I was in San Diego for a get away from the Arizona heat and decided to visit a coffee shop. I went to my trusty Yelp app for recommendations. Downtown San Diego has a ton of restaurants that do coffee and breakfast, but not a lot of just coffee shops. The coffee shop that I chose was called Lion Coffee (http://www.lioncoffee.com/).
I looked at pics on Yelp and loved their phrase, “Lion coffee is king of coffees.” We walked to the store and there were more pictures on the windows that looked like adds from early 1900’s. When I got to the front door I was suddenly confused. It was a Hawaiian theme. I have no idea what lions have to do with Hawaii. From what I can gather from the website, the company moved to Hawaii and they began focusing on Hawaiian coffees at that time.
Once I accepted the Hawaiian theme I could accept that they did a very good job. The logo meshed with the Hawaiian theme, which was through and through here. They did a great job of not just serving a Kona blend and having a tiki torch. They flooring, bar and coffees all came together. They served French presses of 100% Kona coffee. The theme was done really well. I also liked that they had an iPad set up for people to sign up for their reward programs.
Now to the coffee. I had their medium roast, which was a 10% Kona blend. The barista kept it simple with me, pointing out what coffees they had available. I didn’t quiz the baristas because it didn’t look like they were going to really dive into the coffee. When I sat down with my coffee I realized that was an unfair assumption and regretted not asking. I won’t like it, but I will have to admit to my friend that I make assumptions on barista’s coffee knowledge based on if they roast in house or not. The coffee had a nice balanced flavor. I didn’t pick up any flavors that shouted at me. What I noticed most was the silky smooth body. This seems consistent with Kona coffees. I have not heard that they are known for their flavor. They are all about the body and mouth feel.
Lastly, we had a full breakfast there. In San Diego, it seems you can’t just do drinks. Everyone sells food and a good majority of it is delicious.
If you are staying in the Gas Lamp and need a good cup of coffee, I would not dissuade you from Lion’s Coffee. Did this place blow my mind, no. But it was good and I expect I would have a consistent cup the next time I go back.