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Archer's Arrow Coffee House in Vista. Photo by Ryan Woldt
Archer's Arrow Coffee House in Vista. Photo by Ryan Woldt
ColumnsRoast! San Diego

Archer’s Arrow Coffee House

Where: Archer’s Arrow Coffee House, 170 Main St, Vista, CA 92084 – Inside The Rylan
Open: M-F 6:30 AM – 4:00 PM, Sat 7:00 AM – 4:00 PM and Sun 7:00 AM – 1:00 PM
What: Cafe Virtuoso Spinnaker Light Roast Blend
Region: Central America
Tasting Notes: Roasted Walnut, Dried Fruit, Baker’s Chocolate
Price: $2.75
What I’m listening to: Okkervil River, “John Allyn Smith Sails”


My first thought walking through the door of Archer’s Arrow Coffee House and Wine bar is: Someone went to Saint Archer’s School of Design.* My second thought is: It’s got swings! My third thought is that this place was designed to generate Instagram posts.

That’s not a complaint, nor is it an old man shaking his fist at the winds of change.** We’ve all benefitted from the added impetus on the visual experience. I like pretty things and pretty places. Don’t you?

Archer’s Arrow is one of several coffee shops and roasters that have popped up in Vista over the past year. With more on the way (stay tuned), the shop can get a foothold in a burgeoning coffee hotspot in North County. The cafe’s location — on the ground floor of the Rylan Apartments, also known for its photo-friendly design — certainly gives them an edge.

Archer's Arrow Coffee House. Photo by Ryan Woldt
Archer’s Arrow Coffee House. Photo by Ryan Woldt

I order a black drip coffee. The counter service is friendly and kind. I’m a bit disappointed the staff behind the coffee bar don’t know what coffee is being served in the batch brew. Still, with some effort, they found the bag for me (appreciated). It is a Cafe Virtuoso Spinnaker*** Light Roast Blend. I know because I lean over to see the bag. Cafe Virtuoso touts ethically and sustainably sourced coffees. This one is certified organic, and the bag claims tasting notes of dried fruit, roasted walnut, and Baker’s chocolate.

I see bags of Vigilante Coffee (Oceanside) on the wall that I assume are available as a premium pour-over.

Archer’s coffee drink menu has unique offerings, including the Violet Espresso Spritzer ($6.50), a double shot of espresso, vanilla, and violet topped with Liquid Death Sparkling water. The shop also offers an affogato, or a double shot of espresso served over vanilla ice cream ($4), which I bet will do well in the summer. Archer’s Arrow uses Monin syrups, offering a wide variety of flavors. I take my simple black coffee to a solo table that has opened up outside.

This morning it is cool, and billowing white clouds float in place as if painted on the ceiling of the sky. Archer’s Arrow and Vista Village, generally, are excellent places to people-watch. Every single table out in front of the building is full.

There are six strollers lined up near the wall where a group of morning walkers has pushed together several tables. There is a new mom in the group. The other walkers have surrounded her in a semi-circle celebrating the latest addition.

A lot of young men with mustaches pass me by. The door to the shop opens and closes in a meditative rhythm. I see many Ugg boots, patterned tights, chunky striped sweaters, and even a vintage Vancouver Grizzlies jersey. Why didn’t anyone tell me the late ‘90s were back in style? I knew it would come back around. I’ll dig out the trunk with all my clothes from high school!

Archer's Arrow Coffee House. Photo by Ryan Woldt
Archer’s Arrow Coffee House. Photo by Ryan Woldt

The owners — Josh and Kat Barille — hope to create a welcoming coffee shop that offers “Approachable Coffee.” That mission is the first thing you see at the top of their website. It seems to be working. In addition to the moms and mustaches, several remote workers tap away on computers inside (all the swings are occupied), and a pair of seniors swap gifts and stories at a table out front.

One gentleman tells everyone within earshot that his pastry is what the Buddha was searching for. Archer’s Arrow has a light food menu primarily consisting of toasts with various spreads and toppings. Every Wednesday, they import donuts from The Goods in Carlsbad Village.

I take it all in while sipping my coffee. Again, Baker’s chocolate dominates — a husky, bold flavor. I’d venture it may have been brewed longer than it should, but as far as a morning warmer on a cool winter morning, it does the trick. There is laughter from the walkers, and I overhear my favorite quote of the day. “Did you know you’re sitting with two women who’ve been chased by a goose?”

*Not a real place.
**I don’t deny that I often take this stance.
***Recently sold and going through some exciting changes.

Always tip your baristas, and be sure to drink good coffee. Get more Bean Journal on or listen to the Roast! West Coast coffee podcast on Spotify. Follow @RoastWestCoast on Instagram.