holsem coffee

I finally got a shot at trying the new Holsem Coffee this weekend. It’s the newest coffee shop in North Park, located near University Ave and 30th Street, less than a block from your “neighborhood” Starbucks. Walking by the Starbucks I saw there were plenty of people still partaking so I’m sure Starbucks was in no way worried about Holsem Coffee opening up next door. As you soon as you walk into Holsem Coffee (where, annoyingly, there are handles on the outside of the door for pulling even though it says “PUSH”) you can see how the vibe is different here.

Interior | Holsem Coffee - North Park - San Diego, CA

Holsem Coffee is in an open space with white walls, high ceilings, marble counters, and a bit of a minimalist feel. Bits of decor are here and there such as the backsplash behind the main counter. 

Interior  | Holsem Coffee - North Park - San Diego, CA

There are wooden shelves displaying bags of their roasted beans and this area for adding creamer/milk/sugar to your coffee with a few flowers. It’s tasteful and not overbearing. 

Holsem Coffee Creations Menu | Holsem Coffee - North Park - San Diego, CA

My main desire to visit Holsem Coffee was to try out their “Creations”. Specifically the cold brews! That Baklava drink might be calling my name very soon though (date syrup sounds awesome).

Nutella Cold Brew Coffee | Holsem Coffee - North Park - San Diego, CA

[nutella cold brew / $5]

For my first visit, I decided to get the Nutella Cold Brew.

Nutella with Chocolate Shavings | Holsem Coffee - North Park - San Diego, CA

I love these dark chocolate shavings on top of my drink. 

The Nutella is made with cold brew coffee, dark chocolate syrup and homemade hazelnut milk. For someone who adores hazelnut anything, I have to say this didn’t really have much hazelnut flavor to it. The hazelnut milk is an excellent substitute for regular milk (especially since I’m trying to avoid dairy) but the chocolate and coffee flavors are the ones that really shine through here, leaving the hazelnut flavor behind. I’d say this tastes more like a dark chocolate mocha than anything else. Don’t get me wrong, the drink was very good; the chocolate flavor is light and not too sweet and it’s creamy enough for my liking. But if you’re hoping for something with a strong hazelnut flavor, this drink won’t do it for you and you might feel disappointed. If you’re wanting a dairy free mocha though, then this is definitely the drink to get!

Coffee Bags | Holsem Coffee - North Park - San Diego, CA

In addition to making drinks for you, you can also buy bags of whole beans.

Food Offerings | Holsem Coffee - North Park - San Diego, CA

They also have a case full of baked goodies, such as cookies, breads and muffins.

Strawberry Tarts | Holsem Coffee - North Park - San Diego, CA

Along with eggy toasts and strawberry tarts. I was very close to getting a strawberry (I just noticed it says “Stawberry…) tart but resisted because I knew Jake and I would be having lunch soon. 

Full Menu | Holsem Coffee - North Park - San Diego, CA

Here’s the full menu. They also have porridge bowls, sandwiches, and boards full of meats and cheeses. Tea and more classic coffees are also available if you’re not feeling too adventurous. You still have alternative milk options (homemade almond or hazelnut milk plus organic milk) and even sugar options (honey, agave, date syrup, maple syrup or evaporated cane sugar) to customize your drinks. It doesn’t look like it costs extra to swap out for the other options, either.

I was here on a Sunday afternoon and every seat in the place was taken with people studying, reading, and just hanging out. I’ll be back to try out more of these coffee creations – I’ve got my eye on that Banana Bread Cold Brew for my next visit!

Holsem Coffee
2911 University Ave
San Diego, CA 92104
(619) 546-8542

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12 thoughts on “holsem coffee

  1. Yum! Sounds like a great coffee shop. I love to visit the cute, local coffee shops versus Starbucks when I can. Thanks for sharing about Holsem!

  2. Oh, man, everyone has been here and I still haven’t tried it! I’ve been trying to cut down on my coffee intake, but their drinks sound so delicious!

    You know, with your fancy Vitamix you can make your own nut milks pretty easily! My only problem is finding ways to use up all the nut solids you’re left with. But fresh nut milk tastes way better than the stuff in the cartons (which I still use because it’s super convenient).

    1. I felt like everyone had been here but me, haha. I don’t drink a whole lot of coffee so I didn’t feel too bad having one. I managed to hold back buying two drinks at once, so I feel like I’ve succeeded on some level.

      That is a good tip about the nut milks – I didn’t even think about it! Can you use the nut solids in breads or something? If nothing else – compost!

  3. I have tried literally almost every drink on their menu. I really liked the egg cream, the ginger snap, the nutella nd the banana bread cold brew. My least favorite or items were the drinks that had spices in them. I like that they use all natural ingredients and have alternate milk choices which they don’t charge extra for. Several of their drinks employ a cocktail.shaker which I liked as well.

    They also raised their prices on their 1 Oz coffee samplers fr $1 to $1.50. You can also ask for any of their hot drinks to be iced.

    Glad u went and liked ot. They have some interesting flavor combos.

    1. Hi CC – I saw them break out the cocktail shaker for my drink! Got it all mixed up for me, so that was nice. I really really like that they don’t charge extra for the special milks. At Starry-Bucks they charge for coconut milk which just makes me sad.

      I didn’t even notice or realize they have coffee samplers! I’ll have to try one or two on my next visit. Your posts made me want to go more and go so I’m glad I finally got into gear to check this place out – thanks!

  4. The gingersnap cold brew sounds amazing. Question: I tried the cold brew from Trader Joes. It comes in a tub & is super concentrated. Is that the same as the cold brew here at Holsem? I know you buy cold brew from Whole Foods and I was tempted to the other day when I visited. But worried their version would taste awful like the one from Trader Joes.

    1. All cold brews are different! It’s just a process with how the coffee is made. I don’t believe they do concentrated cold brew at Holsem. Try out Secret Squirrel or Stumptown – you can find both at Fresh n Easy now, too. I also like Seaforth Sludge that I saw at Whole Foods. Blue Bottle is also really good (found in little milk cartons with the breakfast foods at Fresh n Easy). Why haven’t I done a whole post on this yet? Haha

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