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Lofty Coffee along El Camino Real in Carlsbad's La Costa neighborhood. Photo by Ryan Woldt
Lofty Coffee along El Camino Real in Carlsbad's La Costa neighborhood. Photo by Ryan Woldt
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Bean Journal: Lofty Coffee (La Costa)

Where: Lofty Coffee (La Costa), 7740 El Camino Real Unit A, Carlsbad, CA 92009
Open: Mon-Fri 6:30 AM – 2:00 PM & Sat-Sun till 3:00 PM (Kitchen closes earlier)
What: Espresso shot (dark chocolate, coffee blossom, caramel) & a drip (caramel, sweet Lemon, cocoa). Find them at:
What I’m listening to: Tasting & Cupping with Siri Simran Khalsa of Lofty Coffee Company (Podcast)

I’ve seen the Lofty Coffee sign on the backside of the bright white shopping center looming over El Camino Real at La Costa Ave, but I’ve never stopped. Why would I? There is another Lofty Coffee a few short blocks from my home. Luckily, I write a column about coffee, giving me a reason to explore.*

We — myself, my wife, and the dog — veer around the corner to the parking lot entrance. The bland white wall you see from the street does not do this shopping center or Lofty Coffee justice. It is mid-morning, well after the usual coffee rush, yet this parking lot is packed full (and tight). They are already setting up a free valet service to manage the cars.

The Lofty Coffee space is on the corner with big open doors on each side, making it a very open-air spot. There are two patios with vibrant, lime green shade umbrellas, a side patio between buildings, a stretch of tables behind the building overlooking the street, and the seats inside. Despite the dearth of options, nearly every chair is full.

Outdoor seating at Lofty Coffee in La Costa. Photo by Ryan Woldt
Outdoor seating at Lofty Coffee in La Costa. Photos by Ryan Woldt

Inside is the simple yet stylish vibe I’ve associated with Lofty Coffee shops. Concrete floors, warm wood accents, crystal clear pastry cases, decorative tile walls, and Jetson-esque hanging lamps hanging from a chevron-styled wood ceiling.

We order at the register — an almond latte for my wife and a batch-brewed drip coffee, and a shot of espresso for me. We ask some pretty specific questions about the dairy and sugar options for the latte, and the Lofty employee has all the answers at the ready. I’m handed the drip coffee right away. Then we’re given a number and luck into a table that has just opened in the shade.

It takes longer than expected to get the shot and latte, but only longer because it is much busier than it feels. Lofty has service runners bring out drinks, homemade pastries (excellent), and meals, keeping the register area open.

We didn’t wait to order, but there were so many seating areas that we didn’t realize how many orders were in front of us. It isn’t a complaint, just an acknowledgment that Lofty Coffee’s consistency in the quality of its product across locations is working.

Finished brew at Lofty Coffee. Photo by Ryan Woldt
Finished brew at Lofty Coffee. Photo by Ryan Woldt

There were a lot of dogs, strollers, and open laptops during our visit. We take it all in while we wait. We converse over the white noise of El Camino and commiserate with a staffer who is keeping some ants along the exterior of the patio at bay. We can always anticipate a storm when we see ants on our patio at home.*

The standard espresso shot is their Keeping It Classy blend of Guatemala and Costa Rica coffee beans. It is richer and darker than the standard in other shots at other shops. I have a passion for dark chocolate everything, so I often order an espresso at Lofty even though it isn’t a standard preference. My drip is solid. Every day it is their Morning Dove blend of beans from Honduras and Peru.

The consistency of the Lofty Coffee menu is appreciated. I am a coffee explorer, but there is something to be said for knowing I can stop by any of their cafes to order the same thing that will taste pretty danged close to the same. Plus, with an extensive lineup of single-origin coffees on the menu, the coffee nerd in me can explore the flavors of Ethiopia, Congo, or Guatemala if I want to.

*I wrote this during that storm!

*I’ll note that this is the 67th time I’ve written the Bean Journal. There are plenty of places to find great coffee and experience great coffee shops in North County San Diego.

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 featuring local coffee roasters like Crossings Coffee, Mostra Coffee, and Ignite Coffee Company. You can even stream the latest episodes on The Coast News!

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