A Cup of Happiness at La Costa Coffee 4

Seasonal. Fresh. Authentic.

In all the 5-star reviews of the La Costa Coffee Roasting shop, nestled in the inward facing corner of the Plaza Paseo Real, one word sticks out: “retro.” If you recall and miss the days when having a cup of coffee was more about a great roast, great company, and a relaxing atmosphere rather than finding the perfect pour over, then this coffee roasting house may just be the best contemporary “retro” shop around.

Ironically, the La Costa Coffee Roasting location wasn’t meant to be a destination shop. In the early 1990s, owner Doug Novak, a second-generation coffee shop purveyor, opened the El Camino Real location to roast for the family’s original location [then named The Coffee Merchant]. In doing so, he unknowingly planted a seed for what would become a fixture within the community not just as a roaster, but also as a place for gathering and friendship.

Novak’s dedication to coffee roasting is evident in his sourcing of the beans as well as his honing of the roasting process itself. Sourcing beans is based on creating relationships with brokers from around the world. As an artisan small batch boutique roaster, his advantage is that he is privy to that “small one-off” harvest that a big box seller has no use for. With in-house roasting six days a week, Novak is able to roast as much or as little as he procures. His coffee is fresh, and that, more than fancy science lab inspired paraphernalia, is what makes a great cup of coffee.

When asked what his favorite coffee is, his response, “It’s whatever is seasonal and fresh,” speaks to his desire to provide his clientele with an authentic coffee experience that is dependent on quality of the coffee rather than trends. His roasting timeline lays out in weeks rather than the months often stamped on pre-packaged coffee beans. His bestseller? “A Cup of Happiness.”

The clientele spill out onto the large patio space: a mother reading to her son, two elderly ladies chatting, a business meeting. With live music on the weekends and one of the first Wi-Fi hotspots in the area, La Costa Coffee Roasting is a “stop and stay.” While many of his patrons are regulars, Novak says when he roasts on busy holidays, the smell of roasting coffee wafting out the doors attracts window shoppers curious to see roasting in action.

Novak’s parents were both schoolteachers and longtime Carlsbad residents. As a fixture in the community, La Costa Coffee Roasting supports local schools and events, and has local artists’ work on its walls. Doug enjoys teaching in his own way, sharing his knowledge of coffee and roasting with whomever is interested.

No coffee house would be complete without tea and sweet treats and La Costa Coffee Roasting has some of the best. The bestsellers are baked in-house and judging from the constantly refilling shelves, the quiche, the cookies and muffins, including fabulous gluten-free varieties, may just rival the popularity of the coffee.

If coffee allows you to “vicariously travel the world,” then La Costa Coffee Roasting is the perfect destination holiday, be it for your daily wake-up ritual or for some well-deserved rest and relaxation. LaCostaCoffee.com