January got the year off to a good start for a couple of localities in need of quality coffee. Up in Carmel Mountain Ranch, Mostra Coffee (12225 World Trade Drive) began opening the doors of its roastery between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Wednesdays. You can get hand-bottled cold brew, freshly bagged whole beans, and hot drinks made by the cup.
You may also catch roaster Mike Arquines cooking away on Mostra’s San Franciscan — the makeshift coffee counter in this small warehouse space sits just a few feet away from the roasting equipment. It may not be the sort of place to be seen writing your novel on that laptop, but it’s a worthy spot to start checking out this coffee, preferably while chatting with one of the other Mostra founders on hand. This group went to high school together in the neighborhood and are determined to build up the coffee culture where they live.
3794 30th Street, North Park
Down in North Park, Dark Horse Coffee Roasters has gotten running with the coffee counter they’ve been building out at Waypoint Public (3794 30th Street) the past few months. I ran into brothers Daniel and Bryan Charlson at the site, finishing up some final details. They planned to open within a few days and said it should be in full swing by the time this sees print. It’s not a huge space, so coffee counter in the truest sense.
3993 Goldfinch Street, Mission Hills
2355 India Street, Little Italy
The greatest impact this month may be felt in Mission Hills, with the opening of Heartwork (3993 Goldfinch Street), an independent shop serving Dark Horse as well as James Coffee (2355 India Street). Judging by some of the crowds lighting up the place during its first week in business, this neighborhood has been yearning for some good pour-over and finely hewn espresso drinks.
I caught up with two of the co-owners of Heartwork back in September. Like the Charlsons, Rob Moran and Sam Stothers had some construction experience to fall back on while building the place out. It served them well, as the city had them jumping through hoops converting the former jewelry shop into a sanctioned service establishment. When I met them, they’d torn up half the floors to comply with local and state regulations. Moran called the effort a “labor of love,” and after seeing how hard they worked to put this shop together, its name makes a lot of sense.
Like longtime friend David Kennedy (of James Coffee), these guys also have a background in the local music scene. They played together in punk and hardcore bands over the years. Moran and Stothers speculate getting involved in specialty coffee is a natural fit for people involved in this subculture, which is known to align with a straight-edge lifestyle — one free of alcohol or anything else stronger than caffeine.
Both guys spent a few years living in Seattle and aim to bring back some of the coffee-shop culture they experienced there. They’ve crafted a laid-back and friendly space where guests can hang around and enjoy a creative, musical atmosphere. A genuine neighborhood coffee spot.