Coffee Roaster of the Month – Necessity Coffee

Years ago my wife and I were down in Southern California on holidays and we both agreed if we ever moved to the USA, there’s no question the San Diego/Encinitas/Oceanside area would be where we’d want to end up. Beautiful beaches, rolling hills, and near perfect weather all year ’round…there’s few other places on earth that can make the same claim.

And let’s make one thing clear, it was obvious to me then (and we’re talking like 10 years ago) that there was a killer coffee scene going on. Fast forward to today, and the coffee scene there is red-hot. One of the newest additions is none other that Necessity Coffee. While they’ve been roasting coffee for a little while now, they literally JUST opened up their first-ever shop a few short weeks ago!

So fresh off the excitement of this new shop, serving up tasty coffee to the great So-Cal people, I knew I wanted to help share their story as this month’s Coffee Roaster of the Month! So I reached out to founder, and head-roaster Jon Runion to have him share his story. And I am so stoked to share it with you.

Hey Jon, so great to get the chance to connect with you! Help our audience get to know you a bit better. Could you share your backstory in coffee?

I started working at Dark Horse Coffee Roasters in 2013 and got super inspired by the roasting process. After working there for 3 years, I had an opportunity to move to Phoenix, Arizona, to start a coffee company with family friends, and to oversee their coffee and roasting program. After five years, my wife and I moved back to San Diego to pursue our dream of our own coffee shop, Necessity Coffee.

What keeps you going in coffee?

I really like connecting and engaging with people- it’s amazing how you can get to know someone in 5 minutes of making someone’s pour over over a stretch of time. I enjoy creating moments with people where they get to sip a really great cup of coffee and have them ask me more about why this coffee tastes so fun, good, and exciting. Lately its been working with producers who are excited about making some amazing coffees- whether that’s through a new growing strategy, a new development in how they run their farm, or how they are uniquely processing the coffees they’ve harvested!

Can you tell us a bit about the history of Necessity Coffee? Maybe even how you came up with the name?

Necessity started the summer of 2022. We moved back to San Diego and wanted to start something new and fresh with the vision of making a memorable experience for the people who drink our coffee. We started online and opened our first cafe in March 2023.

After working in coffee for over a decade and taking orders from people at 6am, the phrase I kept hearing from people was, “I need my coffee. I can’t function until I have coffee. It’s a necessity.” That stuck with me over the years and felt right.

When we started Necessity, I really wanted to make sure that we were able to offer the best experience I could from a company that was solely online. The way that we went about that was teaming up with Perfect Coffee Water to ensure that every person who bought a box of coffee had the right tools necessary to make a great cup of coffee and we think that starts with water.

Along with the Perfect Coffee Water packet, we send out a card with information about the producer. We also include a sensory training guide and we encourage people to taste the items that we think the coffee reminds us of. The card also has an ideal micron sizing guide so that they can dial in their coffee faster. We feel that giving every person who purchased a coffee a helpful info card along with a sensory activity would be a fun way to offer a good  and memorable experience.

So, your home-base is San Diego, CA. Can you tell us a little bit more about what the specialty coffee community is like there? What do you love?

I think that the coffee industry in San Diego is always growing and adapting and over the years there have been shops that have worked hard at creating a high level of coffee service. A few cafes that stand out are shops like Coffee & Tea Collective in central San Diego and Steady State in north San Diego. Both of these coffee shops, like many others, are working to focus on offering the highest quality of coffee available in San Diego and it is our hope and our aim to do the same. There is also a San Diego coffee network that works really hard at bringing coffee workers and owners together with consistent events and hang outs.

And I guess if our readers aren’t aware, it’s clear you love the city of San Diego, because you’re about to open up shop there. Can you tell our readers a bit of what they can expect when they visit?

They can expect perfect weather, endless amount of beaches, and the best breakfast burritos you can find. If they visit our shop, they can expect a super welcoming space with someone who cares about who they’re serving! They can expect some exciting and new kinds of coffee offerings and a menu that has all the favourites but also leans on some fun tiki-inspired coffee drinks!

I noticed on your site you have a pretty great mission statement: Necessity exists to build meaningful connections with everyone involved in the coffee production process. From producer to consumer, we want to be involved. We do this by roasting damn-good coffee and creating an experience that is memorable and enjoyable for everyone. Can you share a bit more about how this informs what you do as a roaster (and soon to be coffee shop?)

As a roaster for the past 8 years, I have worked pretty hard at trying to connect not only with the importers that I work with but also with the specific producers. Providing a memorable experience starts with the continuation and connection with the people that I buy coffee from. That trickles down to giving attentiveness and connection with the people who work for me to help them work hard at being present with the people that walk into my cafe. I want to work hard at being intentional with everything that I do.

I gotta admit, that I LOVE your packaging. And I noticed that included in the box is not only great coffee, but also a packet of Perfect Coffee Water minerals. Being a huge fan personally of PCW I am thrilled to see you do this. What led to the decision to include this with each box?

As I mentioned, we started sending Perfect Coffee Water out with every box of coffee because we we felt that adding the Perfect Coffee Water packet helped create the perfect experience at home. We believe that good water is essential to brewing the best cup of coffee.

Could you share a bit more with our readers about your philosophy/approach to roasting? What equipment do you roast on?

My approach started and continues from a quote I heard from Joe Meraco. He said, “If the folks you’re serving your coffee to are loving your coffee, you’re roasting the right way.” I think there are so many people that add their input on how to roast the best way and a lot of it is helpful and I’ve learned a lot from other people, but coffee can be so subjective and so many people have so many opinions that it starts to get overwhelming.

What I’ve worked hard at for the past 8 to 10 years is staying informed by reading books like “Modulating the Flavour Profile of Coffee” by Rob Hoos and trying to understand what is happening to a small seed when heat is applied and figuring out how to make it taste clear, well rounded, and exciting! Depending on the coffee I’m roasting, I roast on a San Franciscan SF6 or a SF25

So speaking of coffee, what are you drinking/enjoying right now?

At the moment, I’m enjoying a 3 year anniversary coffee from my good friend, Kimhak, who owns Pair Cupworks. It is a grape fermented coffee and it rocks!!!   

As you look ahead at the next few years for specialty coffee what excites you? What changes/innovations/opportunities do you see on the horizon?

Honestly, I’m really trying to focus on being present with my cafe and making sure I’m not moving too fast. I want to enjoy every minute of what I’m creating! What excites me right now is building and growing something I’ve been working so hard on for so long. For specialty coffee as a whole, I’m excited to make new connections with other coffee people as I grow and start to be more present in the industry.


Contact Info:


Find their beans: If you’re looking to get your hands on some beans then definitely check out their web-store for what they’re currently roasting.

Visit their cafe: If you’re down in the San Diego/Encinitas area, make sure to stop by their brand-new cafe!


I just want to say a huge thank you to Jon at Necessity Coffee for being such a huge contributor to the coffee culture in Southern California. Check out his site, grab yourself some beans, and enjoy!

Stay Caffeinated,


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