Total Pageviews

Saturday, January 16, 2016


Inside Hawthorn Coffee with co-owner Kevin Redmond serving a customer.  On wall is a custom mural made from subway tiles depicting a Hawthorn tree.  The new coffee house is near 30th and Adams in San Diego.
Pillar to Post image.
San Diego’s hip and historic North Park urban node has another artisan coffee house to enjoy. Hawthorn Coffee (3019 Adams Avenue near 30th Street), opened during the holidays.  But if you speed by on Adams you’ll miss the narrow storefront that’s located in 1930s commercial building.  First timers will note the exterior is classic deco era main street USA while the interior is fresh and contemporary.

Owners are a genial no-nonsense father and son team, Kevin Redmond and Dylan Redmond, who are serious about serving the best artisan coffee/tea they can brew.   The menu includes third wave pour overs to all the standard espresso coffees.  More on the third wave later.**

The Redmonds hail from Northern California, Santa Rosa to be specific.  That’s the reason why many of the beans sold off the shelf at Hawthorn’s come from Flying Goat Coffee (based in Sonoma County).  In fact, if you travel to Healdsburg CA you’ll see that Flying Goat Coffee House appears to be a twin of the new Hawthorn’s (both are in older buildings and have the same old school windows up front).

Ordering from the list of three pour over selections for that day, I went with the Guatemalan beans from Dario Hernandez’s finca and roasted by Flying Goat.

Expertly prepared and served in a 16-ounce glass urn, the coffee was smooth and had numerous herbal nuances (not surprised as many parts of Guatemala are rich soil jungle).

Delicious coffee and cookie distracted
our photographer who muffed the
focus but at least remembered to 
shoot the cookie before it was eaten. 
So far, the shelf for bean sales is small and dominated by Flying Goat offerings and the pastries are from local bakers.  I ended up buying a 12-ounce bag of the Guatemalan beans to go with a crumbling peanut butter cookie.

Before I left I asked senior Redmond why the new enterprise was named Hawthorn?  He liked the question and went on to describe how the hawthorn tree, with its beautiful flowers (and thorns), is part of Celtic traditional beliefs surrounding the dual nature of spring.   The name is reflected in the store’s logo and the modernist mural Hawthorn mural with subway tiles.

I learned that the hawthorn is to be respected in all its diversity and duality. It is a symbol of union of opposites, and serves as a message for us to be more welcoming and accepting of the unconventional.

The Celts understood the power of balance. They also knew that what could not be attributed to specific outcomes (as sometimes evident in the dance of contradictions played out by the hawthorn) indicated a great source of magic. In other words, that which cannot be explained contains immense power.

What do all these contradictions mean? The hawthorn is a standing testament to the idea of duality; it is a perfect depiction of the concept of yin and yang.

Hawthorn blossom
**Third Wave—A friend of this column asked what “third wave coffee” meant?  Good question.  It’s a term made popular in the early 2000s ago by coffee producers, roasters, coffee house owners and their marketing teams. Jonathan Gold, a Pulitzer Prize winner for food criticism penned the following definition:  “The first wave of American coffee culture was probably the 19th-century surge that put Folgers on every table, and the second was the proliferation, starting in the 1960s at Peet's and moving smartly through the Starbucks grande decaf latte, of espresso drinks and regionally labeled coffee. We are now in the third wave of coffee connoisseurship, where beans are sourced from farms instead of countries, roasting is about bringing out rather than incinerating the unique characteristics of each bean, and the flavor is clean and hard and pure.”

Parking tip—As the mid-city gentrifies parking spaces become harder to find.  Parking around the new Hawthorn’s is difficult (depends on the hour) but the parking meter spaces tend to be empty.  One dollar buys one hour.  Plenty of time to enjoy Hawthorn’s tasty coffee but it can be prick in the ego balloon (and wallet) if you’re a wanna be Hemingway camping out all day with your computer.

No comments:

Post a Comment