The perfect combination: Lofty Coffee Co.’s cafe and Encinitas Roasting Works
By Kelley Carlson
Lofty Coffee Co. is discovering the perks of having its own roasting facility right across the street.
The company opened Encinitas Roasting Works, at 97 N. Coast Highway 101, about two months ago, as a convenient location to prepare coffee beans for its Lofty Coffee café, and also as a haven for java purists. Employees use an energy-efficient, high-tech Loring roaster, which has digital controls and monitoring systems that provide more control over the product.
Encinitas Roasting Works further realizes owner Eric Myers’ vision, which is “about the craft, and the craft is coffee,” according to Lofty Coffee Co. General Manager Meaghan Conway.
Conway said Myers first homed in on the need for a local coffee bar several years ago when he lived in The Lofts at Moonlight Beach, the mixed-use residential/retail project at Encinitas Boulevard and the Coast Highway. Using the skills from his fine-dining background — which included working at Pamplemousse in Solana Beach — he opened Lofty Coffee at The Lofts, focusing on a “farm-to-cup” philosophy and using ingredients that are sustainable, local, organic and ethical (SLOE).
Starting with three employees, the company has now grown to about 20.
“Our employees are keepers,” Conway said. “They stick around,” with many having been there almost since the beginning. “They’re really like family.”
And they embrace customers as if they’re family, too, she noted.
As faces have become familiar over the past few years, the café’s menu has evolved. Conway said recipes were constantly played with, and “we did not stop until everything was perfect.”
Much of what’s offered is house-made, and “anything that comes from a Torani (flavored syrup) bottle … we can make from scratch,” she added.
Generally, Lofty Coffee’s café offers java, teas, and breakfast and lunch fare. The most popular food item is the Organic Artisan Bread & Poached S.L.O.E. Eggs, and patrons can add organic sides such as avocado and chicken apple sausage to create a customized platter.
Other morning dishes include the Organic Straus Yogurt & Granola with Fresh Fruit, and the Organic French Toast.
For lunch, guests can opt for salads and sandwiches. There are two types of panini — the American, with artisan wheat bread, Applegate smoked turkey, aged cheddar, dill pickle, sweet onion, and mustard aioli; and the Italian, featuring rustic country bread, Applegate black forest ham and prosciutto, roasted artichoke, red peppers and smoked mozzarella. Salad lovers can choose between Arugula, containing figs, pistachios, goat cheese and a house-made dark cherry vinaigrette; and the Caesar, with butter lettuce, in-house dressing, Parmesan and bread crumbs.
Gluten-free options are available for both meals.
While the café offers specialized coffees (such as Salted Caramel), Encinitas Roasting Works keeps its beverages more straightforward, with no flavored syrups and spices to dilute flavors. There are also no takeaway cups and no WiFi at Encinitas Roasting Works, so customers can fully absorb the atmosphere without many distractions.
“It’s peaceful and quieter there (at Encinitas Roasting Works) — more of a craft experience,” Conway said.
And although Encinitas Roasting Works doesn’t sell specialized coffees, it still caters to those with a sweet tooth — pastries and house-made gelato are made and sold on site.
Lofty Coffee Co. is open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday; call 760-230-6747. Encinitas Roasting Works’ hours are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily; call 760-452-6320. Visit loftycoffeeco.com.