A recent New York Times article gives credit to San Francisco for its established artisanal coffee scene, something that is only now making a presence in New York City. In San Francisco, the $0.50 cup of drip is no longer: Many cafes offer top-quality organic and sustainable beans roasted in-house and brewed perfectly.
Arguably the best coffee in San Francisco can be had at Blue Bottle Coffee Company. Blue Bottle got its start as a kiosk in Hayes Valley and after enormous success, has expanded across the city to locales that include the Ferry Building, Mint Plaza, and their always bustling original stand. All beans are roasted a maximum of 48 hours prior to reaching your cup — any older and they’re donated to charity. At Mint Plaza, Blue Bottle even uses a Japanese siphon bar, a $20,000 instrument that looks more like it’d be at home in a chemistry lab.
Ritual Roasters, located on Valencia Avenue in the trendy Mission District, is another café famous for roasting its beans on site. If you head here, look for the line out the door and bring your laptop to fit in.
Also in the Mission District, Four Barrel Coffee was started by one of the original owners of Ritual Roasters. Though based out of a cavernous café, the in-house roasters have made a name for themselves over the years and you can now find their coffee at restaurants and cafes throughout the City.
Philz Coffee is best known for its enormous menu and variety of coffee blends, each created by owner Phil Jabar. Every cup is made to order and hand brewed (no machines!) with precision. Not quite sure how to navigate the menu? Ask a barista for a suggestion and she’ll help you narrow down your choices. Check out their new location on Van Ness Ave, close to Hotel Whitcomb.
- Joanne Greenberg