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Caffeine Crawl Returns to San Diego This Weekend

The craft coffee event celebrates our city’s specialty beverage scene


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What goes best with a cup of coffee? If your answer is “another cup,” then you’re in luck this weekend as the three-day Caffeine Crawl returns to San Diego, January 20-22. The annual event has earned a reputation as the city’s biggest, and best, specialty coffee event of the year.

Hosted by Missouri-based The LAB, the crawl includes over 25 participating roasters and coffee shops around central San Diego and North County—all of them “local, independent businesses with a focus on quality,” according to Caffeine Crawl founder Jason Burton. There are 10 different walking, biking, or driving routes to choose from, ranging from three to 11 miles each, and each stop includes a drink sample and a short, educational presentation.

So what’s stopping someone from just going to each shop on their own, instead of buying a ticket and following the planned route? Burton explains: “Our goal is to bridge that gap between one side of the bar and the other. If someone bought their own drink at each shop it would probably be the same amount, or more—and they wouldn't receive the connection, a drink possibly not on the menu, a compare and contrast, the same coffee brewed multiple ways, et cetera. We're biased, but it's a fun event that really highlights the food and beverage scene of a city.”

It’s also a golden opportunity to learn more about the art of craft coffee, in a way you might not be able to normally. “Try asking a few questions at your favorite coffee shop at 7:45 a.m. with 8 customers behind you,” says Burton.

The crawl is not just for seasoned coffee nerds, though—in fact, another of the event’s goals is to “take away the snobbiness of specialty coffee.” With sample sizes ranging from around 2 to 6 oz, and with a focus on leisurely sipping rather than downing the drinks, even beginners can safely get their buzz on.

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