Coffee Shops in Hillcrest, San Diego

There’s nothing quite like waking up on a beautiful Sunday morning in San Diego and walking to your favorite coffee shop. As you stretch your limbs, the warm sun greets your skin and the smell of freshly roasted coffee beans lights up your senses. The only thing better? Finally taking that very first sip. Mmmm.

Although as all experienced coffee drinkers know, not all coffee is made equal. This is especially true in the higher echelons, where beans are handpicked, cooked at the perfect temperature, and brewed not too long and not too short. Yes, this article is highlighting the Goldilocks of coffee. And to narrow down our list of cafes, boutique shops, and coffee houses, we’re going to be focusing on San Diego’s soulful community—Hillcrest. 

So, come one, come all, my caffeine addicts, my espresso bros, and my latte ladies, today we’re taking a caffeinated dive into the cutest Sunday morning coffee shops located in Hillcrest.

Note to the Reader

You should know before progressing further, there is one major problem with Hillcrest coffee shops… There’s too many to choose from! Allow us to apologize in advance, as we are about to “clown car” this article and stuff as many wonderful, caffeine-savvy shops into this as we can. Buckle up, and get ready to embark on this San Diego tour to get an insider’s peak at the best coffee shops in Hillcrest.

Better Buzz Coffee 

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With ten coffee shops popping up around San Diego, you can be sure you’re getting a quality morning buzz at Better Buzz Coffee. Their Hillcrest location is on 801 University Ave, and although technically a chain, their intimate atmosphere offers that one-of-a-kind cafe feel. 

Come here to spend your mornings in bliss, just the way you want to. They have a full menu offering a wide variety of delicious baked goods, sandwiches, and acai bowls to pair with your early morning coffee or tea latte.

  •     Sunday Sip – The best drink on the menu is appropriately named “Best Drink Ever.” It’s an americano—water and espresso—with creamy vanilla added to it. It’s the simple pleasures that make Sunday so relaxing, isn’t it?

Refill Café

Photo Credit: San Diego Premier Property Management

For fans of modern architecture and cute coffee mugs, Refill Café is the place to contemplate the week ahead. There’s plenty of seating for early morning coffee dates, meeting up with friends, or having a moment of silence with yourself and your coffee.

If you’re hungry? No problem! Get here early in the morning and enjoy a crepe made fresh, right before your eyes. Not sure which one to choose? Well, let us direct your eyes to the smores and strawberry crepe made with marshmallow, Nutella, strawberries, and graham crackers. Breakfast is served!

  •     Sunday Sip – Craving something sweet to pair with a savory selection? Try Refill’s “Cold Brew Chocolate Milk” for a mix of cold brew and chocolate. It’s a creamy treat that goes perfectly with a sunny San Diego day.

Subterranean Coffee Boutique

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For a place with as much heart as it has character, Subterranean Coffee Boutique is among the favorite coffee shops in Hillcrest, San Diego. From the outside, it blends in amongst the other restaurants and businesses. However, once inside, you’re transported to your own private coffee house haven. 

  •     Sunday Sip – With a ton of specialty items on the menu, it may be a little overwhelming at first. Our recommendation? Choose your syrup flavor and then your specialty drink. They have everything from a white blackberry mocha to a brown sugar and cinnamon latte.

La Marque

Photo Credit: La Marque

The name is French, the décor is French, and the moment you suck down one of their caffeinated beverages, you yourself will be saying, “oui oui!” La Marque goes beyond a cute Sunday morning coffee shop—it’s also a decadent breakfast spot with to-die-for food items. Just make sure you stay alive long enough to taste them!

  •     Sunday Sip – As any good French coffee house will tell you, the true bean lovers always choose espresso over coffee. And La Marque does not miss the mark on this one. Their classic cappuccino will enliven your Sunday morning in all the right ways.


Photo Credit: Yelp

As a proven powerhouse in the San Diego coffee world, Lestat’s in Hillcrest is the third of its kind to open since the original coffee shop of 1997. The spacious Egyptian-themed cafe is home to a six-foot tall sphinx and some of the best sourced coffee in all of Southern California. If you’re an early bird, this coffee shop is an ideal pick for you as all three of their locations are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

  •     Sunday Sip – If you’ve never been before, the recommended drink to try is The Milky Way. An espresso-based drink mixed with caramel, chocolate, and vanilla. That’s right, Lestat’s is trying to fit the entire universe in your coffee mug. Successfully, we might add.

Copper Top Coffee and Donuts

Converted out of a retired Wienerschnitzel shop, this is not your traditional sit-down coffee spot. However, Copper Top Coffee and Donuts serves some of the hands-down best coffee and donuts in all of Hillcrest. So good, they decided to scribe their motto onto the walls of the building in large cursive lettering: “Damn good coffee. Damn good donuts.”

  •     Sunday Sip – Their most popular item is the Copper Rose Latte, a rosehip infused espresso drink that will have your nose, your taste buds, and your mind percolating. Did someone say, “la vie en rose?”

Special Mention: Saigon Coffee

As a final addition to this list of succulent Sunday sips, we had to give a special shout out to Saigon Coffee. Only available Sunday mornings at the farmer’s market, Saigon Coffee offers a Vietnamese-style cold brew that will blow your mind.

Find them at 3960 Normal Street every Sunday from 9 am to 2 pm for a refreshing, iced beverage that will have you buzzing all day long.

Sunday Morning Jitters

If you’re craving that perfect Sunday morning hype, then take a brisk walk down to any of these coffee shops. Hillcrest is known for its cultural and personhood diversity. Here you can walk the streets and be who you want to be and drink the coffee you were meant to drink. Due to the very nature of this wonderful community, the best coffee shops in Hillcrest seem to be just about all of them.

Now that you know how to start your day with the best cup of joe in Hillcrest, let’s get caught up on the best fine dining experiences and speakeasy lounges to hang out at Downtown. 

Happy sipping!


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