An Insider Guide to the Best Coffee in Oceanside


What’s a great town without great coffee? Oceanside’s savvy coffee shops offer plenty of hometown charm in liquid form. Whether steps from Mission Pacific in Downtown Oceanside or a couple of miles away in South Oceanside (“South O” to locals), all along the way, you’ll find one-of-a-kind touches, from custom roasted coffees and alluring local shopping.


A pioneer of the South O coffee scene, Revolution Roasters has been roasting beans since 2009, plus creating made-from-scratch sauces and syrups used in latte drinks, like the popular butterscotch latte. The perfectly crafted bevvies all go great with pastries, like pop-tarts (in cinnamon brown sugar, strawberry lavender, and other seasonal flavors) and chocolate chunk sea salt toffee cookies. Can’t make it to South O? Look for Revolution beans in other coffee shops around town. Revolution Roasters, 1836 S. Coast Hwy., Oceanside


One of the city’s best — and newest — cafes is right at Mission Pacific, so you can drink in the ocean views with your Guatemala drip, flat white, or cold brew. High/Low serves creative fare to go with your sips, hearty breakfasts like crunchy Hawaiian fried rice or Cardiff crack hash, to daytime salads, wraps, and burgers. And, for that “I’m on vacayyyytion” feeling, cocktails are served all day. For breakfast, the Rum and Revolution is made with Revolution Roasters coffee and a splash of Kahlua. High/Low, 201 N. Myers St., Oceanside 


In a historic telephone exchange building, this antique-chic shop boasts a steampunk look and roasts a spin-the-globe selection of coffee beans, from Mexico, Nicaragua, and Colombia, to Sumatra and Ethiopia. Try them in preparations like a flight of three coffees or inventive concoctions like the strawberry white mocha or coconut matcha latte. If those sound tropical to you, try plates from its partner Switchboard Restaurant, with its Hawaiian-meets-Korean menu (tiki fried rice, Korean loco moco). And the house espresso martini is right on trend, made with Oceanside’s own Locals Only vodka, distilled just down the street. North County Roastery, 129 S. Coast Hwy, Oceanside


A locals’ favorite since 2015, this tiny shop’s name combines its attitude toward coffee (bananas!) with the last name of one of the owners. This shop marks the owner’s homecoming of sorts: brought to nearby Camp Pendleton as a 7-year-old Vietnam War refugee and returning to Oceanside as an entrepreneur. They’ll pour you anything from macchiato to Vietnamese coffee, all the better to enjoy with good-for-you smoothies, creative “happy toasts” (avocado to mango), and “semi-sweets,” with an emphasis on plant-based ingredients. Banana Dang Coffee, 115 S. Coast Hwy., Oceanside 


The Rising Co. is one of Oceanside’s most stylish showcases of local artisans for handbags, personalized jewelry, kids’ clothing, lifestyle goods, and coffee. Seaborne Coffee specialties include nitro, cold brew, kombucha, a refreshingly fizzy coffee tonic with a hint of vanilla, or the rose cardamom latte; try yours with house-made almond milk. You’ll appreciate the pick-me-up while you browse. Seaborne Coffee, 332 S. Coast Hwy., Oceanside


In the newly refurbished warehouse known as the Tremont Collective, this chic cafe nails the coffee basics, then takes them to the next level with creative concoctions like sweet mint cold brew and lattes with house-made syrups in flavors like lavender honey, rose vanilla or salted caramel. Not in the mood for coffee? Check out the “not coffee” menu of teas, juices, lemonades, and cocktails. Eclectic breakfasts span classic oatmeal to a toast bar, Turkish eggs, and turkey pesto breakfast sandwich, while afternoon choices cover pizzettes to banh mi, antipasto bowls to Korean Brussels sprouts. Communal Coffee, 602 Tremont St. Ste. 100, Oceanside 


Panels calls itself “your friendly neighborhood comic book/coffee bar.” With or without kids in tow, try specialty drinks like the Wakanda mocha (with coconut and almond) or the ninja turtle (mocha with English toffee and caramel), or snacks like the Hulk smash (chicken pesto provolone panini). You may not be able to leap tall buildings with a single bound, but you will be fortified to peruse the racks of comics — serious collectors come on Wednesdays, when new editions come out. With luck, you’ll be in town for the Saturday Nerd Market, featuring vendors and locals in cosplay. Panels Comic Book Coffee Bar, 713 Mission Ave. Ste. A, Oceanside


Oceanside’s tourism board has partnered with local businesses on a new program called O’side Sips, covering craft coffee shops, Oceanside craft breweries, distilleries, wine-tasting, juice bars, and tea shops. Download the O’Side Sips passport on your mobile device, get discounts, pick up rewards points, and redeem them for swag at the city’s California Welcome Center.

Journal entries