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Getting your caffeine fix in San Diego is easier than ever. Whereas there used to be just a sprinkling of gourmet coffee and tea houses, now you practically stumble upon a new shop every few blocks. University Heights, thanks to some long-time staples, has always been a reliable neighborhood for high-end coffee, but recent additions have really elevated the quality and variety of coffee and tea available.

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So whether you’re seeking your morning pick-me-up, recovering from the previous night, or need something to get you through the afternoon, here’s our list of the seven best places to score some quality caffeine in University Heights!

Meraki Cafe

Location: 1735 Adams Avenue (map)
Hours: Monday-Friday: 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Price: $

With chalkboard menus and a minimal, but bright decor, Meraki Cafe is a very pleasant place to relax and enjoy a coffee or a latte. Their menu features a great selection of organic coffees and teas, as well as some lunch and breakfast foods.

Breakfast selections include granola, smoked salmon bagels and croissant sandwiches. The lunch menu features Caesar salads, hummus and daily soups. There are fun floral coffee flavors, Acai berry bowls and fresh smoothies available as well. This little cafe will have something that helps perk you up, whether you need a cup of black coffee or a snack for while you study.

Lestat’s on Park

Location: 4496 Park Blvd. (map)
Hours: Open 24 hours a day
Price: $

Since 1997, Lestat’s Coffee House has been offering great caffeinated drinks in a shop modeled after the French Quarter in New Orleans. Lestat’s on Park was developed in a more traditional French manner. Each of the three locations is open 24 hours a day, every day, making it a convenient and reliable destination for re-energizing.

Lunch! I have a day of writing ahead of me so I need energy!

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This coffee shop serves up great plain house coffee, as well as just about any kind of espresso drink you’d like. They make salads, sandwiches and more for those who come in with an appetite. It’s also a great place to meet people, whether you’re in during the late night or attending an open mic or similar event.


Twiggs Bakery and Coffeehouse

Location: 4590 Park Blvd. (map)
Hours: Monday-Thursday: 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday: 6:30 a.m. to midnight, Saturday: 7 a.m. to midnight, Sunday: 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Price: $

If you need to start an early morning off right, Twiggs Coffeehouse and Bakery has you covered. They open earlier than many other shops, ensuring you can get a drink and a treat and still make it to your earliest class.

They make all kinds of creative coffee and tea drinks here, some of which you won’t find at other shops. Their London Fog, for example, is an Earl Grey latte made with steamed milk and vanilla, which offsets the bergamot in the tea perfectly. You can also grab a cupcake to enjoy, which they make fresh daily.

Awash Ethiopian Restaurant & Market

Location: 2884 El Cajon Blvd. (map)
Hours: Monday: 8:30 a.m. to midnight, Tuesday-Sunday: 8:30 a.m. to 1 a.m.
Price: $

If you need incredibly strong coffee and potentially an incredible meal to go with it, Awash Market is a great place to stop. Located right on the edge of University Heights and North Park, this restaurant and coffee shop is also an ethnic grocery store.

You can buy packaged items, from spices to fresh-made injera bread. You can also enjoy a strong and tasty cup of Ethiopian coffee in the restaurant section toward the back of the business. While this won’t be the place to rub elbows with other students, it is often a quiet and welcoming place to enjoy a coffee and a meal while studying.

Mystic Mocha

Location: 2105 Mission Avenue (map)
Hours: Seven days a week from 6:45 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Price: $

Balancing comfort foods with healthy ingredients, Mystic Mocha has made a name for itself as a great place for breakfast and lunch in University Heights.

Their namesake drink, the Mystic Mocha, comes hot, iced or blended. They make different flavored versions, like the Mexican Dream featuring Ibarra chocolate or the Maui Sweet Cream, made with Almond Roca vanilla cream and chocolate.

All of their drinks feature fair trade, organic coffee ground to order. They serve brewed coffee and Vietnamese coffee as well as tea and tea lattes.

Living Tea

Location: 4566 30th Street (map)
Hours: Seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Price: $$

Another shop that straddles the divide between North Park and University Heights, Living Tea Brewing Company offers dozens of teas, herbal tisanes, mate and even kombucha. If you’re looking for a healthy pick-me-up, this is your ideal destination!

This establishment takes purity of ingredients seriously. In addition to carefully sourcing each tea and herb, they also have a custom-built commercial water filtration system to ensure there aren’t any chemicals or metals in the water they use to brew. With 13 rotating taps of different kombuchas, bone broth, tea blends and sprouted humus, there’s something healthy and tasty here you’ll enjoy!

Parkhouse Eatery

Location: 4574 Park Blvd. (map)
Hours: Monday-Thursday: 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday: 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday: 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Price: $$

With a full coffee bar and an extensive food menu, Parkhouse Eatery is a great place to fuel up before or after a long day at school. They have a house blend brewed coffee available, as well as a full coffee bar with everything from Mexican hot chocolate to standard espresso drinks.

With a full coffee bar and an extensive food menu, Parkhouse Eatery is a great place to fuel up before or after a long day at school. They have a house blend brewed coffee available, as well as a full coffee bar with everything from Mexican hot chocolate to standard espresso drinks.