This last Friday, January 20th marked the 4th annual San Diego Caffeine Crawl, the 57th crawl overall, and most importantly, the 1st featuring North County craft coffee and tea purveyors from Oceanside and Carlsbad.
One of my favorite things about North County’s culinary scene is the camaraderie and support the Chefs and Owners show to one another. This is also true for the craft beverage scene up here as well. Everyone involved was excited to be a part of the event and happy to see the Coffee and Tea Scene getting its just deserves. Trust me this is not true everywhere, even San Diego has its fair share of cut throat competition (though events like the one I just attended at Biga and the chefs involved show that there are exceptions). With the momentum of this years success, hopefully next year will expand to include more participants and probably a 3rd route.
Our guide Pia talking about Caffeine Crawl.
The North County crawl consisted of two routes, starting in Oceanside and Carlsbad and crossing over. Each route had 5 stops and was about 3 miles in length. North County Food covered the Oceanside to Carlsbad route and I enlisted BeersNBytes (a Carlsbad based food website) to cover the Carlsbad route.
*I will include another link at the bottom of the post to check out their coverage and their great website.
The crawl started at Banana Dang! In Oceanside. In addition to being a sponsor and catalyst for bringing the Caffeine crawl to North County, it was Banana Dang’s! 2 year anniversary.
Owners Mario and Thanh-Thanh with Chef Beau Bonham goofing off while I tried to get a serious picture 🙂
Prior to the Crawl Banana Dang! thanked their loyal customers for 2 years of support with free bananas, frozen bananas, Vietnamese Coffee Jell-O Shots, and $2 cappuccino.
Vietnamese Jell-O Shots
Banana art by Maitu and yours truly.
Banana Dang! gave a presentation on their origin and experience in Puerto Rico as an “at origin” coffee shop
Thanh-Thanh talking with the Crawl attendees.
They served 2 different coffees. One from Puerto Rico (Sandra Farms) and another from Nicaragua (Don Isidro) to contrast the mild nature of an “island coffee” versus a high elevation more robust bean. They were both roasted by Manzanita Roasting Company out of Rancho Bernardo.
To complete the Puerto Rican experience, local Chef Beau Bonham made a classic accompaniment of freshly baked Pan De Agua served with Queso Blanco, and Dulce De Lechosa (Papaya cooked in its own syrup with cinnamon and vanilla)
The Second stop was around the corner at Loose Leaf Tea Bar.
Shane explaining what he would be featuring …
Loose Leaf Tea’s Mango Ceylon Tea on nitro.
The group enjoying the offerings and the great mural artwork at Loose Leaf Tea.
Next up was South Oceanside’s Revolution Roasters.
Revolution demonstrated the same coffee made with 3 different water sources. The first was made using distilled water, the second Oceanside tap water, and the third using Revolution’s reverse osmosis water.
The coffee using the tap and distilled were really close in character but you could definitely tell the one made using the reverse osmosis method.
Afterward we headed down to Carlsbad to Steady State Roasting. Steady State Roasting has been around for about 8 months (I believe). This was my first time there and I loved the small space tucked away off State St. in Carlsbad, which it shares with other artist’s workshops.
The funky space that is State Street Roasting.
State Street is entering a roasting competition in Austin later this year and served the Kenyan provided to the roasters. They served the coffee using a 15 min roast and a shorter roast more like the one they would be doing for the competition. The shorter roast definitely had more balance and interesting notes.
The Crawl showed, through the various demos, that so much from what water is used, roasting times, and of course the origin of the bean each have a huge impact on the finished product. That was without even touching on temperature, machines, execution, storage, and on and on.
Final stop on the crawl was Carlsbad’s Baba Coffee.
My pics did not come out so I used one from my previous visit.
While Baba Coffee does not roast, they make a conceded effort to source from the best local purveyors. Their coffee is roasted by Pannikin who also provides them with scratch made baked goods. They served a delicious mint tea with honey from Tea Gallery out of San Diego.
So, happy to be a part of the event, helping out, and experiencing North County’s first Caffeine Crawl. I cannot wait to see what next year brings. We should be able to expand the number of stops and offerings. If you did not get to attend conduct one of your own. You do not have to do it in one day. Introduce yourself to one of the local craft coffee purveyors and ask questions, trust me they love to talk about this stuff.
115 S Coast Highway, Oceanside
The Loose Leaf Tea Bar
408 Mission Ave, Oceanside
1863 S Coast Highway, Oceanside
Steady State Roasting
2680 State Street, Carlsbad
2727 State Street, Carlsbad