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Coffee recommendations

  • m

Ok i know this is basically considered a commodity at this point but in my opinion coffee is not just coffee. Also, since i don't think anyone have ever brought this subject up in the boards, I really want to hear where the chowhounds like to get their coffee(Mocha, Latte, Cap, Espresso can also be considered since i am a big white mocha fan). I have a couple of regular places i visit on a regular basis and would like to see if any other chowhound can offer some better insight. And if people actually would recommend starbucks (i hope not) please state which exact one it is. I hate to say but starbucks varies DRAMATICALLY from store to store. Thanks.

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  1. b
    Barbara Haimes

    No one has mentioned Peaberry's in Rockridge yet. Not only great, fresh beans but excellent espresso drinks with great crema & good shiny steamed milk-not foamy stuff.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Barbara Haimes
      Judith Hurley

      Los Gatos Coffee Roasting has great coffee to drink and to buy. Particularly nice, unlike Starbucks, those of us who just like brewed coffee from an urn get a separate, fast moving, self serve line and don't have to wait behind people with more elaborate tastes. And LG Coffee Roasting is an actual local business with real live owners, not a big chain.

      1. re: Judith Hurley

        i'm with jennifer on the Peets addiction. i get my beans and occassional drinks at Laurel because it's close and i have traveled all over scandinavia with my luggage smelling of peets coffee. Laurel is definately Not a shining example of what a peets should be, but the coffee beans are consistant, even tho the drinks may not be. for consistant coffee and a pristine store try west portal peets. Rodney may look a little scary but he pulls the best espresso, bar none.

        when i just want to walk outside for coffee i go up the street to tully's. it'll pass in a pinch depending on who's behind the bar, if it's not someone i know to be consistant i just pass that trip.
        (and yes, there was a thread on this not to long ago)

    2. j
      Jennifer Fish Wilson

      (Believe there is a previous thread on coffee).

      I have been faithful to Peet's since the first store on Vine in Berkeley. They do NOT vary from store to store (unlike other coffee retailers) but I can't vouch for non-Bay area Peet's (had coffee claiming to be Peet's once on ground floor of Empire State Bldg, and it bore no resemblance to local Peet's). We always travel with Peet's--in fact I just returned from the Lafayette store where I bot Major Dickason's for an upcoming Texas trip.

      1. We get our coffee beans at House of Coffee on Noriega and 23rd Ave. in SF. We've been going there for about 20 years. They roast the beans in the shop in small batches (20 pounds) and Henry, the owner, really knows his stuff.

        They are also a good source for tea and herbs and spices like zaatar and sumac and other Middle Eastern and Armenian staples like harissa, pomegranate molasses, different grinds of bulgur, etc.

        Here's a link to their website:

        Link: http://www.coffeesf.com/share/cgi-bin...

        1. Martha & Bros. is my favorite. It's a family-run operation, with stores in Noe Valley, the Mission, Bernal Heights and Lower Pacific Heights. Very strong and consistent. Also, lots of independent places around the City have great coffee -- much better than the big chains -- and usually with more quirky/unique atmosphere. Any of them are better than Starbucks or Tullys.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Marc

            I have to second the vote for Martha & Bros. Unfortunately, I'm not in the vicinity of any of the shops -- my morning mocha comes from the Pick Me Up Cafe at 9th and Folsom. I don't think they sell beans, but I believe they use Capricorn Coffees.

            For mass market, Peet's is definitely #1, followed by many Tully's locations.

          2. I like the Half Moon Bay Coffee Co., when I'm in the area. Chain shops: Peets and Torrefazione (stores in downtown SF and Palo Alto).

            1. b
              Brandon Nelson


              I don't trust anyone else with my A.M. fix. Mr.Espresso organic neaopolatin espresso beans. Clover nonfat milk. My home machine. Always just the way I like it.


              1 Reply
              1. re: Brandon Nelson

                Time to take control over your destiny and start roasting your own.

                Link: http://www.sweetmarias.com

                Image: http://www.sweetmarias.com/freshroast...

              2. d
                Darlene Zandanel

                Definitely go with Peaberry's in Rockridge - especially for my morning latte - none better in the Bay Area.

                1. Mario's Bohemian on Columbus @ Union (another location on Polk Street) makes the closest thing to a true italian espresso in the city, in my opinion (I'm 100% Italian and lived in Italy for two years).

                  They use Graffeo coffee, a small outfit with a retail store on Columbus. I think it's the only retail outlet.


                  'na buon tazzulella e' caffe'

                  1. n
                    Nancy Dalwin

                    I was a devotee of North Beach when out and Peet's for home until we discovered Thomas Cara's a few years ago. Now we never buy coffee out, unless trapped in the Cincinnati airport or equivalent. The family has been roasting their own beans for three generations; the shop is really for espresso machine sales and repairs, but their coffee is available on a sporadic basis. 517 Pacific Avenue, SF. Definitely call first to find out about availabily 415-781-0383. Somewhat eccentric folks, they're not always open. But it's worth the calls, the wait, and the lack of parking. (My husband and I both go so one can double park while the other buys as much coffee as they can carry.)

                    1. In San Francisco, I like

                      Caffe Museo at SFMOMA.

                      Galette, the new crepe place on Fillmore (nr. Pine).

                      In the East Bay.

                      Caffe 817 (Washington nr. 8th)

                      Oliveto's near the Rockridge Bart station.

                      Nizza la Bella in Albany (San Pablo Ave.nr Solano)

                      Caffe Roma in Berkeley (College at Ashby)

                      Hope you find them to your liking.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Larry Yung

                        Here's one for you, Larry.

                        Diego's Gourmet Coffee Co
                        5353 Claremont Ave
                        Oakland, CA

                        I haven't been there, but a friend swears by it. He drives from Menlo Park to buy his coffee at Diego's. He says the beans keep their quality for a longer period of time too.