Coffee is such an important key to college success... and LIFE for that matter. We know the struggles of picking a coffee shop that is equally hip and cute as it is delicious. So we created a guide to all of San Diego's best coffee shops that will never disappoint!

This guide will give you a little help on what each coffee shop has to offer in terms of coffee, food, and the overall vibe of the coffee shop. 

Communal Coffee

Communal Coffee is the newest and most hip coffee shop in North Park, San Diego. Communal is not only a coffee shop but also a flower shop called Native Poppy! The coffee shop is just as adorable inside as it is outside. Always a great place to snap a cute pic. 

Ashley Tanga

Most importantly, Communal Coffee has latte flights and some of the most delicious avocado toast. Their latte flights can be ordered hot or iced or even a combo of hot and iced drinks. They include a regular latte, a vanilla latte, and a lavender latte.

Alessandra Tacconelli

It always has fresh flowers available at the shop, and to order. If you're lucky, you'll get to see adorable flower crowns being made while you sip your coffee. 

Better Buzz 

A San Diego classic—there is no coffee lover in the county that hasn't heard of Better Buzz. With six locations, there is always a Better Buzz near you. Plus, they even have drive thru's at some locations for those who need their joe on the go! Better Buzz is known for their "Best Drink Ever:" a classic Americano with their signature creamy vanilla.

Not only do they have amazing coffee drinks and flavors but they also have amazing food and snacks. Whether you're up for avo toast, an açaí bowl, or a panini, you won't go wrong with any choice—they're all delicious.

Copa Vida

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Copa Vida is a hip coffee shop tucked into the Gas Lamp District, right next to the Padres baseball field. Copa Vida is one of the cutest and community-centered coffee shops San Diego has to offer. 

coffee, cappuccino, espresso, milk, mocha
Alessandra Tacconelli

Not only is their coffee amazing and brewed to perfection, but they also make every coffee and tea lover feel at home and feel as though they are part of the Copa Vida family.  

A photo posted by Copa Vida (@copa_vida) on

In addition to their coffees and teas, Copa Vida has a breakfast, weekend brunch, and lunch menu. They have a wide selection of delicious and healthy salads and sandwiches, as well as tasty breakfasts like French toast, baked eggs, or toast and jam. All perfect additions to your morning coffee! 

A photo posted by Copa Vida (@copa_vida) on

James Coffee Co.

You can find James Coffee Co. in a funky warehouse building in Little Italy. The warehouse includes different businesses, with James Coffee Co. being the center of attention (and the main attraction). 

beer, tea
Alessandra Tacconelli

James Coffee Co. has unique coffee flavors like espresso with cinnamon and honey, espresso with condensed milk and nutmeg, espresso with housemate vanilla or brown sugar and espresso with Mexican chocolate. James Coffee Co. is all about owls and they even have an awesome owl mural that makes for the perfect Instagram opportunity. 

Dark Horse Coffee Roaster

Dark Horse Coffee Roasters has several different locations, all unique in their own ways. But one thing they all have in common is their vegan donuts. That's right, ladies and gents, VEGAN DONUTS. They get these wonderful vegan creations from Skinny Donuts and their flavors include maple, chocolate, pumpkin spice and more.

Alessandra Tacconelli


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Holsem coffee's name translates directly into its mission: to brew each cup with nothing but the purest of ingredients. In addition to their flavorful brew, Holsem creates coffee with intense and unique flavors. From gingersnap to banana, their flavor pairings express the best in ever single cup.

bread, cream
Ashley Tanga

Holesm has not only an amazing variety of unique drinks to choose from, but also has sandwiches, paninis, and many different delicious treats to choose from including their chia pudding and a vast array of delicious pastries.

Cafe Bassam

beer, wine
Hailey Ennis

Stepping into Cafe Bassam is a transforming experience. The moment you cross the threshold, you are no longer on Bankers Hill; instead, it's as if you are in a small European city sipping coffee alongside people and objects rich with grand culture. In addition to their list of coffee offerings, they serve wine, beer, and spirits. 

coffee, espresso
Hailey Ennis

Cafe Bassam offers more than just old romantic charm. Up on their chalkboard, you can find a classic list of coffees, a few specialty drinks, and a food menu that includes everything from paninis to parfaits. In addition to their menu, Cafe Bassam's entire back wall is dedicated to unique, bold, and artfully crafted teas for all the non-coffee drinkers out there. 

Next time you're in need of a study spot or coffee date and can't think of where to go, remember to check out our San Diego Coffee Guide to find a place thats perfect for the occasion!