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Oct 3, 2005 04:53 PM

Good SF coffee?

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I'm new to the area, and I am a coffee fiend. I know San Francisco has a reputation for coffee, so where should I go?

P.S. I already know about Peet's, and please don't bother telling me about Starbucks. I think I might have encountered a few of those before.

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  1. My favorites:

    Ritual Roasters in the Mission (on Valencia, near 17th). Possibly the best steamed milk you will ever have, and they'll pour you latte art.
    Delessio (on Market at Gough). Their lattes are a little more thick and hearty, but still good.
    Cafe Madeleine: they use great chocolate here, so the mochas are more of a hot chocolate/latte hybrid. Thick and creamy.

    People love Philz, but you'll have to look up where exactly it is.
    Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf: a nice Peet's substitute, but nothing to write home about.

    4 Replies
    1. re: nooodles

      That Ritual place is new. I like the espress there, too. Cafe Organica and Coffee To The People also do that latte art thing. Have you tried those places?

      Personally, I'm not a fan of Philz, but I agree it is a San Francisco exprience someone might want to try and make your own decision. I would steer clear of Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf if you don't want a "Starbucks" experience.

      1. re: Wubber

        I just had my first cup of coffee (I chose Turkish) at Philz on Saturday, and it was the best cup of coffee I've ever had in my life. It opened my mind to what coffee could be. I knew there were coffee fanatics, but I never "got it" until this weekend.

        1. re: KathyR

          The only problem with trying Philz is that it is seriously addictive. I usually get a Philharmonic with cream and sugar, and love savoring each sip. It's nice to have cinammon, cardamon, and mint in your coffee.

          I recommend letting the staff sweeten your coffee for you unless you are a control freak or have health issues that bar cream. You'll be glad you tried it.

          There are 2 SF locations- 24th at Folsom and 3901 18th near Castro. Bonus: the Philz crew are a friendly bunch.

        2. re: Wubber

          Ritual is on Valencia near 22nd Street - using Stumptown Beans from Portland. OMG, it's good!

      2. I think you'll find the best espresso and coffee in Sf at Coffee To The People. Its over on Masonic by Haight Street (a block away from Haight and Ashbury). All their coffee is fair trade and organic, and really good. They will do a french press, too, which really brings out the flavor. If you really want a jolt, get a french press of the French Roast.

        I also like Farleys over in Potrero Hill, and there is this place called Cafe Organica just north of the Golden Gate Park panhandle that rotates their espresso providers so you can try different ones.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Wubber


          1. re: Paul

            hello, please be so kind as to give details (location, what they prepare/serve). myself, a former coffee/tea professional who is disenchanted with most commercial venues and now roasts at home. I did find a nice cafe/roaster in Alexandria, so I haven't lost hope. thank you.

        2. OooOO oOOooo, you need to stop by the Blue Bottle Coffee's (micro-roaster) Kiosk in Hayes Valley. 315 Linden at Gough. Organic coffee, never older than 5 days. Deelightful.


          6 Replies
          1. re: Dr. Biggles

            Wow, this really is a city for coffee. I put up my post less than a half hour ago and already I got three replies. Thanks!

            From the group response, I guess I will be checking out Blue Bottle, Coffee To The People, and Ritual. I especially like that Blue Bottle and Coffee To The People do the organic thing. All different parts of the city, though, right?

            1. re: Earl

              Besides, Ritual, and Blue Bottle, you must give Cafe Organica a go. Besides these 3, there really is no other places to go in the city for serious coffee.

              As for Philz, if you like cheap robusta beans mixed in with stale arabica beans, to make the drink more profitable give them a try.

              1. re: Steve

                I think those three are excellent, but I wouldn't rule out Coffee To The People, either. Personally I think they beat all three of the others. They roast all organic and fair trade blends up in San Rafael. Heavenly.

                1. re: Paul K.

                  Where is Coffee To The People? I never heard of it.

                  1. re: Kaitlan

                    Nevermind. I just saw the other post "Coffee To The People." Somehow I missed that one before. Sometimes I wish you could un-post on this site.

                    Anyway, for anyone else who missed it, it is on Masonic Ave near Haight Street. Must be new.

                2. re: Steve

                  Meow. You really took out the claws for Philz, didn't you? I've had mixed experience there, but the coffee isn't THAT bad. I think making coffee by the cup is a little fadish and hard to maintain consistent coffee, but you can't get any fresher brew than that.

            2. Cafe Organica makes the finest coffee I've ever had. Blue Bottle is also a favorite. Ritual too. But sart with Organica.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Alfred

                Agreed. Try a ristretto using their naked portafilter. For capps, ask them to pour a triple rosetta pattern. A true espresso fiend will understand what I'm referring to :).

              2. Oh, and another thing, since your new in the area. If you ever, and I'm sure you will, drive down the peninsula, Barefoot Roasters in Cupertino on Stevens Creek Blvd is an absolute must. Their roasted beans, especially the espresso roasts are out of this world.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Steve

                  Yes I agree! Excellent coffee! Not like the crap you get at Starbucks or other chains.