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Dec 16, 2006 10:37 PM


Stopped in at Ritual today and found a line out the door. I'm willing to wait in line for good coffee, and the espresso was pretty terrific, but Ritual is in dire need of some better management -- a second machine, perhaps -- or I'll take my business elsewhere.

With Organica closed, Ritual and Blue Bottle remain top choices. Aside from Philz, which I don't like, are there any new cafes making particularly good coffee?

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    1. re: twinpeaks

      Tobias was asking about espresso, the last I checked Capricorn didn't even serve serious espresso, just some crap from a super auto vending type machine. Correct me if I'm wrong.

      1. re: chipman

        if you call it "crap from a super auto vending type machine," so be it. Maybe you should have your eyes checked, but then, maybe not. Good espresso, coffee, tea, etc. Great service! Can't beat beans roasted within 20 feet.

    2. Eileen Hassi and Jeremy Tooker built Ritual from the ground up, in response to a Bay Area cafe scene that had been left in the dust by the Pacific Northwest, where they both came from. They did it on the backs of 18-hour days and ended up with the first state-of-the art cafe in the Bay Area.

      There's a line out the door because they are 100% committed to doing it right. To attack Ritual's "management" for the long line out the door strikes me as pretty wrong headed. Would you prefer a quick cup of the bitter swill that passes for espresso in most cafes?

      3 Replies
      1. re: TopoTail

        Don't get me wrong. I appreciate the quality of the product. That's why I'm there from time to time. But the counter is usually a disgusting mess, and the wait is sometimes interminable. These seem like management issues to me. It should be possible to make great espresso drinks and still clean up the joint. And I hope they figure out a way to expedite the service.

        1. re: Tobias

          Wow, I have never noticed the counter being dirty, and actually find them quite efficient, considering the coffee is dripped to order.

          I also find the folks at the counter incredibly friendly for such a hipster joint, they're always happy to do a lukewarm steamed milk for our toddler along with our coffee -- something a lot of cafes get snotty about... Don't get me started about how you can order five layers of special direction for your capuccino, but ask for less than hot milk and they act like you're asking them to chill it down with hand-applied ice.

          1. re: Tobias

            The wait is a function of how long it takes to make the drinks and, probably, how quickly other customers handle their end of the transactions. Getting another machine isn't a simple matter as good machines costs thousands of dollars.

            At some point, criticizing a food service establishment for having a line just makes absolutely no sense. The lines are there because the product is worth it, especially when there are so many other places to get the product (I'm thinking not just about coffee but also about a good taqueria or a good pizza place among others).

        2. It's the luck of the draw. Sometimes there's a line, sometimes there isn't (we were there yesterday at noon and there wasn't much of a line--then later there was). They seemed to me to have an efficient system of order taking and fulfilling, which is more than I can say for Peet's.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Atomica

            and Peet's is just another Starbucks brand.

            1. re: Cynsa

              Peet's is a 40 year old Bay Area institution. Would you explain what the connection with Starbucks is? I couldn't find anything on line in a quick search to support what you assert. Did I miss a buyout?

              1. re: monday

                There's an historical relationship between the two, but they're separate public companies. More details on the Chains board:


          2. It's not a cafe, but the blue bottle kiosk on the Embarcadero side of the Ferry Plaza building on Saturdays doesn't usually have a line. They only make coffee, and they're kind of hidden. The main kiosk on the south side of the building sells beans, coffee, etc.

            Otherwise, just bring a friend to chat with while you're at Ritual.

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