Pinhole Coffee is too cute for school! I’ve gone more times than I can count and every time I almost pinch myself with how great they’ve set this place up. They have a variety of coffees from which to choose – Blue Bottle often being their default. Their snacks are few and they opt for tiny chairs rather than stay-here-forever seating. Be warned – the strollers come in waves on weekends. Other than that, go here at any opportunity.
Jackson Place Cafe was a regular in my life during an important, yet fleeting moment. I worked nearby at an incredibly challenging role in an incredibly challenging industry. To say the least, the consistent peace, beauty and stellar coffees and fruit options this cafe brought to me was of great appreciation. Would go back without question.
I love Reveille Coffee! Both locations are wonderful and all times I’ve been the people have been as well. An excellent place for food, snacks and coffee. And, of course, the crowds have come to support it. Finding a table easier said than done but so goes most things here.
Snowbird Coffee replaced this now-closed coffee bar and admit Snowbird took a good thing and made it better. They still have lovely pour-overs and espresso, a few meager snacks but now there’s more seating beyond two chairs. Yay. It’s a great spot to get out of the Muni fray, pretend it’s warm, and caffeine yourself.
Kilovolt Coffee is a grace within not much commerce in West Oakland. I don’t get over there often – and know full well there’s TONS of amazing things I’m missing. That’s part of it. I attempt to limit the fire-hose of awesome foodrink coffee things and given I don’t work or live there, I try to keep myself sane. But when I do get over there and find a Sightglass shop like Kilovolt, I adore the yummy hot drinks they give.
Machine Coffee & Deli fits into the category of tiny, good, and in the heart of the evolving Mid Market. There’s no doubt some of its neighbors, brick-and-mortar and street-residents, have changed since my visit last year. The location alone is enough to write an essay, yet, as I attempt to focus on those in this town who are attempting to keep the coffee-shop scene local and independent (ie. can you buy a share of Blue Bottle stock on NYSE? No. I’ll continue.), I recognize yes, it’s in the thick-of-it. I’ve been close to business owners, not attached to tech, in and around the TL/Mid-Market neighborhood and give them my appreciation for their presence, and, obviously, some blog time. They’re brave as hell to come to work everyday and I’m guilty as charged for loving a good cup of coffee. Which is why to go. Maybe a sammich? It wasn’t one of those days I let myself cross the carb-line but I certainly would there someday.
Not news: Coffee, and the foodie movement overall, isn’t new anymore. Artisan, third-wave, yada yada, yeah – it’s happened. But it’s not going away either.
I’ll admit my little coffee – food – thought blog here has gone through some serious doubts. Really? I’m still doing this? Dear, God, Why?! There are so many reasons not to:
- it’s boring: please see intro. paragraph. Fancy coffee isn’t wow-worthy like it once was.
- it supports a perspective that’s easy to hate: as this City, and world, become more and more economically divided, it’s becoming more and more difficult to enjoy anything except breathing without shouldering guilt no matter what’s in your bank account.
- I shouldn’t be eating cookies: seriously. I have a problem.
- I need to be doing other things: like burning the calories from my cookie. And making the world a better place. And doing my taxes.
Right. So. Uhm. Why again? My navel-gazing insight into why I still care while attempting to be conscientious.
Fancy coffee is still happening: when was the last time you heard a cafe closing due to not making their bottom-line work? It’s rare. I can think of one in the last five years I’ve been here (Brown Owl Coffee) and some of them are behind the new spot in the Castro (Hearth Coffee). The business makes sense because, I hate to say it, it works. Fancy coffee works here and just about everywhere else in America. You don’t need an i.d., you don’t need to get drunk, you don’t need to know anyone, you need $4 to sit down and chillax outside of your office – home – and often taxing life. Who can argue that? Which is what brings me to The Mill.
You go there to have $4 toast with homemade jam spread to its borders. And a hot cup of Four Barrel coffee. And enjoy it.
You can’t totally appreciate Coffee Cultures without giving credit to Counter Culture Coffee. The Durham, North Carolina based coffee company made a big mark on the coffee community years ago just as single-origin/sustainability was really taking shape. Their coffee is superb and difficult, if not impossible to get behind a counter — all the more reason to get to Coffee Cultures. They’re only open Monday-Friday in the FiDi so it took me a bit to check them out. It’s a lovely little shop (and, hi, they have Straus soft serve ice cream? Random, yet awesome).
Libby Jane is adorable, well thought through and a great addition to the ever-changing TL. There’s Brenda’s, with the swollen brunch wait times so why not open a smaller, faster version of the beloved Southern bistro next door? So that’s what they did. Libby Jane does the biscuits, a few soups-sandwiches-salads paired with either Ritual Coffee, Community Coffee, or Mighty Leaf Tea. Great job, good call and I’m a fan.
This is a rare coffee-shop post in that, I don’t particularly love either Stanza location; however, the coffees they have are delicious enough to care.
Both locations, 16th St. and Haight St. are relatively grungy, under-staffed and don’t offer much beyond the unique roaster choices. They both have WiFi, soo, yeah, depending what you’re after, that could be a draw.
Cafe Sophie, for a long time, was one of the lone really good cafe/coffee shops in the Castro. I can say that since the Castro is pretty tiny and until the addition of Reveille, the non-chain coffee was low brow. These guys have Verve, an excellent roaster from Santa Cruz who doesn’t have a ton of accounts up here. I love it. The baked snacks are delicious and well made. Yelpers have all these photos of gourmet sammiches too – something I hadn’t known was an option. Check it out; snag a table if there is one open (crowded every time I’ve been) or enjoy the sidewalk cuteness.
Flour & Co. is, um, awesome. They have house-made gluten-free English muffins and Stumptown Coffee, I mean really, do I need anything else? Ok, fine, cookies sure. They’re super nice, the place is adorable and the other lunch items are equally attractive. Honestly slightly relieved this is located across town or else I’d live there. And last time I checked it wasn’t the best idea to live on chocolate chip cookies alone.
Local Mission Eatery does a lot. Part cafe, part coffee shop, part fine(ish) dining – and everything on all the menus is, yep, you guessed it, with some local flare. The entire package offers breakfast, lunch, dinner and brunch but I’m just going to make most of my noise about the back counter, aka, Knead Patisserie.
The little back counter is the outlet for Four Barrel coffee (no espresso) and a fabulous line up of baked things. You have to deal with that part prior to ordering anything else from Local Mission Eatery proper. I’ve no idea why they set it up this way and find it kind of odd, but the fact is if you want a delightful breakfast, lunch, brunch or dinner on 24th St. in the Mission, here’s your spot.