A mnemonic is a memory learning device used to help retain knowledge. Johnny Mnemonic is an all-but-forgotten 1990s cyberpunk action film (set in 2021 lol) starring Keanu Reeves, adapted from the novella by William Gibson. And Mnemonic Coffee is our latest feature in the 2023 Build-Outs of Coffee series, opening soon in San Diego. The shop’s Instagram is an excellent companion to this interview, offering even more early looks inside the forthcoming space.
As told to Sprudge by Gia Giambalvo and Sarah Girdzius.
For those who aren’t familiar, will you tell us about your company?
Mnemonic Coffee is a queer, women-owned coffee and zero-proof drink space born from the minds of two longtime San Diego coffee professionals, Gia and Sarah. We are proud to be joining the specialty coffee scene with our unique perspective and vision. We are focusing on sustainable relationships in the coffee supply chain, many of which have been developed over their combined 18 years in the coffee industry. Our creative, bar-style drinks and intentional service will distinguish Mnemonic as a fresh approach to specialty coffee. Our shop will be an inviting space where people can connect with each other—and us—while creating new memories over cups of coffee.
Can you tell us a bit about the new space?
Our space at Mnemonic Coffee is channeling ’70s design, with warm wood paneling, vibrant oranges and browns, accented by touches of maximalist decor and classic finishes. The small but inviting space will be primarily bar seating, encouraging visitors to take a seat, chat with the bartender, and connect over a moment devoted to slowing down and enjoying a coffee or zero-proof beverage. The goal is for the space to feel timeless and welcoming, memorable and familiar. We aim to create a space for forming new and accessing meaningful memories.
What’s your approach to coffee?
Our approach to coffee is rooted in a commitment to quality at every stage of a drink and experience. We are passionate about providing quality customer service, paired with quality coffees, quality ingredients, and quality presentation. In our experience, we most enjoy sharing the journey of coffee with customers, and slowing down to learn, connect, listen, and create an environment that allows people a meaningful window into the complexities of the coffee world.
Any machines, coffees, special equipment lined up?
Keeping the equipment tried and true: La Marzocco two-group Linea (a well-loved 10-year-old machine with a snazzy paint job), Mazzer Robur, Ditting bulk grinder, an Origami pour-over set up, and a couple of classic French presses for batch brew. Coffees will be an array of local roasters/friends whose coffees we can’t wait to share and showcase!
How is your project considering sustainability?
Sustainability has stayed at the forefront of our approach in planning this business. Our model depends on dine-in service (there will be a portion of our menu served as only dine-in) thus discouraging a fast-coffee paper-cup experience. We will encourage visitors to bring their own cups, and we will add an up-charge for single use, which is donated to offset the footprint of those disposable cups. From sourcing ingredients, to purchasing any single-use items for the shop, we consider our impact and aim to mitigate that as much as possible.
What’s your hopeful target opening date/month?
Are you working with craftspeople, architects, and/or creatives that you’d like to mention?
We designed the space ourselves, but could not have brought the vision to life without the support of Mattie and Nic Wells (owners of Parlor on Fifth), our friends and roommates in our new space, and Jacob Kennedy (co-owner of James Coffee), our metal-welding cowboy.
No no, thank YOU!