Holsem Coffee – North Park

It’s been almost a month with my new camera and so far I am really digging it. I’m still learning where all the settings are in the various menu’s, but overall, the Olympus OM-D EM-5 MII is very easy to use. The electronic view finder and lcd are awesome to be able to see how the image is going to come out before you shoot. Go technology. On this day Anh and I visited Holsem Coffee which has been on the list for quite some time now. Michael and I tried to go way back when we ate across the street at The Safehouse. Unfortunately, they were closed at the time.

What I really like about Holsem Coffee is the clean and minimalist look and feel. And although the decor might seem plain and simple, their drinks and food catch the eye with sophistication and style.

Upon entering there is a large menu on the wall. And even though there doesn’t appear to be too many options, I couldn’t help but stand there with my eyes bouncing around from one corner of the menu to the opposite end. It took me at least three passes before I had to tell myself to focus. A little too late for that it would seem. More on that later.

Goodies to look at while we decided what to order. 

I love clutter-less coffee shops. It clears my mind allowing all of the bold coffee aroma’s to be fully absorbed.

La Vie En Rose: rosewater, rose petal, honey, cardamom, and milk

Anh decided to be the best food blogger companion that day and chose La Vie En Rose. She did it because she said “it would look the nicest for the blog.” Thanks hun! I cannot argue with her there. Luckily it tasted pretty good too. Right off the bat you could smell the cardamom. Upon first sip the rosewater and honey delicately come through leaving you with a hint of sweetness followed by a a slight smokiness from the spice. Coffee strength was about a 7.5.

Nutella Cold Brew: dark chocolate and homemade hazelnut milk

For a while now I have been obsessed with Philz Coffee and their Mint Mojito. I was really hoping to find one here. It twas not meant to be. Nutella as a second option is not something to cry about. I really like how they make their own hazelnut milk in house. More than anything, that is the flavor that came through. I was hoping for a little more coffee or sweetness.

But it was still quite enjoyable and really fun to drink. Anything with chocolate should be fun.

Buckwheat porridge: warm apples, cinnamon, and walnuts

Remember I was telling you how I have issues with new menu’s and figuring out what the get. Yeah, that kind of bit me in the behind. I remember seeing a savory porridge being served on the menu and immediately assumed that they were still serving it. About 9 out of 10 times I order something savory for breakfast. Since I wasn’t paying attention I didn’t notice until after it arrived that this was going to be sweet. Now that didn’t completely stop me from enjoying it, but when you have a set expectation of something, the impostor better be near perfect or else the hype train gets derailed. So how was it? I wouldn’t say we got entirely off the tracks, but we had some bumps to the finish line.

Anh’s mom makes a mean porridge and I get excited when I know she’s made it for us. This was good, and the sauteed apples added a nice kick to things. Even more added sweetness would have been welcomed. Maybe a drizzle of honey on top. Honestly though, I just wanted some ham or bacon. Some people can’t get over the mushy texture. The seeds and nuts help with that. Even though the porridge didn’t live up to expectations, the variety of coffee’s and general atmosphere certainly are worth more visits. The Colada or Lemon Meringue in particular might be in my future.

Holsem Coffee
2911 University Ave
San Diego, CA 92104

Holsem Coffee Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

About Darren

Fooood! I love it if you can't tell already. I love everything about it. The taste, the smell, the look, the feel, the satisfaction, the gratification, and ultimately: the fun! I've been in San Diego for about 10 years now and it amazes me that there are still places to uncover. Traveling, eating, and taking pictures of food has always been a hobby of mine. So naturally Michael and I thought it made sense to share what we found with all of you. I tend to side with the savory but never shy away from a knock out dessert. If you have a place you think we haven't tried let us know! We're always on the lookout...

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12 Comments on “Holsem Coffee – North Park”

  1. Hi! I’ve pretty much tried every drink here and really like the banana nut bread and the Nutella cold brew coffee drinks. I also admire the fact that they use natural flavorings (banana milk, hazelnutmilk and cane sugar) rather than crappy fake syrups.

    Holsem is one of my favorite coffee places in San Diego; their variety of drinks makes them stand out. I prefer having the drinks presented in an actual glass vessel/cup rather than a plastic to go (looks nicer that way, unless of course you’re not there to stick around, then would need the plastic cup).

    1. Hey CC! You are right about presentation and the glass/cup thing. Oftentimes it tastes better when you have a fancier presentation. Maybe it’s all in my head but if it works, why not? I heard about the banana nut bread being a good option as well from others, but banana flavored things and me don’t always get along. I am willing to shed my sometimes stubborn ways and give it a try since people do tend to gravitate towards that flavor. I was teetering and you tipped me over the banana nut edge.

      I forgot to mention one thing. Their door swings inward on the way out so people with both hands occupied were struggling to leave with full cups of coffee. 🙂 I got nervous a few times, haha.

      1. Hi Darren, Give the banana bread a try. I wasn’t sure if I’d like it either but it was really good. Also, I did notice that about the doors. I felt like that cartoon panel from “The Far Side” where the person is trying to open the door for The School for the Gifted.

        I have an older blog post from last year where I mention the door. I also have post with a run down of their drinks.

        1. Just located your Holsem Coffee super post. OMG. That is love and dedication. Kudos to you. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to try the banana and I’ll let you know how it goes. I feel you on The Far Side reference too, haha.

  2. I have a Fuji XE-2. Fuji just released a XPro-2 with a 24 MP sensor. I would buy a Fuji XE-3 if they upgrade it to the 24 MP sensor. Maybe next year…

    I guess I’d want some tea to help wash down the cookies…

    1. I was really close to getting the Fuji X-T1 because of the image quality. But the video quality didn’t seem to stack up. It’s not like I plan on filming a ton of video, but I know if I was in one situation that would benefit me having higher quality I would kick myself and have major post purchase anxiety. The Olympus seemed to also have more options for lenses including both Panasonic and Olympus, which I liked. If I went with the Sony a6300 I would be limited and have less options. Their lenses overall seemed to be a bit larger as well. My brother sent me this link a while ago explaining more detail on 4/3rds. If you want to nerd out feel free to check it out: http://four-thirds.org/en/special/microftmerit/merit2.html

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