Globally Sourced.
Roasted in San Diego.
From farm to roast.

We are a San Diego Specialty Coffee roasting company that believes in single origin coffees from all over the world. We work with farms and farmers, importers, and Co-ops to find the most amazing coffees available. Founded by John Vallas in 2011. Swell was born from his passion to live life to it’s fullest, friends, family, surf, good health, and great coffee. Swell is passionate about roasting coffee to be experienced at it’s most flavorful potential. We stand to always explore the globe to discover new flavors and keep our feet in the sand in sunny San Diego, California.

small batch
Take a peek into our process.
Let us explain how we do.

Coffee starts to turn into it’s magically delicious flavor at first crack. So what the hell is first crack? It is the first stage of coffee roasting and it is quite similar to popping pop corn. This is the point when caramelization and sugar do there dance to merge into freshly roasted super stars.

Light Roast
Light brown in color, light roasts have the highest acidity and retain most of the original coffee characteristics.
Medium Roast
Medium roasts start to balance acidity and body. The original coffee taste still comes through, but is complemented by fuller flavor.
Dark Roast
Full-bodied and rich-tasting, most of the original coffee's qualities are lost and replaced with notes from the roast.
Meet the Team
Good coffee happens every day.
Exceptional coffee happens at Swell.

John Herrmann hails from the midwest and has been in coffee for over 16 years. John, or “Papa Herrmann” as we call him, has done everything coffee all over the continental US. From cafe manager to region trips, roasting to training, Papa Herrmann has done it all. Now he finds refuge in San Diego, California, where he lives a life of vintage bicycles, classic rock’n’roll, surfing, craft beers and of course…specialty coffee!


Mondo has been a coffee enthusiast for countless years. As a Certified Structural Welder most of his adult life, working exceedingly long days welding all over the world, coffee was his best friend. After years of welding and traveling, Mondo found an opportunity to work for the very coffee shop he would visit with his wife upon his return from traveling – Swell Coffee! Taking a job in the Roasting Facility in its very early days, Mondo has watched the small local coffee shop, turned roaster, turn into the Specialty Coffee Nerdom it is today.


Nick has had a love affair with coffee since first working in a candy-bar-coffeeshop out of high school. After a foray into the culinary world for a few years, the emergent “third wave” pulled him back into coffee’s sweet embrace. Since then, Nick has run the gamut from customer service to training baristas as well as lot selection, consulting, and roasting on multiple types of roasters. Most days you will catch him with spoon in hand looking for a cupping, but occasionally you will see him at the beach watching his 14 year old dog run around like an idiot. Also, Wu-Tang.

Located in San Diego, CA
Get your fix in person at either of our two cafe locations.

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