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Rose Hill Purveyors in Cardiff. Photo by Ryan Woldt
Rose Hill Purveyors in Cardiff. Photo by Ryan Woldt
ColumnsFood & WineRoast! San Diego

Rose Hill Purveyors

Where: Rose Hill Purveyors, 111 Chesterfield Dr #115, Cardiff, CA 92007
Open: 7 a.m. – 1 p.m. daily
What: French press Hummingbird Blend Medium Roast
Tasting notes: Milk chocolate, Creamy, Balanced
Find them at:  • @rosehillpurveyors on Instagram
What I’m listening to: Jack Johnson’s “Spring Wind.”

There is a moment when I pull off the highway into Cardiff and crest the hill that I look forward to. It’s the last second before the car’s front end starts to tip forward, and through the windshield, I see the wide-open expanse of the Pacific Ocean.

It’s blue and grey, and the sun is just beginning to send its warmth down upon the dolphins and pelicans and early-morning beach walkers. That second right before I see the ocean is the moment. There is something to be said for anticipation.

Anticipation is how I’ve felt for the few weeks since Adam Chandler, former shop manager at Zumbar Coffee & Tea, purchased the Zumbar location* and reopened it as Rose Hill Purveyors. My standard policy is not to go to any new coffee shop, bar, or restaurant in the first few months with any expectations and certainly not to write a column about them. It wouldn’t be fair.

Those opening days are often hectic. The daily operational systems are being implemented, tested, and tweaked. As a result, what could potentially be a great place may be having a chaotic moment that reflects poorly.

Rose Hill Purveyors coffee shop in Cardiff by the Sea. Photo by Ryan Woldt
Rose Hill Purveyors coffee shop in Cardiff by the Sea. Photo by Ryan Woldt

But Rose Hill Purveyors isn’t new. So I’ve decided to categorize it as a reiteration of an old classic, so I’m making the exception today.

Seeing the new sign over the door and the decal in the window takes me aback just a little. This Zumbar was the first place I ever got a mug of coffee in San Diego. It was even the first French press I ever drank. It’s been here longer than I have. Seeing something in its place indicates that time has passed despite my desire to stay young forever. Zumbar is gone, and in its place is something new.

Yet, it feels familiar. The exterior seating — with its ocean view through the lights and over San Elijo Campground — is the same. The coffee bar inside is set up the same way, as is the shelf filled with Zumbar coffee bags and the cooler with Zumbar cold brew.

As I always do, I order a French-pressed coffee and pair it with an oversized chocolate chip cookie from Farm Shop, a bakery out of Los Angeles.

Pastries at Rose Hill Purveyors in Cardiff. Photo by Ryan Woldt
Pastries at Rose Hill Purveyors in Cardiff. Photo by Ryan Woldt

I ask the staff how things have been since the changeover. I presume they’ll mention at least a few stressors that come with transitions, but instead, they are uniformly upbeat.

They share their excitement for Adam and rave about the new Bagel Saturdays. Be warned; the bagels sell out fast.

I take my coffee outside to sit at the glossy, worn bartops built around flower planters like I always have. I smile at the dogs that pass by and drink my coffee which is just as smooth and chocolatey as ever.

The sun is up now. I can see the first surfers paddling back across the coast highway, cars pulling into the employee parking lots across the street, and a gaggle of sweaty runners pulling up in front of the cafe.

Coffee and cookie at Rose Hill Purveyors. Photo by Ryan Woldt
Coffee and a cookie at Rose Hill Purveyors. Photo by Ryan Woldt

Making it to the end of their morning suffer-fest deserves one of these good cookies. More than a few of them agree, and I see cookies and decadent pastries paired with espressos.

It is a new day in Cardiff. At Rose Hill Purveyors, I can bask in the shine of a beginning but find comfort in the sameness. Congratulations to Zumbar’s founder Steve Rayle for uplifting another member of the Zumbar Team and to Adam Chandler for taking the leap with RHP. I’m excited to see what is to come.

*Zumbar Coffee & Tea is still open in their original Sorrento Valley location, where they roast the coffee, brew the cold brew, and do all the things.

Want to hear the stories of local coffee entrepreneurs or learn how to brew a better cup of coffee at home? Listen to Coffee People and Coffee Smarter on your favorite podcasting platforms. You can even stream the latest episodes on The Coast News!