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Steady State Roasting. Photo by Ryan Woldt
Steady State Roasting. Photo by Ryan Woldt
ColumnsRoast! San Diego

Bean Journal: Steady State Roasting

Where: Steady State Roasting, 2562 State St., Suite G, Carlsbad, CA 92008
Open: Daily 7:00 AM – 2:00 PM
What: Batch Brew Black Coffee: Space Traveler & House Espresso Shot
Tasting Notes: Caramel, Berry, Apple, Smooth
Price: $3.50 for a 12oz drip. $3.50 House Espresso Shot
What I’m listening to: Cat Power, “Ballad of a Thin Man – Live at the Royal Albert Hall”

I haven’t written twice about the same coffee shop since beginning this column in May 2022. The first week, I wrote about Communal in Oceanside. The second week, I went to Steady State Roasting in Carlsbad Village. They are as close to what I would consider my regular joint as I can imagine. It is near my home. The service is always excellent. The coffee is equally so. You’ll often find me there when I’m not in the throes of a coffee exploration.

I love going to Steady State for the consistency, and things have mostly stayed the same — until now.

Earlier this year, Steady State went through an extensive remodel, taking over the space next door and expanding the outdoor patio significantly. I wouldn’t have thought this would’ve made much of a difference in my experience, but it has.

For starters, finding a spot to sit and enjoy a coffee or work on my computer outside is a lot easier. The makeshift patio used to be assembled out front daily (expanded on the weekends) but has grown to include several full-size patio tables, bench seating around landscaping, and a few two-tops next to the new French doors.

Pour-over coffee at Steady State Roasting. Photo by Ryan Woldt
Pour-over coffee at Steady State Roasting. Photo by Ryan Woldt

The doors are wide open — welcoming those of us arriving bedraggled and caffeine-starved with expanded doors. The inside space is still neat and clean with long, straight lines but a restructured layout. Before, the line would push back from the register out the entryway, creating a chokepoint where customers — and often their puppies — would awkwardly turn their hips sideways while entering or exiting.

Now, the line practically sings as you slide through the new entry and out the old to find your seat. It feels faster, even though quite a few new faces are in line. One recent morning, the bar for coffee stretched from the register out the doors, past the new patio tables, and out into the parking lot. But the baristas are fast, efficient, and consistently excellent at Steady State. That line never stopped cruising.

That morning (and most mornings), I order a shot of espresso and drip coffee to stay. The staff has grown since my last column, but most know me well enough to smile and ask about my life, even if they don’t know my name*. It isn’t expected, but it is nice to feel seen.

Steady State Roasting. Photo by Ryan Woldt
Steady State Roasting. Photo by Ryan Woldt

My order gets written on a Post-It note and passed down to be placed in line on the espresso machine. I’m given my drip to enjoy while I wait. They have nice mugs. They have a heft and quality that improves the presentation and the experience. When my shot is ready, it comes in a cute espresso set up with coffee down below and a side of bubbly water—a palate cleanser—stacked above with an espresso stirrer.

I take it outside, where I’ve claimed a spot in a classic vintage-style beach chair. You know the ones. They have metal frames with patterned criss-cross straps threaded through. My grandparents had a pair. They float hazily at my early memories of family get-togethers by the campfire.

I slurp the espresso first. Then, settle in to enjoy the morning with my drip. I briefly experience deja vue, but it is just the recreation of the same pleasant feeling I had a few chairs over last week and the week before.

*That they remember anyone, considering the number of customers that pass through the door, is pretty amazing.

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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