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Chapters Cafe in the Carlsbad City Library on Dove Avenue. Photo by Ryan Woldt
Chapters Cafe in the Carlsbad City Library on Dove Avenue. Photo by Ryan Woldt
ColumnsFood & WineRoast! San Diego

Bean Journal: Chapters Cafe in Carlsbad City Library

Where: Chapters Cafe, 1775 Dove Ln, Carlsbad, CA 92011
Open: 8:00 AM – 2:00 PM Monday – Saturday
What: Black drip coffee
Tasting notes: Bitter chocolate, carbon
Find them at: Order via Grubhub
What I’m listening to: Ted Talks Daily, “The Urgent Risks of Runaway AI

It’s quiet here. I know it is quiet inside the big building in front of me. It is a library, after all, but it is quiet out here too. I’m one of three early-morning visitors to Chapters Cafe in the Carlsbad City Library on Dove Avenue. The other two are already hard at work on their laptops. I sense a bit of annoyance as I wander the courtyard with my pup. They must be hard at work on the next Great American Novel.

There is no annoyance at the register of Chapters Cafe. There is someone working on a computer, but I can’t tell if they work there or not. They never turn around! Momentarily, a barista or cook, or server comes out from inside. I’m guessing they do it all.

They smile and take my order at the window, looking out at the Ann Kulchin Courtyard. How does someone get a courtyard named after them? I order a medium roast batch-brewed coffee.

“No room for cream, please,” I say.

There are plentiful food options, including muffins, pastries, chips, and pre-packaged snacks. They also have a full menu of cold and hot sandwiches featuring Boar’s Head meats and cheeses, just like the deli at the local market. A sign advertises Mac N’ Cheese, which is always tempting.

The courtyard near the entrance to the Carlsbad City Library and Chapters Cafe. Photo by Ryan Woldt
The courtyard is near the entrance to the Carlsbad City Library and Chapters Cafe. Photo by Ryan Woldt

I’m just here for the coffee. The library doesn’t open until 9 a.m., or I’d be here for the books, too. I take my coffee and begin the ever-challenging task of deciding where to sit. There are tall tables and short tables.

There are benches out front and a concrete barrier built to wrap around a tree just begging for someone to sit on. There is even seating inside. I guess seating for about 75 in the courtyard, in case I ever want to return with a really big book club.

I choose a low table under a three-trunked tree. The table is on top of a time capsule that is meant to be buried until 2049. That’s kind of cool. That’s where I sit as I drink my coffee which is…convenient? I mean, it is here at the library. If I want to go to the library and I also want coffee, it is convenient. Did I mention the Mac N’ Cheese?

I sit and listen to the birds and the bugs and the low hum of El Camino Real. I wonder what is buried below. I bet there are a few books and some CDs.* There may be a framed photograph of former Council member Ann Kulchin! I sit, sip the coffee and daydream. Maybe it is my close proximity to so many adventure stories, but my mind seems anxious to wander. Soon the library will open, and I’ll explore the stacks looking for my next read. If I hang out awhile, I may order a sandwich. The menu looks pretty good.

*For our younger audience, a Compact Disc or CD was the popular music storage device used almost exclusively during the later years of the last century. My first CD was “Twelve Inches of Snow” by Canadian reggae rap artist Snow. The best song was “Informer.”

Want to hear the stories of local coffee entrepreneurs or learn how to brew a better cup of coffee at home? Listen to the Coffee People and Coffee Smarter podcasts. You can even stream the latest episodes on The Coast News! Check out the recent episode featuring Craft 42 Roasters.