Southern California

San Diego Climate Delivers for Coffee Drinkers

A rise in local production is seen as the beginning of a big shift for the organic coffee scene

San Diego-based Bird Rock Coffee Roasters signed a deal with Oceanside’s Mraz Family Farms to sell the first San Diego-grown coffee and sold out in just four days.

The 13 pounds of roasted beans went on sale Oct. 2 and (the pour-over) on Oct. 5. It completely sold out by end of day Oct. 6, according to a Bird Rock Coffee Roasters spokesperson.

This marked the first time a Geisha coffee varietal “has been grown and harvested on San Diego soil (at the Mraz Family Farms) and made available online and to local consumers,” Bird Rock Coffee said in a news release.

Coffee plants have been provided to farms up and down San Diego County by Frinj Coffee, with its flagship and organic-certified farm, Good Land Organics, located in Goleta. Mraz Family Farms, owned by singer/songwriter Jason Mraz, is one of the early Frinj Coffee growers, partnering in 2015, and also a certified organic operation, according to Bird Rock.

Specialty Coffee

“It has always been our mission to provide San Diego with the best specialty coffee the world has to offer, and now we can include San Diego County in that lineup of excellence,” said Jeff Taylor, co-owner of Bird Rock Coffee Roasters, via a statement. “Now, unlike any other moment in history, we have access to Geisha, one of the world’s rarest, multiple award-winning and delicious coffees, grown right in our backyard. We see this as the beginning of a sea change in coffee producing and are thrilled to be on the forefront with our outstanding coffee partners, Frinj and Mraz Family Farms.”

This launch followed Bird Rock Coffee Roasters’ and Frinj Coffee’s cupping event earlier this year, which featured a California-grown certified organic Cuicateco. The coffee, which received a score of 92 in a third-party review from Coffee Review, was grown by Frinj Coffee’s Good Land Organics farm and the lot sold out in one day. This year, though, marked the largest harvest to date, according to the release, and is the first time Mraz Family Farms coffee was available to San Diego.

Bird Rock Coffee Roasters

A Milestone

“This is a true milestone in California’s culinary history and I am proud to see it,” said Jay Ruskey, CEO of Frinj Coffee, in a news release. “What you are tasting in this cup is the tireless refinement of 20 years of farming from a very dedicated group of people on the Frinj and Mraz Family Farm team.”

The Mraz Family Geisha has tasting notes of jasmine tea, honey, key lime pie and elderflower, states the release. A cup of the coffee sold for $35 at Bird Rock Coffee Roasters while supplies lasted and the whole beans sold online via 4oz options for $199 per unit. Further harvests from Mraz Family Farms are expected in spring of 2020.

Frinj Coffee is aiming to develop the local coffee-growing industry in Southern California.

At the top of the year, there were 36 farms growing more than 35,000 coffee trees between Santa Barbara and San Diego, thanks to the partnership with Frinj. The lot included Geisha and about fifteen other varietals of Arabica, considered the better-tasting, higher-quality coffee compared with Robusta. There are currently plans for another 75,000 plants to be planted in the next year. 

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