Bird Rock Coffee Roasters: Specialty Beans in South La Jolla

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Coffee Sign San Diego

The entire neighborhood of Bird Rock, not just the namesake Bird Rock Coffee Roasters, was entirely off my radar until San Diego native Giselle Wellman shed light on a previously unexplored component of her city’s culinary culture: specialty coffee. The Petrossian West Hollywood executive chef directed me to Zumbar Coffee in Sorrento Valley, and to the bucolic Bird Rock Coffee Roasters, which former English professor Chuck Patton and wife Elke opened in 2007 after graduating from selling beans at area farmers markets.

Coffee San Diego
The Bird Rock space is open air, with a roll up garage door, reclaimed wood accents, bench and table seating. The establishment also contains a glass fronted lab, and a Giesen coffee roaster. Premium equipment includes a La Marzocco Strada three-group espresso machine, Mazzer grinders, and a pourover bar.

Coffee San Diego
My first Espresso ($2.15) incorporated two Sidamos and displayed high acidity.

Coffee San Diego
Kenya Ngunguru, a single origin espresso, was even brighter.

Barista San Diego
Barista Chris O’Brien was the espresso technician during my visit to Bird Rock.

Coffee San Diego
A balanced Cold Brew ($2.25) featured beans from Ethiopia’s Yukro Cooperative.

Coffee Menu San Diego
The menu features a few unconventional choices. Cannonball is undiluted cold brew, Sugar Daddy is a Mexican mocha, and Trophy Wife is macadamia nut latte. Sugar Daddies and Trophy Wives in a ritzy town like La Jolla? Unlikely, I know.

Coffee San Diego
Of course a coffee roaster sells bagged beans. What’s less certain is a company’s commitment to educating customers. Bird Rock’s efforts include posting photos of farmers on the walls and hosting Public Cuppings at 10:30 a.m. on Fridays. Sure, it’s rewarding enough to get good coffee, but I appreciate that the Pattons spotlight the product’s provenance.

Address: 5627 La Jolla Boulevard, San Diego, CA 92037

Bird Rock Coffee Roasters: Specialty Beans in South La Jolla


Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

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