. They also have free wifi and it’s a place where you can sit for a while and get some work done. Spill The Beans has a fun vibe with quirky phrases throughout its interior design.

Moniker Coffee

Point Loma’s coffeehouse serves millennial avocado toast inside Liberty Station’s bars, restaurants, boutiques, and art galleries.

A smoking coffee mug on the wooden table

📍 Google Maps | ☕ Website | 📞 +1 619 255 9118

While in San Diego, a visit to Liberty Station is a must! Moniker Coffee is located at this fantastic destination filled with hundreds of restaurants, galleries, and stores. 

It’s a great place people work from with free wifi, cool decor, and beer too. Moniker Coffee is a local roaster in Point Loma and offers elevated espresso drinks and avocado toast. 

Deja Brew Lounge

North Park’s Latina and Asian-owned cafe serves thoughtfully curated drinks & house-made pastries.

A matcha latte on a plastic cup with Deja Brew Lounge banner in the background
Colorful flavor mix-ins are available for unique lattes here

📍 Google Maps | ☕ Website | 📞 +1 619 843 4965

Deja Brew Lounge in North Park is unlike the rest. If you like supporting the coffee shops you go to, then look no further. When two school friends turned entrepreneurs turned business partners pitched their class project idea, they decided to take it full-time.

Deja Brew is now thriving with specialty iced coffee drinks made with a cultural twist. They also have specialties including pandan, marzipan, Vietnamese and Cambodian lattes. They do have wifi, but it’s more of a place to get a drink and a pastry from. 

Next time you’re in North Park, stop by this adorable coffee shop that looks like a house. 


Carlsbad’s hidden gem inside a parking lot that’s an employee-run espresso bar.

Coffee signage above the red door of the Interim
Adventure past the corridor to find the red door

📍 Google Maps | ☕ Website | 📞 +1 760 696 3334

Welcome to Interim Coffee, the hidden gem of Carlsbad. It’s a mini adventure just to find the storefront, but once you discover the red door, experience a vibe that takes you back in time. 

There are two guys here who run the place – owners, baristas, you name it. 

I love their homemade lavender latte. Overall, their drinks are very simple, fine-crafted coffees. This is the opposite of Starbucks so you won’t find any food or super sugary drinks here. 

There are a few peaceful tables outside to sip and hang, but definitely not a place to work from.  

👉 Don’t Miss: Interim is close to LEGOLAND California, one of the top attractions in Carlsbad. Check out my guide to Carlsbad activities for more info!

Camp Coffee Company

Camping-themed specialty drinks in Oceanside with ample indoor and outdoor seating.

Coffee latte topped with marshmallows and crackers in a plastic cup
Yes, you can have roasted smores here

📍 Google Maps | ☕ Website | 📞 +1 442 266 2504

Camping lovers should check out Camp Coffee, located in Oceanside – a beach town about an hour from San Diego proper. Their coffee drinks are delicious with roasted marshmallows and   

Orange infusions. They have fresh pastries and complimentary wifi with a nice patio to work from. 

Besides their unique drinks, the thoughtful baristas offer free pupachinos to dogs, and they are only a few blocks from the beach and farmers market.

📚 Related Reading: If you want to wake up to the sunrise while drinking your coffee, check out the best hotels in Oceanside.  

Living Room Cafe

Cozy La Jolla coffeehouse with top-floor partial ocean-view seating.

Barista making espresso with a coffee machine

📍 Google Maps | ☕ Website | 📞 +1 858 459 1187

Living Room Cafe in La Jolla is a great place to work for hours with a partial ocean view.  

The location is fantastic with plenty of things to do in La Jolla. They have a ton of sugary specialty coffee drinks, along with salads and sandwiches too. 

The cafe is downstairs and the cigar and hookah lounge are on the 2nd floor, but you can work from either floor. People come for the ambiance and stay for the views of La Jolla Shores.

Ascend Coffee Roasters

Free wifi cafe in San Marcos Old California Restaurant Row.

A woman taking a picture with her food and coffee

📍 Google Maps | ☕ Website | 📞 +1 760 744 2112

Ascend Coffee is located in the suburb of San Marcos, CA, about an hour’s drive from downtown San Diego. Originally Old Cal Coffee, Ascend has evolved into many different shops over the years but has stayed a local coffee house serving locally roasted coffee beans. The space itself is one of the more comfortable places to work for students, families, and professionals alike. 

