DRAWING MEDIA RAVES--Don’t go into Dark Horse Coffee Roasters coffee bar looking for a latte. Renaissance man, world traveler, musician, carpenter, marketing guru and owner of DHCR, Daniel Charlson is quick to point out his place reflects his taste for only organic cold and hot pour over and French press offerings. Lattes and espresso drinks “just aren’t me,” he’s told the coffee media since he opened his shop a few years ago on Adams Avenue in San Diego’s Normal Heights neighborhood.
Here’s a bit about 30-something Charlson from his website: “...I grew up on Kauai, a small island in Hawaii where I was surrounded by coffee fields, that's certainly where my passion for coffee culture was planted. I have always had a fascination with good coffee and being from a tiny Island, community has always been massively important to me.
“For part time jobs, as a kid I'd work in coffee shops, ever expanding my knowledge on coffee beans and their origins. I started to remember back to my days in Kauai how local farmers would pick the coffee beans and bag them for export. I learned more on real coffee and how it was an art and craft. It wasn't long before I wanted to try my hand at coffee roasting, doing it the real, local way. I bought a small roaster and began experimenting. After a lot of trial and error, I was making the best coffee I'd ever tasted.
“That's when Dark Horse was born. I invite you to come try our coffee experience. From smelling the beans roasting right there in our shop, learning more about how we brew, to our exclusive Dark Horse only beans - you'll feel the Kauai experience from the moment you step inside.”
Dark Horse Roasters is hugely popular in rustic Normal Heights. The local media is raving about the coffee in this cool, but tiny establishment. On a recent day, we enjoyed seats at the window and watched a staffer patiently stamping the company name on dozens of 12 oz. cups, while Brian the coffee roaster kept bringing out warm bags of coffee from the roasting operation in the back. Needless to say, the aroma was terrific.
The location supports a laid back operation like Charlson’s because he wisely opened in laid back Normal Heights and that neighborhood is a lot like the Haight, Castro, Potrero and North Beach ‘hoods in San Francisco.
|New Dark Horse location 30th & North Park Way|
And, if you want to talk “coffee” you’ve come to the right place. The baristas are more than happy to discuss what they roast and how they serve it. They haven’t an attitude when someone asks for a latte. They patiently explain why the don’t serve espressos and suggest a wide range of alternatives. No one seems to mind or walk out empty handed.
Soon there will be sister Dark Horse outlets in Golden Hill to go along with its coffee roasting places now open in North Park (next door to Waypoint Restaurant 30th & North Park Way) and open since summer is a Truckee, CA location.
Dark Horse Coffee Roasters
3260 Adams Ave.
10009 W. River St.
Here’s an obsessed with coffee operation in San Diego that puts out a ton of information and images: