September 27, 2017

28 of San Francisco’s Essential Coffee Shops

September 27, 2017

28 of San Francisco’s Essential Coffee Shops

Coffee shops continue to sprout up all over town—and San Franciscans are downing every last cup. There’s also a serious old school crew of coffee fanatics in town, where espresso-lovers have been holding it down before “third wave” even existed. And, like the early adopters we are, San Francisco embraced that third wave early on, ushering a new era of coffee fanatics (or addicts, depending on how you spin it).

So, here are 28 great places to get a jolt. Ranging from old to newish, they offer a variety of beans, roasted on-site or selected from great roasters all over the country. Shaken iced coffee, nitro cold brew, pour overs and espressos abound, alongside more fancy toast than you can shake a stick at. For laptop-lovers or community-builders, there’s a cup of coffee awaiting you.

Did we leave out your favorite place to grab a cup? Let us know in the comments.

Note: map points are arranged alphabetically, not ranked.

1 Andytown Coffee Roasters

This small Outer Sunset shop chooses and roasts their own beans (now at a new facility down the street) for the perfect cup of coffee. Known for their Snowy Plover, a cold drink composed of Pellegrino, espresso, and brown sugar syrup over ice, topped with homemade whipped cream, the cafe also offers housemade pastries and free wifi. Owners Lauren Crabbe and Michael McCrory named their shop for McCrory’s native Andersontown in Belfast Ireland — hence the cafe’s authentic soda breads — and they’ve expanded with another location at 3629 Taraval Street to serve their growing fanbase.

2 Beacon Coffee & Pantry

Adding to North Beach’s old school espresso scene, Beacon Coffee serves Sightglass to a new generation of dreamers. A spare interior boasts subway tiles, a living wall, and a small pantry stocked with specialty dry goods. Grab a seat by the large windows and watch the tourists stream by on their way to and from the wharf, and feel glad that you’re in the know.

3 Blue Bottle Coffee

Blue Bottle Sansome is a glorious, high-ceilinged affair, with marble and white tiling galore. Snag a pour over, espresso drink or New Orleans iced coffee, and don’t forget a liege waffle. There’s always a line at this high-traffic location, but it moves quickly. If you’re in a rush, order a latte— pour overs take some time. (And if you need a downer after your upper, cocktails are just across the hall at The Treasury.)

4 Caffe Trieste

The North Beach location of Caffe Trieste has been around for over 50 years, serving espresso to the masses. It’s host to a crowd of neighborhood regulars, who can be found discussing, art, poetry, music, and more on the sidewalk outside. Live music is a bonus at this institution, where performers can be seen day and night.

5 Chapel Hill Coffee Co.

This itsy bitsy addition to the FiDi coffee scene brings Four Barrel Coffee and baked goods from Neighbor Bakehouse. Espresso drinks are the main attraction here, in the spirit of keeping things simple. It’s standing room only, but feel to hang out and enjoy the neighborhood vibe. Photo Credit: Geri Koeppel/Hoodline

6 Coffee Bar

This Mission location is one of three Coffee Bars throughout the city, offering free wifi, coffee from Oakland’s Mr. Espresso, breakfast, and lunch. It’s a pleasant place to work inside, or on the patio when the weather cooperates. Working here is encouraged (including the presence of many outlets) but be mindful that certain tables are reserved for lunch customers from 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

7 Coffee Cultures

The newest location of Coffee Cultures is now open in SoMa, offering Counter Culture coffee, soft serve, pastries, beer and wine. It’s the largest location of the growing chain, giving the team more opportunity to expand the menu than the original FiDi location.

8 Equator Coffees & Teas

Mid-Market continued to improve its options, with the addition of Equator’s first SF location. They offer drip coffee, espresso drinks, single origin pour-overs, teas and cold brew, along with beer and wine on tap. There’s food including to-go items like grain salads, and sweet and savory toasts. For real coffee cocktails — with booze, that is — try their third SF spot in Fort Mason, where they’re brewing with a new “Ground Control” technique and also serving beer and wine.

9 Farley’s

Stop in for a visit with an old friend, a game on one of the shop’s collection of boardgames, and a coffee. It’s also right next to Plow, the line-drawing breakfast spot down the street, and a great place to pass the time. They’ve got typical coffee shop snacks, but allow guests to grab a sandwich at Hazel’s next door and eat it there. Outdoor seating is ideal on a nice SF day.

10 fifty/fifty

Small and modern, fifty/fifty offers coffee from Ritual, tea lattes (like the lavender Early Gray), and boba tea. Free wifi is available as well. And on Saturdays, stop by for a Dynamo Donut, a special weekend treat.

11 Four Barrel Coffee

This wifi-less hive of activity on Valencia is also the host to local artists’ shows, and a gathering spot at all times of the day. A parklet catches the overflow of the busy coffee shop, which offers a pour-over bar, espressos, and tasty pastries.

12 Garden House Cafe

In the reaches of the Outer Richmond lies Garden House Cafe, a standard coffee shop with a lovely outside seating area, piano, free wifi, and shelves of books for patrons’ perusal. Filled with regulars, it’s also a great place to stop on the way to the beach or Legion of Honor for a quick bite. Choose from sandiches, salads, and light lunch fare. Warning: it’s cash only.

13 George and Lennie

From former Four Barrel barista and artist Brett Walker, George and Lennie is a bohemian Tenderloin hangout. Lime green walls are the start of your experience, which includes espresso served in an eclectic array of vessels, among other earthly delights. There is art (and artists) aplenty, so come with an open mind and a need for caffeine.

