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Interim Coffee is located on Carlsbad Boulevard. Photo by Ryan Woldt
Interim Coffee is located on Carlsbad Boulevard. Photo by Ryan Woldt
ColumnsFood & WineRoast! San Diego

Interim Coffee

Where: Interim Coffee, 2943 Carlsbad Blvd, Carlsbad, CA 92008
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
What: Americano
Price: $3.25
What I’m listening to Phum Viphurit’s “Welcome Change”

The address is Carlsbad Boulevard, but roll up and down the street a thousand times, and you won’t see the wide open fire engine red front door that leads into Interim Coffee. The cafe is tucked between a Mexican restaurant and a real estate firm.

By car, you can drive around the block and turn into an oversized parking lot off Garfield Street. On foot, you’ll find an outdoor hallway a few doorways south that will lead you behind the buildings where you’ll find the little grey shack with the red door that is Interim Coffee.

You’ll walk up a short ramp past an outdoor patio lined with succulents and a bonsai tree to get inside. A skate or surfboard will likely be leaning up against the outside wall. The red door will be open. It’s always open, even today, when the rain is misting and the morning temperatures barely break 50 degrees.

Those are the steps you’ll take to get into Interim. Even though I struggled to drag myself out from under my warm blankets this morning, they are the steps I took. Unfortunately, the infernal grey and rain have dampened my enthusiasm for going anywhere that requires me to get out of my sweatpants or leave the space heater plugged in near my writing chair. It’s a good thing I write this column, or I may not leave until spring.

Racks of Interim Coffee mugs. Photo by Ryan Woldt
Rock steady with Interim Coffee mugs. Photo by Ryan Woldt

Ray and John own Interim Coffee. They are the baristas, coffee roasters, shop curators and janitors. The operation is efficient. This morning, Ray is behind the coffee bar.* When I arrive, another local customer is at the bar waiting on a latte and gossiping about a local snowboarder’s Instagram posts. There isn’t enough space inside for us both, so I wait on the stoop until he exits and I can cross the threshold.

The wall is to the right, with photos of surfboards and classic cars. Shelves hold vintage cameras and traditional Pabst Blue Ribbon glassware. To the left, more vintage gear, cameras, cassette tapes, old records, and a stickered-up wooden case take up what little floor space is available.

I order an Americano — espresso mixed with hot water — and chat with Ray about the changing coffee offerings in the neighborhood. He’s charming and quick with a smile. He evokes a surfer’s vibe — all positivity and easy breezy.

At Interim Coffee, Ray and John make coffee on their terms. The listed hours say 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. but are admittedly flexible.

A view from the patio at Interim Coffee in Carlsbad. Photo by Ryan Woldt
A view from the patio at Interim Coffee in Carlsbad. Photo by Ryan Woldt

I forget to ask which coffee is pulled as the espresso in my drink, but the packaged beans on the counter are hand stamped with music-inspired names like “Rocksteady” and “Live Wire.” My coffee leans dark, and drinks easy and smooth. I take it with me out the door and down the ramp.

Besides the atmosphere and cool cameras, one of the great things about Interim Coffee is the location. I cross the parking lot where Interim hosts semi-regular classic car gatherings, and it is only a few short moments away from one of my favorite places in the Village, the steps down to the beach. It’s where I finish this cup of coffee on a damp bench listening to the waves crash.

*I’ve never seen John, but as I mentioned, I don’t get out much in the winter.

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Do you have a coffee shop, coffee roaster, or coffee experience recommendations for me? Please send them to [email protected].