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Artist Michael Summers' mural of sleeping tigers in Carlsbad. Photo by Ryan Woldt
Artist Michael Summers' mural of sleeping tigers in Carlsbad. Photo by Ryan Woldt
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Bean Journal: Sleeping Tiger Coffees

Where: Sleeping Tiger Coffee, 2906 Carlsbad Blvd, Carlsbad, CA 92008
Open: 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. Thursday through Monday; 7 a.m. – 3 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday.
What: On the Prowl blend batch-brewed black coffee, $3.25 + tax
From: Medium roast beans from Colombia, Tanzania, Guatemala
Tasting notes: Brown sugar, mixed berries, very smooth
Find them at: • @sleepingtigercoffees on Instagram
What I’m listening to: Ivan & Alyosha, “Can’t Fight The Feeling”*

I’m on the prowl for a cup of coffee this morning.** I find it at Sleeping Tiger Coffees in Carlsbad, home of the colorful sleeping tiger mural painted by Michael Summers (prints available inside). I often see tourists posing in front of this wall as I pass the steps down to the beach at the end of Grand Avenue.

Today, I vary my route and hang a left on Carlsbad Blvd, then another quick left into Sleeping Tiger Coffees. The cafe shares a space with Witch Creek Winery, which isn’t open this early but makes for a pleasant communal environment. I always love getting my adult drinks where I get my coffee.

Sleeping Tiger has a full menu of espresso drinks with homemade syrups (per a sign) and a case full of pastries to accompany them. If you read this column, I default to a simple cup of the black stuff. A pleasant barista hands my cup over the bar and offers up a treat for the dog. He’s thrilled, and I’m appreciative. I wander past the tables, chairs, and racks of wine barrels inside, heading for the back patio.

The covered patio at Sleeping Tiger Coffees. Photo by Ryan Woldt
The covered patio at Sleeping Tiger Coffees. Photo by Ryan Woldt

There is a mini-vintage shop out back and a covered patio space. There is a repurposed with intention vibe here — lots of rust and wood. Nearly everything has a paper price tag affixed somewhere. I sit at a table pushed up against a trellis wall under a huge, low-hanging chandelier. Why don’t I have a chandelier at home? I wonder. I feel classy as hell.

We share the space with a few common sparrows looking for crumbs and the occasional tourist passing through handling the merchandise.

My coffee is hot and solid. A pretty standard cup of black coffee that will always taste better than it is when you take it a few blocks down to the beach, which is what I decide to do. I make my way back through the cafe. They roast a lot of different coffees. A display of whole bean coffees features coffees from Colombia, Guatemala, and Costa Rica. The brown bags are hand-stamped with handwritten origins.

As I leave, I see signs for live music and comedy nights. They are friendly reminders that things are a lot different now than last year and the year before. We can commune again.

Sleeping Tiger Coffees in Carlsbad. Photo by Ryan Woldt
Sleeping Tiger Coffees in Carlsbad. Photo by Ryan Woldt

Quito (our pup) and I wander another minute down the road and find ourselves looking at the ocean again. I’ve been coming to this spot for nearly six years. It never gets old. The waves roll in, as they always do. My coffee tastes better here, as it always does.

*I saw this band at a small venue in Pittsburgh with a half dozen other fans in the late-aughts. Despite the small size of the audience, they came out and gave it 100%. Great show.
**See what I did there?

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

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