Caffeine Fiend: Bird Rock Coffee Roasters


Tucked away between the roundabouts of La Jolla Boulevard, Bird Rock Coffee Roasters has firmly planted its roots with a solid customer base in La Jolla. This small coffeehouse is unnoticeable from the outside, but a true caffeine fiend would not turn away this hidden treasure. Bird Rock was awarded the 2012 Micro Roaster of the Year by Roast Magazine and humbly boasts its title throughout the coffee shop in both its awards along the walls and more importantly, its coffee.

Walking into this shop, you can tell they take their coffee seriously. With a coffee roaster in the back of the store and a group of well-versed baristas, this is the spot for coffee snobs and food lovers alike. Just talk to any of the baristas; they would be more than happy to talk about the whole roasting process, down to the very strand of coffee beans they use. And if you’re dying to know how to make them at home, the shop provides classes on how to brew and make your own espresso drinks starting at $55 per session.

The coffee shop posts a short list of espresso drinks up on the wall above the espresso bar as well as a separate bar for drip coffee. The list of espresso drinks are not nearly as extensive as other coffee shops, but it still provides the regular espresso shots and lattes along with some of their own creations. These include the Trophy Wife (macadamia nut latte) and Sugar Daddy (Mexican mocha) starting at $3.95 for a 12-ounce cup. Both are great drinks, hitting all the right notes, but are not as sweet as one would expect. Bird Rock’s most popular drink is the good and faithful cappuccino — foamy and brewed to perfection with a leaf design on the foam. Decently priced at $2.95 for 8 ounces and up to $4.45 for 20 ounces, the cappuccino is worth the wait. However, if you are looking for a caffeine kick, you will be greatly disappointed — all of the espresso drinks have the same amount of caffeine despite the size.

The real star of this establishment is its drip coffee. In addition to a natural decaf roast, it provides both a light roast and a dark roast in a separate area for their drip coffee. Starting at a mere $1.40 for 8 ounces and comparable $2.35 for 20 ounces, this coffee is a great deal. Due to its special roasting practices, the coffee possess the artisan flair, such as a hint of orange or dark chocolate as endnotes, that most coffee shops don’t possess. If that doesn’t make you want to run over to placate your caffeine fix, the $1 refills will.

The coffee at this shop is as diverse as its community — from indie rocking hipsters to yuppies stealing the neighborhood Internet and everything in between. So if you’re a highbrow coffee expert, this hidden gem is sure to serve only the finest.