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From left to right: Lofty Coffee, Philz Coffee, and Starbucks Coffee

Battle of the Beans: Which Encinitas coffee shop will win?

I tried three different popular coffee shops in Encinitas, so you can know where to get your caffeine buzz. These were the results.

May 7, 2021

Before COVID, I liked coffee. Since COVID, I NEED COFFEE. It takes copious amounts of coffee to stay remotely engaged in school, looking at 2-D, two-inch square versions of my classmates through a 15-inch laptop screen. Over the last year, I’ve consumed gallons of coffee and definitely stunted my growth. 

Perfecting my coffee-making skills captivated all my interests; my academic classes would have to wait. School was uneventful, and getting out to a coffee shop with a friend, for a while, was as exciting as it got. That’s the backstory of why I am now a self-proclaimed critic and connoisseur of the perfect coffee experience. Nobody can beat my taste buds. 

I was looking for unsolicited advice on where to find a caffeine fix in Encinitas. One afternoon, I visited four coffee shops in an attempt to settle the burning question: who has the better cup of coffee? Here are the results of the Battle of the Beans…

Philz Coffee –  I ordered the Philharmonic latte. In an attempt to compare coffees as accurately as possible, I only ordered basic lattes, no sugar or other tasty additives. My experience with this cup of coffee: it was strong, slightly bitter. I’m a bit of a fan of Philz Coffee, but in this experience, I realized that perhaps a Philz coffee is best with a touch of sugar. Overall I felt that the Philz coffee slightly tasted like dirt, but, as the self-proclaimed coffee critic that I am, I would say the coffee definitely had a nice earthy feel to it. 

Going into this, I had my heart set on Philz being the winner, but I was surprised with how dry my throat felt after drinking this cup of caffeine. This may be a very unpopular opinion, and I am even disappointed that I feel this way. 

Starbucks CoffeeAdmittedly, I’m generally not a fan of Starbucks coffee, and this visit did nothing to change that opinion. For all true coffee drinkers out there, they understand that caramel lattes with foamy milk and pounds of sugar do not qualify as coffee. My Starbucks latte tasted like warm milk with a drop of coffee. It was like drinking coffee-flavored milk. Soon, I felt a slight grumble in my stomach and the need to regurgitate whatever coffee look-alike substance they gave me. This was when I learned Starbucks coffee does not sit well with my stomach. What can I say? My body only deserves the best of the best. 

At this point in my journey, I was disappointed. My favorite coffee place had let me down, and my least favorite had crushed my coffee spirits. 

Lofty Coffee – For my last stop, I went to another local favorite coffee shop, Lofty. Living up to its name, my latte-to-go had a lofty price. But, the balance of steamed milk and espresso was spot on. As coffee should be, no sugar or flavorings were needed. Given the price, I sipped slowly, which made the overall experience even more pleasant – perhaps not for my wallet but definitely for my soul. 

In conclusion, I still suggest giving Philz Coffee a try, but perhaps consider one of their signature drinks that includes a touch of sugar. Starbucks, I’d leave for those times when you’re traveling and have absolutely no other options. Lofty Coffee I definitely suggest that you visit if you’re willing to pay for the pricey experience. But my journey continues from here; there are so many coffees to try. Drink on fellow caffeine addicts!

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