Cafe Moto in San Diego, CA is a unique homage to the rockers of the 1960s who rode their cafe racers from one transport cafe to another.
It’s also one of the most important fair traded coffee bean distributors throughout the greater San Diego area.
Often the favorite hangout of motorcycle riders today, Cafe Moto has become a scene where young hipsters of San Diego apply their California-esque interpretation of rebellious British 60’s counterculture. Many of them are urban professionals with money to spend, while some are old guys who like to show off the Triumphs and Nortons they’ve managed to hang on to over the decades.
Cafe Moto was started in 1989 by Torrey Lee, an Italian motorcycle enthusiast, who grew up working in his parent’s coffee shop in La Jolla. He worked every job in the coffee shop business and finally decided to open up his own store. He discovered a small women’s coffee farm in Nicaragua and made arrangements to purchase all of their coffee beans, becoming a fairly-traded coffee grinder and distributor before it was even cool.
Today, most of the independent coffee shops throughout San Diego County buy their coffee from Cafe Moto.
Barrio Logan, where Cafe Moto is located, is not known for being a popular tourist destination. It had long been one of the more destitute communities of downtown San Diego. Now more of an industrial area, the community is enjoying a renaissance where Latino culture meets 21st century redevelopment. Interspersed between low-income housing and apartments are blossoming new businesses like Cafe Moto.
On a sunny day like this, Sash and I needed to get out of the apartment. While San Diego is fraught with eclectic indie coffee shops of all lifestyle genres, Cafe Moto seems to be the only one that celebrates the motorcycle culture. We love their spirit of “doing our own thing”, and not being sorry about it.
There’s no food served at Cafe Moto, just awesome coffee, latte, and tea, though you can often pick up a muffin or biscotti. But there’s awesome carne asada across the street at Rolando’s Taco Shop #1, and the folks at Cafe Moto don’t mind if you bring in a burrito.
2619 National Avenue
San Diego, CA 92113
Phone: 1.619.239.MOTO (6686)