San Francisco is not Seattle. However, there is something of a coffee "scene" here, with a number of accomplished baristas and roasters in the city. We have our fair share of accomplished Latte artists, and certainly most hipsters know their macchiato from their mocha. San Francisco, hungry to increase its coffee cred further, even invented its own espresso drink, the Gibraltar.
See also: cafes.
Bay Area Coffee Roasters
This list is alphabetical, to keep the editors from playing favorites too much.
- Barefoot Coffee is based out of San Jose, and you may see their beans in local grocery stores. They have a variety of roasts, including espresso.
- Bicycle Coffee delivers all their coffee via bicycle, to reduce carbon output (it's also kind of cool). This probably does save more carbon than it takes to ship the beans from around the world (container shipping is freakishly efficient). You can find their roasts in a local grocery store.
Blue Bottle Coffee, based in Berkeley, has a storefront in Hayes Valley, where one can get coffee, espresso drinks and beans. There's also a small selection of pastries from Miette. Blue Bottle also operates a stand at the Saturday Farmers Market at the Ferry Building. They have high visibility among tourists.
- The term "McBlueBottle" is occasionally used to poke fun at a coffee roaster which which does not do enough to differentiate itself from a bevy of other small coffee roasters.
- Fourbarrel Coffee is a new spot started by a Ritual cofounder, also located in the Mission.
- Mr. Espresso is not to be confused with Mr. Coffee. Mr. Espresso is a roaster based in the East Bay. Coffee made with Mr. Espresso beans is served in a number of places in San Francisco, including the legendary Tartine Bakery.
- Philz Coffee has several locations, one in the Castro, one in SoMa (near Mission Bay) and one in the Mission, which has an unbelievable number of roasts available to be turned into coffees. One thing they do not have much of is espresso. The staff (are they baristas if they don't do espresso drinks?) will mix in the cream and sugar for you on request — a pleasant change from having to fiddle with all that stuff yourself at another counter. Philz has great atmosphere and a lot of creatively named blends, but unlike some other local coffee shops, does very little to talk about the story behind the beans and where they come from.
- Ritual Coffee Roasters has a store in the Mission, an outpost in Hayes Valley, and one inside the Flora Grubb garden center in the Bayshore (which is an exceptionally pleasant place to drink coffee). Anecdotal evidence suggests the god-like nature of the baristas there, with many competing in national barista competitions. They have appropriately Olympian demeanors.
- Sightglass Coffee is a new roaster (2011) which is incredibly hipster. They have a very nice space in SOMA, and will serve you espresso drinks or drip coffee (you can even choose between Chemex brewing or a V60 cone). Their coffee is also served in places such as Cafe Piccino.
- Verve is actually based all the way down in Santa Cruz, but that's really not that far. Their cafe is located right next door to their roastery, in the Opal Cliffs area, and you may find their roasts in San Francisco grocery stores.