Grab a mug, and pull up a seat. This week, join our two Lifestyle editors as they sip their way through San Diego looking for the best bean and brew.
2911 University Ave San Diego, CA 92104
Sunday – Wednesday 7 a.m. – 8 p.m. Thursday – Saturday 7 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Annika Olives: In most coffee shops I go to, I ask the person taking my order for recommendations, and that’s usually what I go with. For me, Holsem has the best coffee so far. I got the Woods latte, and it was more of — almost savory, which made it interesting. But it was unlike your regular cappuccino or anything you could get from a coffee shop.
Brittney Lu: I think I got something with honey.
AO: You always get something with honey.
BL: But that’s what makes me consistent; so I can compare coffee better. I think it was the honeycomb coffee. But there were a lot of coffee grounds, almost half of it was grainy. I just remember Holsem being so expensive.
AO: Also there were insane Wi-Fi problems that day, which was kind of a problem. I think Holsem had a really classic, streamlined design that carried through the entire cafe, but it was pretty small.
BL: Parking was a nightmare though.
AO: I think the name Holsem itself is pretty cool, how it’s a play on “wholesome.” I almost feel like I have to be dressed up to go here, though, like I’ll feel out of place if I’m not looking my best.
3933 30th St. San Diego, CA 92104
Monday – Tuesday 6 a.m. – 3 p.m. Wednesday – Friday 6 a.m. – 11 p.m. Saturday – Sunday 7 a.m. – 11 p.m.
BL: Knock-off European cafe.
AO: To me, it was aesthetically underwhelming because it was so hyped up by my friend originally. I’ve also never been to a pizza place for coffee, so that was a little unsettling. I’m also a person that likes natural light, but Calabria only had two windows in the front, so it was pretty dark. The space is pretty big but navigating it takes a bit of thinking through.
BL: I would say that it’s unique to see their grinding process and get a more industrial edge to a coffee shop; though it makes work spaces difficult to utilize well due to noise. And you got a Nutella cappuccino?
AO: That was pretty good, but a lot smaller than I expected. And not overwhelmingly sweet.
BL: The desserts there looked really good, I wish I wasn’t too cheap to have bought one. The biscottis looked pretty tempting.
AO: I liked how authentically Italian the food was.
BL: But I think they were trying too hard to be “Italian” in decoration.
2860 Sims Rd San Diego, CA 92106
Sunday – Thursday 7 a.m. – 10 p.m. Friday – Saturday 7 a.m. – 11 p.m.
AO: I just remember this was expensive, but their space and communal tables were a big plus. It’s nice that they had a shop inside too, so it’s not just a sit-and-sip sort of space. And it’s right by Liberty Public Market so there’s a lot to do.
BL: We both got the Venetian, right? But I was lame and ordered it to go, at least you got a nice glass mug. Oddly enough, I remember their hexagonal tile floors.
AO: And they have really high quality stamp cards.
BL: But overall, the coffee itself was just OK. I think the experience and ambiance makes it what it is. I remember the music was jazzy — smooth touch. What does Moniker even mean? Google says it’s just “a name.” Original.
Forum Coffee House
4340 Genesee Ave Ste. #110 San Diego, CA 92117
Monday – Friday 8 a.m. – 10 p.m. Saturday 9 a.m. – 10 p.m. Sunday 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.
AO: This might be a weird comment, but I like the ceiling height in here. You know the psychology thing, where higher ceilings can lead to more creative ideas? That’s the vibe I’m getting … Do I mix these rosebuds in [to the rosebud white mocha]?
BL: I think so? Are they just here for aesthetic purposes? I don’t know.
AO: Thank you barista lady, this is the best white mocha I’ve ever had. You taste the rose!
BL: I was just here on Wednesday too, I really like this place. I think they are pretty innovative with their flavors. Also, the community here is so kind. A guy just offered us his table; I feel like at other places possibly due to a reflection of the neighborhood vibe — but this place doesn’t make me afraid to approach someone else. I like that.
AO: I like the space, it’s homey and it reminds me of my favorite coffee space back home.
It may not be as aesthetic as other spaces we’ve been to, but it’s definitely homey. I think the other places were too artisanal for me; this place has good coffee, but they’re not trying too hard.
BL: Also, this place is really reasonably priced, they have their own parking lot, and it’s decently close to campus.
AO: Great job, Forum. I’d come back.
BL: This is my fifth time back.