Where: Bound Coffee Company, 2110 S Coast Hwy Suite C, Oceanside, CA 92054
Open: 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., Daily
What: Passenger Coffee Roasters Keystone on drip
Tasting Notes: Floral, browning sugars, cooked fruit
Price: $3.25 for a 12oz
Find them at: Bound Coffee Co. and Instagram: @boundbycoffee
What I’m listening to: Henry Wolfe, “Someone Else.”
Ooh, look at those little plant pots!
It’s not my fault my first thoughts after stepping through the door at Bound Coffee Company are about merchandise. There is a little maker’s market station just inside the door. It’s the first thing you see. It leads your eyes to a row of round 2-tops along the wall until you see the Bound logo painted on the back wall in a burnt sienna-tinted orange.
Also, I have a “plant brain.” I can’t stop collecting them. Right now, I can see 43 plants — ferns, succulents, hanging vines, herbs, and orchids — in this room where I sit to write my columns.
This room isn’t far from Bound Coffee Company, which is in a weird location, just barely on the Oceanside side of the Buena Vista Lagoon. If you’re traveling north on the South Coast Highway, look to your right just as you pass the Audubon Society.
A recently modernized strip center housing a music center, bait & tackle shops, waxing salon, and cycling outfitter is built into the hill heading up to South O. You’ll see the Bound sign right in the middle.
Blink, and you’ll miss it.
Bound’s cafe is a small space. Small is the wrong word. It’s cozy. It’s comfortable. It’s warm. The lighting is pleasant. It is cute, so cute. There is a variety of seating to the left and right, yet it still feels open. At the counter, I order a black drip coffee.
It’s from Passenger Coffee Roasters, a certified B-Corporation based in Lancaster, PA. I like that Bound serves coffee from a B-Corp,* but I have to wonder why they go so far to get their coffee. There are so many great Southern California roasters to choose from.
The service is pleasant, and they’re quick to answer questions like, “Where do you get your pastries from?” Answer: “We make them ourselves. Everything except the banana bread.” The pastry case is enticing. The strawberry scones practically beg me to order them, but I resist. Instead, my focus is on the coffee.
The barista fills my cup and sets it in front of the register.** I pick it up and take one last look around. A few customers are lounging at the long countertop in the front window, looking out at the parking lot. A gentleman with a laptop is nestled in the corner at the low rounds. He has papers on the table, weighed down by a mug and half a powdered milk bun. I wonder if he only leaves when the doors get locked.
I take my coffee cup out front and sit at one of a few patio tables located just outside the front door. It’s cool and still wet from the previous night’s rain. Still, I can see sun rays reaching into the natural space across the street to the south, illuminating the hamburger guy standing in permanent repose in front of Angelo’s Burgers to the north.
I’m almost envious as the Bound patio faces west and will be shaded for at least another few hours.
I enjoy my coffee and chat with fellow customers. More than a few are waiting for a breakfast burrito or bacon, egg & cheese bagel.
Many are regulars who’ve walked from nearby South O, and business is quiet yet steady. It feels like a neighborhood shop that has always been around, yet with a fairly short history. I remember the sign going up just before the onslaught of the early pandemic.***
I’m glad they made it through to the other side. Now, I sit here relaxing with a cup of coffee — a pretty solid drip — letting my brain wander to more critical daily concerns. I wonder if there is more room at home for more plants. Those pots inside are so cute.
Order coffee, pastries, or breakfast online at www.boundbycoffee.net. Follow them on Instagram at @boundbycoffee for updates about the cafe.
*B-Corps, or Benefit Corporations, are a type of corporate structure that enables a business to treat other business mission priorities like the environment, social cause, or worker treatment on the same level as profit. B-Corps are not only beholden to generating profits and returns for investors.
To retain B-Corp status, a business must continually resubmit for certification, which can be an expensive process limiting the ability of some small companies to pursue it. There have also been specific coffee-industry concerns about the value and oversight of B-Corporations after Nespresso (maker of single-serving pod coffee makers) was given B-Corp status in 2022.
**There is a Roast! West Coast Tip Your Barista sticker on the tip jar by the register!
*** Please don’t quote me on that timeline. The last few years have caused a fuzziness in my brain between the hard dates on the calendar and the state of the world we were in at the time.