A Guide to Carlsbad Coffee Shops
Not far from the world-class sparkling shores of Southern California’s sun-drenched Pacific coastline radiates a gem among Carlsbad coffee shops known as Baba Coffee. There, they roast fresh java beans every week, ensuring the highest quality espresso, latte, cappuccino, or caffeine-enriched beverage of your liking; the scrumptious pastries and health-conscious breakfast menu are also worth noting (vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options available). With so much nearby natural beauty to soak in on any given day, start your energy-infused mornings getting swept away by a salty ocean breeze on Baba’s outdoor patio, or when productivity is paramount, take up studious residence at any one of the indoor hardwood tabletops and bask in those good beachside bungalow vibes.
Comfortably nestled in the corner of an unassuming strip mall that sits just a stone’s throw away from the golden state’s one and only freshwater lagoon, the gorgeous Buena Vista Lagoon, of course, is Steady State Roasting. A step inside their ominous tinted windows reveals hardwood floors accentuated by an entirely black brick wall which has sketched unto the surface – in bold white, pencil-looking paint – a classic VW bus being driven by some ridiculously relaxed fully-suited astronaut. The place certainly has accomplished this admirable, productively edgy personality, offers trendy seating amidst cozy quarters, and perhaps most importantly, serves excellent coffee expertly roasted in-house and responsibly sourced from the world’s premier growing regions.
Harboring the java talent that has set forth a tsunami of international acclaim, Bird Rock Coffee Roasters recently earned a once-in-a-lifetime Roaster of the Year award from Roast Magazine, consistently posts winning scores above 90 by Coffee Review, and always has a Q-Grader certified roaster on site. The Carlsbad location is perfect for a cup on the go or when table seating is a must, not to mention, they have a huge firepit table out front that treats guests to some toasty, soul-warming evenings beneath the stars. There are six Bird Rock cafe’s meaningfully placed throughout San Diego, aside from serving the highest quality coffee, each takes pride in providing a platform for local musicians and showcasing masterpieces brushed to magnificence by local artists.
Situated a few sunny blocks from the beach, in the heart of downtown Carlsbad Village, is Sleeping Tiger Coffees, which is a subsidiary of Witch Creek Winery. That friendly note explains how this wonderfully chandelier-lit coffee bar rich with old-world tones ended up having countless barrels full of award-winning wines stacked high to its ceiling. Venturing beyond their parent business’s familiar realm of sommeliers, Sleeping Tiger attracts cappuccino connoisseurs who can’t wait to get their hands on single-origin, fair-trade organic coffees that are sweetened by natural house-made syrups; e.g. the vanilla is made with 100% Madagascar vanilla beans.
Don’t forget to check out their super photogenic, streetside mural featuring white tigers getting drenched in colorful streams of paint. However, the big cat holding an umbrella with its tail seems to have wittingly avoided a torrential rainbow downpour.
Beside the scenic footpath that is north county’s Coastal Rail Trail exists a garden oasis teeming with vibrant vegetation and all the tranquil comforts of patio relaxation. Consisting of crafty furnishings huddled amidst the serenity-inducing sounds of flowing fountain water and crackling fireplaces, Succulent Cafe is where green nursery meets premier coffee shop experience in a desirably peaceful fashion. They offer a full menu of coffee, pastries, and rather uniquely, any of the plants you see arranged around the yard; if imagining a better getaway seems difficult, might we add, the place is very dog friendly and even has treats and water for your adorable pup.
The husband and wife duo operating Copa Vida originally began their entrepreneurial journey with a lone noodle shop, following the sale of that first business, they looked forward to bringing about a community-oriented cafe where anybody could feel welcome. Their Carlsbad coffee stand does just the trick out of a beautifully renovated shipping container plopped atop an outdoor terrace positioned in the middle of professional office buildings. When it comes to java, Copa Vida brilliantly partners with multiple roasters in an effort to consistently showcase a variety of flavors and tastes that are savored by a myriad of palettes.
Cafe Ground Up brings traditional Italian style to the village of Carlsbad, and this comes as no surprise considering the owner, chef Gaetano Cicciotti, also proudly runs two delicious San Diego restaurants that share his last name. The lively, green-tinged interior of this chef’s most recent venture offers plenty of tabletop workspace in conjunction with plush armchairs perfect for comfortable conversation. Be sure to enjoy their exclusively delectable treats, such as homemade Gelato, Tiramisu, and specialty drinks like Caramel Bianco and Caffe Brasiliano.
What INVITA lacks in sheer square footage, they more than make up for with hard to come by specialty coffee beans, stylish but sparse patio seating, and interior design intricacies akin to shiny copper tones aesthetically gleaming about a jet-black background. This cozy little cafe utilizes world-class coffee blends made by Lavazza, which is a family-owned company based out of Torino Italy that has been doing its legendary thing for over 120 years. You might even run into the next tech billionaire while there as INVITA is physically and seemingly operationally connected to an upscale, entrepreneurial co-working space called Common Grounds.
Founded by a family that’s been operating Carlsbad coffee shops since the early 80s, La Costa Coffee Roasting has been a beloved community gathering point for several decades now. The homey cafe functions as both a roastery and performing arts venue, considering local musicians are frequently booked to have their soothing melodies echoed throughout this gracious space.
Cafe Elysa tugs on the heartstrings of locals and tourists alike, it is one of the few palm tree encircled Carlsbad coffee shops that sits just steps away from Southern California’s dreamy Pacific coastline. The beachside bungalow snuggled along PCH, mostly known for its gorgeous communal patio, certainly emits a humble charm any beloved hometown joint could hang their hat on. As far as fare goes, one can expect quality joe at a reasonable price and classic American breakfast/lunch plates.
If you enjoyed this guide to the best Carlsbad coffee shops, be sure to check out our list of the Top 20 Coffee Shops in San Diego County!