I’ve been frequenting places along El Cajon Boulevard for a few years now and been on my own personal crusade to help clean it up. So I was thrilled a few months back when a new coffee spot opened up near 30th and ECB. Let’s talk about the good folks at Coffee and Tea Collective.
So, the North Park Community Association–a group most known for organizing and raising money for the Bird Park Summer Concerts–has over the last several years made improving all of our community an important goal. What I’ve found interesting and cool is that the most important improvements to the stretch of El Cajon Boulevard in North Park over the past five years have been the opening of honest, energetic small businesses. One of the most recent additions is a group who take creating a great cup of coffee as seriously as, well, I dunno, serious other things. Point is, it’s a cool spot. Here’s a bit about them in their own words. In solidarity with BikeSD–note the post about North Park bike improvements–and the San Diego Bicycle Coalition (and lovers of leaving your car at home, generally) I rode my bike down this morning after we had a coffee situation with our own now-old coffee maker.
The photo above is the charming little wagon that sits out in front. They’ve even created a kind of mini-sidewalk cafe that I couldn’t capture in photo because I didn’t want to creep the other people out. But it’s there. They even have a bike rack that, while not as cool as the one in front of The Linkery, is decent looking and functional. Here it is being installed (it was all the way in when I got there).
The above photo is from My City By Bike. As I meandered inside I remembered the owner Daniel, who I’d seen the day they opened. A warm guy who I remembered having a nice aura about him. Sure enough, as I started to ask about what “pour over” meant and his passion for coffee came to life I remembered why I was so happy about this place. Daniel explained that “pour over” really describes any type of coffee preparation where the water is poured over the grounds to get you your coffee. Here’s a note I found on the Internets describing it. Daniel explained how he’d first discovered it while having some Intelligentsia up in Venice, then taken classes and poured thousands of cups and then I snapped this photo.
I wondered as I took my first sip if San Diego Joe had been through here. (random aside: I went to her blog for the first time to put in a link and guess who the last place she’d went for coffee was? This one! Very cool. Click her link for better photos, too) While I love a range of tastes and foods, my coffee palate is a bit muted. So I can tell if something is extremely good, just okay, or bad. No real gradations for me. This one fell into the extremely good category. It’s great to see people take chances on small businesses. Having had a couple that were of varying degrees of successful, I can appreciate the stress and excitement of taking these chances. It’s why we should, in my opinion, celebrate their successes and encourage more of it. And it’s why, whenever businesses show themselves to be about embracing the community–not just as a marketing stunt but because they value that relationship–I try to encourage my friends and colleagues to support.
Coffee and Tea Collective is helping improve our community without turning it into something it’s not. Riding, walking or (if you must) driving a bit out of your way to give them a try is a good way to try a new place and support people who care. Thanks for reading, please drop me a note if there are other places on the boulevard I ought to check out.
Reposted as part of SD Free Press efforts at expanding our neighborhood coverage in the coming weeks. (It does say ‘Grassroots News’ up in the banner. And other neighborhoods shouldn’t be jealous, we’re headed your way as the year moves along.) So if you live or work in North Park and would like to pen a neighborhood-centric essay, drop us a line. Contact@SanDiegoFreePress.org