They have free wifi, spacious seating, couches, outdoor fireplaces, live music, and events. They serve delicious sandwiches, juice, and acai bowls, and their coffee menu is full of flavors to meet everyone’s favorite roast. Plus, it’s just steps away from the movie theatre and restaurant row.

Parakeet Cafe

Trendy and health-conscious cafe in Del Mar’s One Paseo upscale shopping plaza.

A closeup look at the oatmeal berries and a cup of coffee

📍 Google Maps | ☕ Website | 📞 +1 858 346 7690

Parakeet Cafe has 3 locations in San Diego – Del Mar, La Jolla, and Little Italy. I prefer the Del Mar location as it’s the largest location, it’s inside the One Paseo plaza, and it’s close to a lot of walkable attractions. 

Each location has hybrid seating choices with a fantastic breakfast menu made with the finest ingredients in health-conscious eateries. I love their chaga and oat milk coffee drink. They have an extensive coffee menu full of elixirs, adaptogens, and vitamins for a more healthy organic cup. The only downside to Parakeet is the lack of wifi, but I think it’s intentional. 

OB Beans

Chill Ocean Beach spot for a casual cup of joe steps from the sand.

A man's hands pouring a pack of coffee beans on a weighing scale

📍 Google Maps | ☕ Website 

OB Beans is one of the most unassuming coffee spots in Ocean Beach, San Diego.  

You can be sure the coffee choices are delightful here as they roast their own beans. Come here to drink, eat a pastry, read a book, or chat with friends. 

It’s a neighborhood joint brewing no-frills coffee drinks and small bites. Many locals and tourists alike enjoy OB Beans for its consistency and hometown feel.

Caffe Caritazza

Coffee cart inside Little Italy dog park with empanadas and free animal entertainment.

A dog looking at a drink on a paper cup on the table
Canine caffeine break

📍 Google Maps | ☕ Website | 📞 +1 619 573 4140

When you visit San Diego, enjoy drinks and cute dogs playing at Caffè Caritàzza, inside the dog park in Little Italy. Bring your laptop and hotspot to work at a table outside in the sunshine. The friendly baristas offer pastries, mochas, dirty chai lattes, and more. 

This is a great community ambiance to meet new friends and furry friends. 

The Cat Cafe

Downtown San Diego cafe for caffeine, cuddles, and cats.

A cat lying inside The Cat Cafe in San Diego

📍 Google Maps | ☕ Website | 📞 +1 619 786 2289

Do you like coffee and cats? I couldn’t finish this guide without including some of the more unique places to experience with your cup of joe in San Diego, CA. This well-run cat cafe is a fun (and, yes, ethical) place for cuddles while grabbing a nice latte or frappe, this is the spot. If you get hangry, they have some snacks and sandwiches too. 

Holy Matcha

The best caffeine alternative shop in town.

The author Jess Levy holding a drink while taking a selfie with the rose wall
Selfie with the rose wall. 

📍 Google Maps | ☕ Website 

If you’re interested in a great cup of matcha, then head on over to San Diego’s Holy Matcha. They have delicious drinks in East Village, within walking distance of nearby museums and the library.

For me, everything tastes better in a pink bright colorful spot, elevating my mood where I can be more creative on my projects.

FAQs About Coffee Shops in San Diego

What is the most well-known coffee shop in San Diego?

Better Buzz is the most well-known coffee shop in San Diego with 14 locations.

What is the best coffee shop in San Diego?

Communal is arguably the best coffee shop in San Diego, with high-quality artisan coffee, coffee flights, cold brew, fast wifi, and a clean aesthetic.

How many coffee shops are in San Diego?

There are over 800 shops listed in San Diego County, plus another few hundred unlisted hidden gems. 


Thanks for reading my guide on the best coffee shops in San Diego. By now I hope you’ve found your perfect cup! Up next, check out this awesome guide to the best time to visit San Diego.

Happy coffee hunting!

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  1. Please try the Coffee Bean in Del Mar – on Jimmy Durante Blvd. Great outdoor garden atmosphere, and quiet location, along with great Coffee, pastries and food.

  2. Mostra ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    Manzanita ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    I’ll be sure to try some on your list!

    1. Thanks Z! Definitely try them out and if you’re in town for a bit, check out my other local SD guides too.

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