Oct. 26 2012 07:18 PM

North Park bar is a gathering place for coffee and treats

Salpi Sleiman brews the good stuff.
Photo by Marie Tran-McCaslin

    When we think of friends and coffee, it's oftenabout meeting friends for coffee. What happenswhen two friends meet to make coffee? The resultis Roast Coach (3382 30th St.), a lovely neighborhood coffee bar usingNorth Park's Sea Rocket Bistro as a home base.

    Jenna Woodruff and Salpi Sleiman met inNorthern California, where roasters such as BlueBottle Coffee inspired them to start their owncoffee business after moving to San Diego.

    "We'd like to create a space where the communitycan come together, share ideas and drink coffee,"says Woodruff, who adds that they're gratefulto Sea Rocket for providing a place to start.

    To say their business is a labor of love is an understatement.The coffee is served on a portablebar made by two of their friends, a welder anda woodworker. The top of the cart is equippedwith holes for the Hario V60 drip cone. Cups areplaced under the cones and hot water is pouredover the grounds. Using beans from RevolutionRoasters in Leucadia, the pour-over coffeeoptions include single-originbeans from Guatemala or Ethiopiaor the Giants Head blend.

    Open during the day from 7a.m. to 1 p.m., the coffee bar is locatedoutside of Sea Rocket, whereWoodruff and Sleiman work in theevenings. If it rains, the bar movesinto the restaurant and a cozy cafésprings up. There's the daily selectionof pour-over coffee, along withsome "coffee cocktails," their hotand cold mixed coffee drinks. My favoriteis the Southern Hospitality, a12-hour cold brew mixed with mint,brown sugar and a splash of cream.I was skeptical when I saw the mintbeing muddled with the sugar.

    What? No rum?

    The cold brew is strong withoutbeing bitter, and the mint adds a refreshingcrispness. I loved it, but my drinking companionon a subsequent visit preferred it without themint. For the mint-averse, there's the Café con Horchata, and non-coffee drinks include the SunriseOver 30th, which is Roast Coach's take on anOrange Julius-esque blended drink.

    Roast Coach sells pastries from Bread & Cie,but I recommend bypassing those in favor ofthe aebleskivers. Traditionally Danish, they'respherical puffs made from a substance not unlikepancake batter and cooked in a cast-ironpan with round indentations. Prepared in SeaRocket's kitchen, the puffs are filled with Nutellaor house-made strawberry jam. Savory versionscome with toppings like smoked salmon ora curry made fiery by sambal. Roast Coach alsofeatures pastries made by local bakers, and ChristinaNg of MIHO Gastrotruck will drop by duringthe fall with fresh mini-pies and galettes.

    Roast Coach will expand to two additional locationsin coming weeks. One will be in Hillcrest,in front of John's Fifth Avenue Luggage (3383Fourth Ave.), the other Downtown—on the patioof Co-Merge (330 A St.).

    Drop by and enjoy the coffee and treats, but,most importantly, enjoy it with friends.

    Write to marietm@sdcitybeat.com and editor@sdcitybeat.com. Marie blogs at meanderingeats.com and you can follow her on Twitter at @MeanderingEats.


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