Welcome to San Marcos! A small city in southern California, nestled in between the mountains. About twenty minutes inland from the coast in north San Diego County. North County is a gem with amazing beaches, glorious hikes, amazing food establishments and great weather year round. What makes San Marcos special is that it developed a little slower than its neighboring cities, holding on to a slower pace of life a bit longer. As a kid in the 1990s San Marcos still had cow farms and orchards. Residents knew everyone and you can still feel that connection 30 years later. Especially at Old California Coffee House & Eatery.

Known as Old Cal Coffee to locals, our coffee house first opened its doors in 1990 and was formerly called Mocha Marketplace. OG’s still call it “Mocha” as a term of endearment. Over the years Old Cal Coffee managed to navigate the widespread chains coming to town, changes within the city and neighborhood, and more recently the pandemic by staying connected with our identity- establishing community. In a fast-paced world where peoples identities hide behind profile pictures; Old Cal Coffee has been a place for friends to gather, businesses to network, dating, study groups and great coffee talks. I am writing to you today as the owner of Ascend Roasters, but I also own this remarkable landmark and am proud to be responsible for preserving it. It is the oldest coffee house in San Marcos and four generations of owners have worked hard to keep her alive and well for the community.

Old Cal Coffee is all about atmosphere. We have firepits outside, warm inviting décor and natural beauty that comes from the building itself. In the 1970s Jim Eubank purchased the 20- acre plot of land and began building a dining hubbub for the surrounding area to enjoy called Old California Restaurant Row. He put so much of his own blood and sweat into its creation, importing wood beams and tiles from Europe and installing a lot of it himself. The restaurants in Restaurant Row are all extremely special because of his vision and passion for the project.

In 2011 I started working at Old Cal Coffee as a 21 year old barista. I had dreams of business ownership and delighted in the opportunity to work for a couple who were willing to teach me the ins and outs. Giovanna was a master of business and leadership while her husband Craig had a knack for connecting with the people and establishing a community around the coffee house. I have truly learned so much from their mentorship. For me, it was all about the coffee.

We won many awards over the years including Best Coffee House in San Diego from 2012 to 2018. When we first won this prestigious award I took it quiet literally. I thought to myself “dang… we better have the best coffee in San Diego with a title like that.” I set out to educate myself and our staff all about craft coffee. Extracting perfectly brewed espresso with smooth crema and balanced flavor, making sure our foam was optimally aerated, and that all of our staff knew the science behind the coffees they were creating. I discovered most of my knowledge through YouTube tutorials and lessons, then crafted our own procedures to make sure we were both perfect and efficient. I look back and sort of laugh at myself, because the best coffee house in San Diego is not JUST about the coffee. It is also about the experience. However, it was time well spent because during that adventure I fell even more in love with coffee.

Old California Coffee House & Eatery has a lot of European regulars. The small town café is very reminiscent of home for a lot of immigrants and once I learned the true art of coffee they noticed. Without saying a word I started getting big smiles and nods of approval from them. One family even travels 20 minutes from home just to enjoy our cappuccinos, something you could get down the street from any coffee house. Over the years my passion and excitement for coffee has only grown, which is why I decided to launch Ascend Roasters this year. Now I get to drive the ship and roast our very own coffee for our patrons and with this website I have the ability to ship it anywhere people want a great cup of coffee. I can also share knowledge with a larger reach.

Looking into the future I have a new goals.. I want to use my years of experience to help others taking on business ownership. I dream of creating relationships and accounts where I can teach our methods to other coffee houses, cafe’s, and restaurants helping them in their journey. I hope to travel to the farms we get our coffee’s from and learn how we can help improve their fortunes. I want to continuing learning and taking on challenges. But most of all I want to help you start your day right. We all contribute to this amazing world around us and if I get to help people ascend their day and accomplish their goals then I’m doing something right.

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