Hawthorn Coffee: A Beyond Normal Coffee Shop in Normal Heights, San Diego


Beautifully lit and architecturally symmetrical, this beyond normal shop buildout in San Diego’s Normal Heights neighborhood may have established Hawthorn Coffee as San Diego's next hottest coffee shop. 

The building's original jade-green tiles rest below a tall and pristine glass facade, encapsulating a bounty of warm and neighborly Adams Avenue vibes. The beautiful wood-trimmed glass front door is modern, yet classically American. Slightly elevated and smack-dab in the center of the shop, it brings in a lovely sense of balance to the shop.

Much like what the brand, Hawthorn Coffee, is meant to invoke: balance and duality. 

You’re then greeted by the friendly folk behind the low-sitting coffee bar, eliminating the divide between employee and customer. Community oriented, this café’s coffee bar is like not having a fence between yards in the suburbs. You have no choice but to engage, interact and be good to thy neighbor. 

Though the door and entryway may be the obvious focal point, the tall, bright backdrop behind the counter—mosaically littered with cement gray and pearl white tiles—is beautiful too. 

This balance works, because guess what’s in-between these two beauties: the seating area. This buildout induces a full-fledged focused atmosphere, perfect for that productive coffee shop that everyone needs. And with eight, two-person tables, you can almost always find a seat here.

But don’t rule out people watching here, too. The bench-style seating that lines the side wall of the shop, along with the tall windows, makes this shop a prime people watching spot.

By the way, I’m writing this post from my new favorite table in the corner, close to the window. Just sayin.


Father and son co-owners, Kevin and Dylan, can usually be found manning the counter. The two of them—both passionate about coffee, community and design—are outgoing dudes. Exactly what you want out of a shop owner. They welcome all of their guests with a genuine smile. They engage in conversation beyond the standard, “Hi, what can I do for you?” That kind of thing matters to a coffee shop frequenter. It’s what keeps people like myself coming back. 

Same goes for their delivery service…which is directly to your table. I don’t know how many times I’ve been turned off by a barista belting out my order, but it's not pleasant. And having your name called out isn’t much nicer. This whole direct-to-table service is the only way to go. Catch on, coffee world. 

They serve coffee from lead barista, Joshua Bonner's roasterie, Foxy Coffee Co. Like Josh and his company, Hawthorn also encourages community engagement and coffee education. You can also find Flying Goat Coffee out of Santa Rosa, CA on their menu too. 

On top of locally and responsibly sourced coffee, they serve it in mugs! With a glass carafe plated on a wood serving platter, too! Made out of the Hawthorn Tree, perhaps? Mad design props here, Kevin and Dylan.


With natural lighting that will remind you of your front porch on a bright Sunday morning, and a neighborly vibe that’s so strong you can put it up there with the iconic Cheers bar, Hawthorn Coffee has established itself as one of San Diego’s coolest coffee shops. You can’t help but want to pause, sit and sip through the moment in its entirety.

Talk with the kind folks behind the bar, try a magical coffee from a foreign land, and if you’re lucky, take the corner window seat. You won’t be disappointed, I promise!

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