I’ve mentioned many times here how much I love Portland, OR. Like most Portlanders, one of the things I love most is the coffee culture. I make a habit of frequenting cafes in Portland because I feel so gratified by way the good coffee shops there do the simple things well and with care.
Because I find that experience so satisfying when it’s well done, it’s quite galling to me to have a bad coffee shop experience. Well, when I was in San Diego last week, I didn’t just have a bad coffee shop experience — I had the worst one.
San Diego, you really let me down on this one.
So, I googled “best coffee San Diego” and one of the top listed results was this “cool,” and “hip” place in the “trendy,” “alternative,” Hillcrest district. Perfect — we set off there early on the last morning of our trip.
From the minute we walked in it seemed that something was off. The large coffee shop had a seemingly haphazard decoration and lay out. The thrifted, mis-matched chairs and tables were, I think, supposed to communicate that this was a cool, laid-back coffee shop that didn’t need to work to hard. Instead, I just felt that they hadn’t worked at all. The place un-thought-out to me.
What’s more, the artwork on the walls was all homo-erotic photographs and painting. Suggestive pictures of nude men coyly covering their junk is not what I need first thing in the morning. (Or any time of day, for that matter.) I took the picture below of my dad with one of the pictures in the back ground. As his expression communicates, he was, to say the least, not made more comfortable by their choice of artwork.
Finally, the most grievous sin of all, the coffee was terrible! Tasteless, over-roasted, too-hot and too-old. This was bad coffee. The girl at the counter didn’t ask me if I wanted french press or a pour-over. She didn’t tell me the coffee was single-sourced from a women’s co-op in Guatemala and she certainly didn’t imply that, as the barista, she had some sort of personal, mystical relationship with the beans that had been ground to make the coffee I was drinking. These are all things that, as a Portlander, I’ve come to expect from my coffee shops.
We ordered two bagels to go with our coffees. When it took 50 minutes for two bagels to be prepared, we decided to call it quits. Leaving our coffees three-quarters full on the table, we just left.
We had fun on our trip to San Diego — La Jolla is always beautiful and Balboa Park was a lot of fun — but as far as being able to deliver a simple cup of coffee and a bagel, I would say the city has a ways to go. Sorry, San Diego, but I’m just not that into you.