14 Hearth Coffee Roasters

Owned by married partners Ariana Akbar and James Kafader, Hearth offers their own house-roasted beans. Drinkers can choose from espresso, pour-over or mini-siphon vacuum pots; they also offer beer and wine. The cozy cafe is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and offers housemade, organic pastries all day.

15 La Capra Coffee

A collaboration between Mitchell and Steve Rosenthal (Town Hall, Anchor & Hope, Salt House) and their partner Hanna Suleiman (Caffe Greco), La Capra is focused on espresso. The main attraction is the Rosenthal brothers’ blend of Italian-inspired espresso, alongside drip coffee and a rotating selection of single-origin pour-overs. They also serve toast with a variety of fancy toppings, pastries from Neighbor Bakehouse and Starter Bakery, and sandwiches and salads at lunch.

16 Linea Caffe

A cute ‘n’ tiny corner coffee shop in the Mission, Linea stands out due to its proprietary roast, Heath Ceramics cups, and pleasant outdoor seating. Stop by for a quick cup on the sidewalk, or take it to go on your way to BART.

17 Mazarine Coffee

Mazarine Coffee, the highly curated coffee shop from former techie Hamid Rafati, rotates through a variety of roasters on a regular basis, offering pour-overs, espresso drinks and nitro cold brew. The wifi-equipped café is friendly to laptop-wielding folks; it offers Starter Bakery pastries in the morning and light sandwiches and salads at lunch. They’ve also got beer and wine.

18 Philz Coffee

The coffee chain that started in the Mission has exploded, with rapidly multiplying locations in the Bay Area. Stop by any of them for a cup of pour over coffee (no espresso machines here!), that the friendly baristas guarantee to “make perfect.” Some bagels, pastries, breakfast sandwiches, and other light food items are available. There are many devotees of the local chain, many of whom are addicted to the creamy Mint Mojito.

19 Provender

Cute and tiny at 300-square-feet, Provender is an espresso-fueled labor of love from Italian brothers Austin and Tony Ferrari (Hillside Supper Club). They’ve also got teas, pastries and lunch to-go, including a grain salad, a meat sandwich, and a veggie sandwich. Try the Maplewood, a cold brew coffee that is strained, poured over ice with milk, maple syrup and a dash of pure maple extract for a smokey, sweet flavor.

20 Ritual Roasters Coffee

Ritual now has six locations in SF, the latest location being the Castro, but it’s most scenic might be a bright, new space in the Haight, overlooking Buena Vista park. It offers the same selection of batch brew, cold brew, pour-overs and espresso drinks as the other four locations, plus pastries from Firebrand Artisan Breads and quick breads from Batter Bakery.

21 Réveille Coffee Co.

This is the fourth location of Réveille from brothers Tommy and Chris Newbury, joining locations in North Beach, the Castro and a truck in Jackson Square. And luckily for Mission Bay, it has quite the expanded offerings: coffee and espresso, plus a café with breakfast, lunch, dinner and brunch, and even wine and beer. Neighboring Neighbor Bakehouse provides pastries, alongside Réveille’s own Paradise espresso blend and single origin coffees that are roasted on site.

22 Saint Frank

A minimal interior leaves the focus on the coffee at this Russian Hill spot. A limited selection of food items gives way to well-made pour overs and espresso drinks, made with coffee sourced from independent producers.

23 Sextant Coffee Roasters

SoMa roasters and coffee shop Sextant is the 2014-founded project of founder Kinani Ahmed, a first-generation Ethiopian working directly with Ethiopian, Kenyan, and Colombian growers. Sextant’s setting, with exposed brick, high ceilings, and a charming back patio, make it a place that’s as nice to linger in as it is to stop by en route to the office.

24 Sightglass Coffee

Sightglass now has five coffee shops to its name — the latest in a stunningly updated corner Victorian on Divisadero. But SoMa remains their flagship location, and it’s big and beautiful with the roastery as a centerpiece for pour overs, espresso drinks, and cold brews. There’s ample seating, though it’s often packed, and an affogato bar serving Portland’s Salt & Straw ice cream on the mezzanine.

25 Snowbird Coffee

Opened by former filmmaker Eugene Kim, Snowbird offers pour overs and espresso drinks featuring their house-roasted beans. They also have a rotating selection of national roasters, like Wisconsin’s Ruby Coffee. And they recently added their own line of bottled cold brew and cold-brew concentrate, for the hardcore caffeine-hounds out there.

26 The Mill

A Four Barrel-fueled outpost that highlights the bounty of Josey Baker’s excellent bread, this Divisadero coffee shop is a light-filled oasis. There’s a roomy parklet outside, a large communal table inside, and several other seating arrangements to choose from. Order some thick toast slathered with jam or an array of other hearty toppings, an espresso, pour over, or tea, and a grab a loaf of bread for the road. Also: no wifi.

27 Trouble Coffee

Yeah yeah, they’ve got the toast you crave. Cinnamon sugar, or slathered in Nutella, it’s all there to mitigate your toast cravings. They’ve also got some of the best coffee in the neighborhood. It’s super tiny inside so don’t expect to find a seat; instead, head to best parklet in town, composed of a huge twisted log. It’s also a great place to seek refuge from the hours long wait for brunch at Outerlands next door.

28 Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters

Partners Nick Cho and Trish Rothgeb are now offering their award-winning coffee in a full-service shop, after operating as a pop-up for several years. The originators of the term “third-wave coffee,” the shop does not disappoint, offering precise and technologically advanced pour-overs and espresso drinks. Marla Bakery provides the baked goods.