Village Coffee is the kind of operation you’d probably never stumble into. It sits at one end of a relatively nondescript strip mall near Qualcomm Stadium on a small road just off the intersection of Interstates 8 and 15. You could easily drive right by without noticing, and even if you did notice, you might just keep on going. Surely nothing this far outside the city has potential for good coffee! Fortunately, the Coffee Geek boards proved fruitful when I happened to have some work in this area.
Village Coffee’s insides and out aren’t anything spectacular in the way of design but the place is pleasant enough, offers free wifi, makes its own sandwiches and many of its baked goods. Also, the mother/daughter team that owns and runs it seems knowledgeable about coffee, is extremely friendly and seems keen on forming relationships with their regular customers. The bottom line is that it probably is just the right kind of place for an outlying neighborhood such as this, which presumably relies heavily on those individual who work in the immediate area. Village Coffee prides itself on doing things with a bit more love and attention that the local Starbucks.
Keeping in that vain, Village Coffee roasts its own coffee. It does so, however, with the most modest of ambitions. They roast off site and don’t bag up beans for resale, don’t advertise the roasting and have no wholesale accounts. They also don’t offer a huge variety of coffees. The filter coffee is a Brazil Daterra. And, while my notes are sketchy, I think the espresso may have been the same Brazil rather than a blend.
Flavorwise, both the filter coffee and the espresso were decent with the espresso edging out slightly ahead. This fact was not surprising since the filter coffee was Fetco-brewed and airpump-pot-stored while the espresso was ground fresh on a La Marzocco Swift grinder and pulled from a 2 group Linea. Both exhibited some nice chocolate and vanilla notes and hit a happy medium roast level, completely lacking any over-roasted qualities. The coffee was clean with mild acidity but suffered from a papery flatness that I suspect was probably part brew, part roast and part origin (2+). The espresso had a syrupy mouthfeel but left a bitter aftertaste and didn’t deliver much acidity (3-).
While I’m not gushing about the quality of the coffee here and it’s certainly not worth a detour for the coffee tourist in San Diego, I was nevertheless excited to find this place. They were better than the local competition (read: Starbucks) because of the uniqueness of the product and the skill and attention given to it. For that, they deserve some credit. Village Coffee isn’t a San Diego destination, but it will be a small salvation if find yourself in this part of the city.