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Saturday, January 24, 2015


North Park's Coffee and Tea Collective

Editor’s Note: Pillar to Post reprints the following column from October 11, 2013 as part of its new Coffee Beans & Beings series.

IDEA WORTH REVISITING—San Diego’s Coffee and Tea Collective at 2911 El Cajon Boulevard captured a 2013 “Orchid” award for excellence in interior design by the annual Orchids & Onions design competition held by the San Diego Architectural Foundation.  The coffee establishment owned by Daniel Holcolm takes its coffee and tea preparation seriously as well as its minimalist interior design.

For a quick study of Holcomb’s operation check out  his You Tube video:

The following is what the judges on the Orchids & Onions panel had to say about North Park’s award winning Coffee and Tea Collective:

“...The jury was struck by the interior space of Coffee & Tea Collective and how the simple, clean design celebrates its product: the art of coffee and tea. The interior design is sparse, organic and curatorial. The jury thought this project showed a great deal of entrepreneurship; by taking a small space and making it something more, it is refreshing and strikingly original. The designers did a great job of repurposing a terrible space on an uninviting stretch of El Cajon Boulevard. By choosing this space and location, the owners have activated this once blighted block and created opportunities for other stores and restaurants to move in. This intervention was like a kindling that has already created a fire of innovation on the block. The jury believes this small, yet well thought out and designed space, is timeless and also ripe for duplication.

“....Project Address: 2911 El Cajon Blvd.
Project Owner/ Developer: Daniel Holcomb
Owner Contact Name/ Email:
Project Architect/ Designer: Sideyard Project / Shawn Benson & Scott Shaver
Coffee & Tea Collective is a small-batch artisan roastery and tasting bar located on The Boulevard, in North Park, inside the old ABC Piano Building. Concepted and created in 2010 by a group of passionate individuals that saw a lack of a true specialty coffee scene in San Diego, this space was opened in 2012 and has been featured as #14 in's Top 21 Hottest Coffee Shops Around the US.

“...Situated in a space that's just over 1,000 square feet, the minimalistic design creates more than an aesthetic resembling the child product of Charles Eames and a slab of concrete. The space, given size constraints, provides functionality and customization. The cascading lines of concrete into wood first calls you to attention and then settles you into a welcoming embrace.

“...The purposeful choice of executing such a minimal design was to help accentuate the product being served and the community created around it. As a shell for this expression, that flourishing engagement is transferred into the design of the space through collaborative art events.

“...As minimal as the design, Coffee & Tea Collective's ideals are simple: to create and serve a quality product, consistently, and at the same time educate people in the craft of specialty coffees and teas.

“...Coffee & Tea Collective is open daily. Servicing Sunday-Wednesday from 7am to 5pm and Thursday-Saturday from 7am to 8pm, and is located at 2911 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego, CA 92104. To contact, call 619-564-8086 or email”

Images from Coffee and Tea Collective's website

For more information check out the collective’s webpage:

For more on the Orchids & Onions award winners for 2013 click:

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