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 often about meeting friends for coffee. What happens when two friends meet to make coffee? The result is Roast Coach (3382 30th St.), a lovely neighborhood coffee bar using North Park's Sea Rocket Bistro as a home base.

Jenna Woodruff and Salpi Sleiman met in Northern California, where roasters such as Blue Bottle Coffee inspired them to start their own coffee business after moving to San Diego.

"We'd like to create a space where the community can come together, share ideas and drink coffee," says Woodruff, who adds that they're grateful to 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 portable bar made by two of their friends, a welder and a woodworker. The top of the cart is equipped with holes for the Hario V60 drip cone. Cups are placed under the cones and hot water is poured over the grounds. Using beans from Revolution Roasters in Leucadia, the pour-over coffee options include single-origin beans from Guatemala or Ethiopia or the Giants Head blend.

Open during the day from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., the coffee bar is located outside of Sea Rocket, where Woodruff and Sleiman work in the evenings. If it rains, the bar moves into the restaurant and a cozy café springs up. There's the daily selection of pour-over coffee, along with some "coffee cocktails," their hot and cold mixed coffee drinks. My favorite is the Southern Hospitality, a 12-hour cold brew mixed with mint, brown sugar and a splash of cream. I was skeptical when I saw the mint being muddled with the sugar.

What? No rum?

The cold brew is strong without being bitter, and the mint adds a refreshing crispness. I loved it, but my drinking companion on a subsequent visit preferred it without the mint. For the mint-averse, there's the Café con Horchata, and non-coffee drinks include the Sunrise Over 30th, which is Roast Coach's take on an Orange Julius-esque blended drink.

Roast Coach sells pastries from Bread & Cie, but I recommend bypassing those in favor of the aebleskivers. Traditionally Danish, they're spherical puffs made from a substance not unlike pancake batter and cooked in a cast-iron pan with round indentations. Prepared in Sea Rocket's kitchen, the puffs are filled with Nutella or house-made strawberry jam. Savory versions come with toppings like smoked salmon or a curry made fiery by sambal. Roast Coach also features pastries made by local bakers, and Christina Ng of MIHO Gastrotruck will drop by during the fall with fresh mini-pies and galettes.

Roast Coach will expand to two additional locations in coming weeks. One will be in Hillcrest, in front of John's Fifth Avenue Luggage (3383 Fourth Ave.), the other Downtown—on the patio of 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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