At 2911 El Cajon Blvd, Coffee and Tea Collective is another North Park project that serves an exceptional product. The whole area is getting richer and richer in local crafts people actively shaping the character of the city.
At Coffee and Tea Collective in North Park San Diego there are just a few simple chairs, in a very clean, almost stark, roastery and coffee cafe. The experience is fairly paired down, and there are very few extra items for sale. You get great coffee and tea, and if you come early enough, an excellent waffle.
But I want to point out that great coffee is easier to get in San Diego, with just a few local gourmet roasters, and that for properly presented gourmet coffee, the emphasis should be on that amazing drink itself.
Today, I saw that the coffee menu inlcuded both a washed Ethiopian Aylele, and a natural Ethiopian Konga. Both are from the Yirgacheffe region of Ethiopia, but from different zones, but each was processed in a different way.
Perfect chance to geek out. I tried the coffees side by side to enjoy the differences, then had a great time talking about them with my husband while taking the beans out of the bag of coffee we bought, to look at the different physical features. It is more fun than it sounds like!. If you havent taken the time to geek out over your food or drink lately, I recommend it!
What I found in the Natural Konga was a remarkable blueberry and bergamot aroma. The aroma became sweeter and fruitier as the coffee cooled. The flavor was similar to overextracted bergamot tea, but in a good way. The finish was astringent, with a slight grassy and menthol sensation.
What I found in the Washed Aylele was a richer and more citric quality. The aroma had red currant and lemon, but less berry qualities to it than the natural. The flavor was cleaner with black tea notes, with a long clean, lemon and lime finish.
I admit that my favorite was the wilder natural, which was “technically” a lower scoring coffee, which I might have roasted differently, but I loved it, and I havent roasted a bean in years, so what do I know?
I know that everyone in San Diego needs to go try those two coffees next to each other and give me notes on your experience. If your coffee just tastes like coffee switch to a caffeine drip machine, or upgrade to something that changes your life!
OH! And of note for local restaurants is that they have a growing wholesale program, for those who are ready to upgrade their coffee program to rival a good wine list.