San Diego

Scrimshaw Coffee

time Everyday: 6am - 6pm

Some of the best things come from adventure and exploration and when you feel lost, that’s when you’re truly found. And next time you’re in San Diego, venture to the uncharted waters of El Cerrito where Scrimshaw Coffee is crafting the finer things of the brown bean.


BY: Ben Hitch Contributing writer

Scrimshaw is a place where everyone will know your name by the time you come back for your second cup. Most coffee shops will broadcast their inherent focus on community which is great, but this is where Scrimshaw truly shines. The space is marked by an iconic whale, both at the front door and centered above the bench seat running the length of the shop identifying the importance of Scrimshaw’s family and community. And as the whale is also associated with unbridled creativity and the exhalation through the blowhole symbolizing the freeing of one’s own creative energies, the whale defines the forthcoming experience at Scrimshaw.

take a glance up as the lighting resembles the tentacles of jellyfish strung out across the ceiling.

They will certainly fuel your tank as you pass through, but they are so much more than that. Scrimshaw’s intent is for you to ‘waste’ time with them, coffee in hand and friendship on the cusp of creation. The Scrimshaw crew is high five ready—thrilled you’re there and striving to make sure you’re just as stoked to be there.

The inside of the shop is clean and white, Migaloo white, and the coloring fits the part. Offsetting the white walls and cement floor is a black barista bar with a dark stained wood corner accompanied by a couple stools so you can belly-up to the bar and talk shop with the team. Once you’ve found your spot to sip, work or just do you, take a glance up as the lighting resembles the tentacles of jellyfish strung out across the ceiling. And if you’re one that has to see everything that is going on, Scrimshaw has a huge streetside window partnered with a sill to gaze upon the passerby.

The decor is clean and straightforward, as is the menu… Espresso—Coffee—Not Coffee… emphasizing the focus on the go juice. And by sourcing beans from multiple local San Diego roasters, they offer the opportunity for a different drip every time you stop in. They also have a stellar lineup of loaded bagels, like the Basic B and That Good Good. But the secret is, on the weekend, they are firing up a tater tot breakfast burrito. Yes, please!!

Scrimshaw Coffee is out there waiting for you, so don’t ever be afraid to venture to the unknown.


The most expensive scrimshaw ever sold was a whale’s tooth dating back to 1830 and went for over $465k

Guaranteed to be served a WHALE of a good cup of coffee

The music played at Scrimshaw is definitely sponge worthy

Extra points if you can figure out why there is a sole pink wall leading to restroom