June 20th, 2013 — Reviews
There’s a second cafe just around from the Xero office in San Francisco, down a cool historic ally, a kiosk serving Sight Glass coffee. Quite a few from work go there, it’s a minute closer that the Reveille Coffee truck, offers shelter if it’s raining and has half a dozen tables and makes some kind of egg bagel sandwich that seemed to be quite popular. I’ve been a couple times but am not a fan of it. The older unhipsterish grumpy-faced barista seems to be constantly flustered in his little cubby-hole and the milk was too hot and frothy both times. If better made it would be great but is a useful alternative. Not open during the weekend.
Jackson Place Cafe, 633 Battery St.
Visited: March 2013
June 11th, 2013 — Reviews
We discovered a cafe with Blue Bottle badging about 4 blocks from the office – it’s not an official Blue Bottle cafe, but one serving their coffee and not just pour over, espresso drinks too. Quite often, cafes and restaurants that have Blue Bottle logos just offer drip. We ended up having a couple of different meetings at this cafe after we found it, as they had a couple of long tables to seat a dozen people that a group of 3 or 4 could easily cluster at and a few smaller tables plus a few seats outside. Lots of meetings going on and a few laptops.
Not as well made as Blue Bottle Ferry, a little ‘thin’ but the Blue Bottle taste. Small amount of cabinet food and some more breakfast & lunch-themed things like egg sandwiches, granola, panini, soup.
The Station SF, 596 Pacific Avenue, San Francisco @thestationsf
Visited: April 2013
June 9th, 2013 — Reviews
Obviously I checked into local coffee places in advance of us moving to our new office in the San Francisco financial district earlier this year. Two options, a small outdoor cafe, Jackson Place Cafe and a truck, Reveille Coffee in a car park. Both in the neighboring block to the office. The truck has become a lovely work habit each mid morning. There’s a core of 4 of us who head out each morning and the group grows and changes depending on who’s in town or who might feel like a coffee. So far (3 months) we haven’t had to worry about what to do if it’s raining! Coming out of winter now we’re starting to linger in the sun sometimes for a chat.
The coffee is consistently good. We know a couple of the baristas by name now and they’re getting used to the ‘long black’ ordered by Pax who’s currently part of the coffee crew. The coffee is strong and milk always thick and velvety and they have a decaf which is very decent when I need an excuse to go for a walk in the afternoon.
They have an actual cafe with seats about 3 blocks further down the road that we’ve been to once. The truck is only open on weekdays until about 4pm. They have a low table and a few stools in the car park if you’re lucky enough to strike them unoccupied.
Reveille Coffee Co, 768 Sansome Street, San Francisco @reveillecoffee
May 20th, 2013 — Reviews
When Pax came to live in San Francisco for a while he of course live in the cool Hayes Valley area. We went to meet him one Saturday when Sara was also in town after discovering there was a Ritual coffee place in the neighborhood as well as one of the Blue Bottle locations I hadn’t visited.
The coffee shop was in a collection of colored containers (one for coffee, one for ice-cream, two stacked on top of each other as a clothing store) across from a really popular park in the little shopping/eating area of Hayes Valley.
The coffee was really good, better than the first Ritual experience I’d had a couple years earlier – this time the coffee tasted well rounded and nuttier.
They had a small selection of cookies, pastries and scones and it was nice to sit in the park and enjoy our coffee before wandering around the shops.
Ritual Coffee Roasters, Hayes Valley at Proxy, 432b Octavia St @RitualCoffee
Visited: May 2013
May 17th, 2013 — Reviews
We’d already been to Coffee Bar’s cafe out in Potrero on Bryant Street but wanted to try the one on Montgomery Street too being that is was in the Financial District. It’s not that handy to work but on the way to the shopping area, however, being in that part of town only open during the day on week days.
It was so crowded when we got there mid-morning and a bit confusing the ordering/pick-up system as it was wall to wall people. Same good coffee as their other cafe, good strength and well made.
Only a couple seats outside, definitely an order-and-go-back-to-your-bank-job type place and it was full of Financial District workers in suits instead of the hipsters we normally see at Blue Bottle.
Coffee Bar, 101 Montgomery Street, San Francisco
Visited: April 2013
May 13th, 2013 — Reviews
This post appeared on SF Foodie today: San Francisco’s Top Five Coffee Shops
We’ve been to all those listed, some several times in fact. I like the reviewers scene-setting at the start, what he’s looking for in a great coffee/coffee shop. The only slightly dodgy candidate is Cafe Trieste – we’ve been there a couple of times but I think the coffee is made too hurriedly so the taste is not up to it.
Here are my previous reviews on 4 of the 5 listed:
Currently we’re drinking Reveille Coffee from their truck just around the corner from work which I’d put in the top 5 today, and of course we spent the last year drinking from Elite Audio Cafe before our office moved.
December 15th, 2012 — Reviews
One cool November day I was working at home, drizzle was threatening and I didn’t think I’d have time to get down to the Ferry Building for a coffee. But I thought I’d try – and if the drizzle or rain did come, I thought I’d stop off at Curbside Coffee, a truck I’d seen parked on Spear Street during a week day once before. Food trucks are a San Francisco staple so I did hold a glimmer of hope that the coffee would be drinkable. And it did have a table of condiments, social media badges, an actual coffee machine and white cups with a hand stamped logo.
There were a few people milling around and regulars who didn’t need to order because the barista knew them.
