Take a journey with Ultreya’s coffee towards a relaxing day


Grace Haass

by Grace Haass, Contributor

The word “ultreya” is a Latin greeting meaning “journey onward.” That is the phrase you’ll find painted in large letters at the coffee shop Ultreya, local, small business right down the street from campus.

The store stands out in the small shopping center with a small patch of grass with two lawn chairs inviting customers to take a seat, as well as a sign advertising “coffee, acai and good vibes.” Those three things, and more, are exactly what the shop provides.

The owner Danielle Riggins opened the store with the hopes of its contrast to the area resulting in success for the business.

“I wanted to create a positive, beaming space of light in a corporate area,” Riggins said.

She has been in the coffee business for 15 years, previously managing the Lazy Hummingbird shops — another local coffee business that has locations in both Pacific Beach and La Mesa. Riggins thinks coffee shops are meant to create a community for people to meet, relax, share good news and bad news and overall connect with one another.

The inspiration for the name, Ultreya, came to her while she was reading the book “The Camino,” a story about one woman’s journey along Spain’s Camino de Santiago. The book mentions how the word “ultreya” is used as a greeting between hikers passing each other along the route, to wish the other good fortune on their journeys.

With such close proximity to campus, about 60% of the shop’s customers are SDSU students, and Riggins wants to tie these two ideas together.

“Since SDSU is such a transient area, I wanted the store to be a space to wish people well,” Riggins said.

Customers love the store not only for the laid-back atmosphere, but for the food, specialty drinks and, of course, the coffee. Ultreya is appreciated by many for its vegan nut “mylk” alternatives, like macadamia and oat milk. Customers also like the simple, local ingredients used in the drinks and snacks. The menu includes catered paninis, many vegan pastries and a variety of lattes, teas and other drinks.

SDSU psychology junior Natalie Valentine raves about the acai bowls, as do many other customers.

“The acai bowls here are so good because unlike most places that blend them with liquid, Ultreya’s are thick and creamy, and you can pick from a variety of superfood toppings,” Valentine said.

Having been open a little more than a year, Riggins and staff will be holding a one year anniversary party for Ultreya on Nov. 3, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The party will include pop-up tents from other local vendors out front of the store, located on the corner of College and Adams Avenue. Guests can enjoy all the amazing menu items from the shop. There will also be live music.

Whether you’re a regular customer, or have yet to try Ultreya, the event is a perfect time to visit.

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