Photos from my Sightglass story published Dec. 2010 in SFWeekly here.
Some images previously unpublished.
The obvious: I drink a lot of coffee. The obscure: I fell in love with Sightglass during my SF-early-days. I remember that cappuccino like it was yesterday. It was a lovely afternoon and my girlfriend and I were on our way to Rainbow Foods. I scouted out Sightglass and ordered a capp from their counter. The girlfriend (as I’ve mentioned) only does the iced stuff and has to have her faux sugar all up in it. Well, third-wavers like these guys don’t roll that way. In plain speak: Sightglass doesn’t have Splenda, or agave, or Stevia, or anything that isn’t simply defined as sugar – straight up. So we bounced to another place after I got my drink. That was fine by me – but I think I said something ridiculous loud and proud such as, “WOW! This is the best cappuccino of my LIFE!” The other time I perhaps made such claim was at the Silver Lake Intelligentsia, and I remember that day equally as clearly.
So I wanted to interview these guys. And that’s what I did. I knew owners Justin and Jerad Morrison (brothers) would help me figure out the coffee scene here and I’ve never actually sat in on a roasting process with full access to ask anything and everything I wanted – while taking gorgeous photos. Wonderfully, Jerad agreed to it and more wonderfully, the SFWeekly took my story pitch (I love it when that happens!). But no, I didn’t stop there. I decided it may be fun to drag some other friends/bloggers along (with the understanding that I was writing a story).
This is when I admit that I was r e a l l y sick while this awesome day happened. I, dear God, hope I wasn’t contagious; it had been a few days from when the symptoms really kicked on (and they say you’re only contagious in the first few days, right? Ya, hope so) and there was NO WAY I was canceling on this event I put together. I was looking forward to it so very much.
Other than that major drawback, the interview/tour went off without a hitch. Jerad was so nice and accommodating. I learned a grip about how roasting works and how Sightglass (like many of the third-wave coffee guys) only roast their beans until “second crack.” That makes a huge difference. During the roasting, the beans make this popping noise; almost akin to popcorn popping, which is an indicator they’re hitting the correct temperature. This happens (as I understand it) up to three times before the beans are straight up burnt. If you pull the batch the second time you hear them “crack,” you can be assured they haven’t hit the burnt stage. This is also why you’ll never see Sightglass do any kind of a French roast. The beans never reach that roasting point.