I should’ve trudged on through the rain (yes, by the time I got there drizzle was turning to rain) to the Ferry Building. They didn’t have 8oz cups – if only I’d been able to spot that without having to ask then being stuck in that awkward situation when they said no … a turmoil trying to summon the courage to exclaim ‘What?! How can you make me a proper cappuccino then? Just forget it” but instead being too embarrassed, knowing that you’re not actually desperate enough for any old coffee to drink theirs and the drip at home is better, but instead saying “OK, I’ll have a latte please.” Eyeroll. So that’s what I got. A giant mug-o-searing watery latte which I had 2 sips out of when it had finally cooled after 3 blocks but carried all the way home (because I like carrying coffee (makes me feel all bouncy and famous like Ally McBeal)) only to tip it down the sink and make myself a drip coffee. I’ve since read on Yelp that Vietnamese iced coffee is the drink of choice for regulars and they rate it pretty highly.
Shame their Twitter account is nothing more than a stream of dates they’ll be closed.
Curbside Coffee, 298 Spear St, San Francisco @curbsidesf
October 31st, 2012 — Reviews
This place always shows up on maps of good coffee near our apartment but we never get a chance to go because it’s only open week days, office hours. It’s part way along an alley that runs behind a main street – you have to step over a few homeless people and walk beside a building site and there it is, just a little cubby hole.
They use Blue Bottle coffee and definitely make it Blue Bottle Ferry Building-style – great strong flavor and thick milk, although a little bubbly.
Lucky people who work in office buildings around here! Cash only and service was quick. And I think a quicker round trip that the Ferry Building on working-at-home days.
Special Xtra, 46 Minna St (between 2nd St & Shaw Aly), San Francisco
August 12th, 2012 — Reviews
Yesterday we visited another new coffee bar in San Francisco, this time in the Mission. I’m still somewhat mystified about why people go on about how great the Mission is – great food, good vibe, cool shops – the few times I’ve been out there it’s been full of ragamuffins, people shouting, sticky streets and an overwhelming smell of piss. And that was the case yesterday when we got out of the BART – this cafe certainly wasn’t on our way anywhere so I was really piling on the expectations when my nostrils were assaulted by that smell and I had to step around unsavory items in the street. However, after walking a few blocks, things smelled better and looked lovely and summery.
The reason we were all the way out here looking for this cafe is because of a neat exchange I had on Twitter with the cafe, after seeing someone tweet something about it, I realised it was one I hadn’t heard of – when they tweeted they did a flat white, we decided to visit them the very next weekend.
We came upon the cafe in what felt like the middle of nowhere, some industrial buildings, some residential, behind a fence and hedge – I wondered if everyone was going to turn and stare at us when we went through the gap! (They didn’t, they were all enjoying the sunny courtyard and the door to the cafe was obvious so I didn’t have that moment of panic wondering where you go, where you order, do you sit first or order at the counter …?)
We ordered our flat whites and croissant and found a very cool counter seat upstairs where we spent quite a while watching people come and go from the cafe and many people who’d set up camp with their Macs, taking ages drinking their iced lattes so they could stay there using the wi-fi – except for the 3 people who sat at the counter next to us who had 4 Windows laptops between them – The Mister was most put out having to share his air space with them although thought it was hilarious that they turned the machines on then had time to go downstairs and order while they booted up.
Anyway, the flat whites were delicious. Not too much different from a well made cappuccino – good and strong with consistent thick milk. Definitely worth another visit if we can find a different mode of transport to get out there. I’ve discovered they’ve got a smaller place on Montgomery but it’s only open office hours – no weekends, which doesn’t suit us as we’re never in that part of town during the week.
Coffee Bar, 1890 Bryant St, San Francisco @coffeebarsf
August 6th, 2012 — Reviews
We were out and about in the Castro yesterday, came across a great men’s store and found one of the knitting stores I’d seen online – a bit overwhelming on my first visit trying to figure out which was baby 4ply and which was double knitting but definitely somewhere I can find my way back to when I’ve run out of my current bag of wool. We were going to stop for coffee in the Castro, found one place online we wanted to try but when we walked into the narrow store with glass cabinets of coffee beans and a Pete’s/Starbucks smell and a tiny Cimbali machine in the corner we decided to give it a miss. Also, no food. We’d also seen someone in the men’s store with a Blue Bottle cup and after an unsuccessful attempt by me to chase him down we asked one of the guys working in the store if there was a Blue Bottle near by – apparently yes! A cart near the BART station we’d arrived into an hour earlier. It was gone by the time we got back there.
So we rode the tram back down Market to do a couple of things in town and while en route I remembered a cafe Ma’velous that we’d trammed passed a couple of times – it’s on a part of Market that you don’t really walk to and in a reasonably unsavory part of town, above 7th Street. However, it had been on my very very first coffee list when we came to visit San Francisco early last year before moving here so decided it was finally time to stop. When we got out we realized we were standing in front of the huge building that Twitter and Yammer are moving into – it’s apparently going to be part of town that explodes as the next San Francisco tech scene.
And Ma’velous was right across the street. Inside, odd narrow small place that you can tell is a bar by night. Actually from the outside it looks a bit like a bar or even anonymous in the less that lovely street.
Sometimes these kinds of places make crap coffee, but given that there was nothing but a bar, a back shelf of beautiful wine bottles and a gleaming glass-enclosed coffee machine taking center stage gave us hope! The machine is a La Marzocco, but it has glass casing – fascinating! There were only about 5 people in the cafe.
No cookies, so we just got 2 cappuccinos. The guy was meticulous making them and they were so velvety and smooth. The flavor was strong and almost recognizably Stumptown but with a definite cinnamon flavor.
We sat down the back on some old green colored retro chairs with ashtrays in the arm rests next to some odd lampshades. The place is going to be overrun when Twitter and Yammer move into the neighborhood.
Ma’velous, 1408 Market Street, San Francisco