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Java Jitters
50-Cup Coffee Challenge
Julie Maxey-Allison | 10th Street

Zumbar Coffee & Tea Kiosk.
Photo Dolores Davies.
Click to enlarge.

Honore de Balzac, the French author of The Human Comedy among many other works he wrote during his lifetime, 1799-1850, is also notable because of his capacity for or addiction to coffee in order to push on to the next opus. He explains in “The Pleasure and Pains of Coffee.” While he didn’t reveal a specific number in his writing, it is said he drank 50 cups a day, maybe more, maybe less. However, he most likely drank demitasse portions, about one-forth of a cup of a small cup of coffee as we know it, or the equivalent of 12-13 cups. While others of us may like our share, this is a hard act to follow. But, one can. These days in Del Mar there’s help.

Starting early, sticking to small (12 oz) cups, moving north to south crisscrossing Camino Del Mar, Pacific Breeze in the Plaza. The coffee: Joe’s Gourmet Coffee produced in Oceanside (dark and medium roasts), $2.25. With free refills this can count for 2+ cups. 8:00 am to 4:00 pm daily. Probably Balzac took his strong and straight, but most stops will have milks or milk alternatives.

Moving on, Starbucks (yes, the name comes from a character in Melville’s Moby Dick, and no, he did not drink coffee) has their own coffee (three brews) and language. A small cup is “tall,” $2.15, 10 cents off if you carry your own cup. Those more fabulous offerings with more fabulous names and prices may not count as a cup of coffee, 5:00 am-8:30 pm Monday-Thursday, till 9:00 pm Friday-Sunday. Americana Restaurant pours Columbian coffee from West Bean Roasters, San Diego, $3.50 with free refills. 7:00 am-10:00 pm, Tuesday-Saturday, till 3:00 pm Sunday-Monday. Crepes & Corks’ coffee comes from Enne Caffe, an Italian owned company roasting in North County, San Diego, $2.50, 9:00 am to 9:00 pm Tuesday-Thursday, till 11:00 pm, Friday, 8:00 am-11:00 pm Saturday-Sunday, closed Monday. Time for a crepe if you are starting to get jumpy.

Zumbar Coffee & Tea Kiosk, nestled to the left of Zel’s entry, serves their brand of espresso, roasted in Sorrento Valley, $3.00, 7:30 am-2:00 pm Monday-Friday, till 3:00 pm Saturday-Sunday. Segue west on 13 Street to Stratford Court Cafe for a cup of Gravina, three varieties, $3.21. Self serve refills, 7:00 am-3:00 pm Monday-Friday, till 4:00 pm Saturday-Sunday. Back on track, Cafe Secret serves Peruvian organic dark roast coffee, $2.73. Tuesday-Saturday, 8:00 am-9:00 pm, (closed 3:00-5:30 pm), Sunday till 3:00 pm, closed Monday. Del Mar Patisserie has an organic Columbian blend from Intelligencia Coffee for $1.95, 8:00 am-4:00 pm daily.

By now you may have consumed only 9 or 10 cups, so off track to Bird Rock Coffee Roasters, 2212 Carmel Valley Road, for one of three of their blend brews, $2.50, 6:00 am-6:00 pm Monday-Thursday, till 7:00 pm Friday, 7:00 am-7:00 pm Saturday-Sunday. One can linger and contemplate the lagoon or just how much more coffee can be consumed. All will depend on your count to date. While 50 cups might seem unobtainable, you may be up to 12 small cups! If not, take a break with decaf. That may not have been what Balzac did, but this is now. If you are behind, simply retrace your steps to the rest of the restaurants now open to bring up your number. Don’t stop now. There is always a nightcap cup.



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