Peninsula Coffee Bars
I've been living in San Jose (the Almaden Valley area) for the past five years or so, but moved up to Foster City a couple weeks ago. What I'm looking for around here is the best coffee bar type place I can find: great coffee, and a good atmosphere for reading, conversation, or laptop work. (Free wifi is a plus.) The place I used to go was Barefoot Coffee in Santa Clara, but I'm looking for a place that's, well, a bit closer than they are now, even though I may end up dropping by Barefoot to pick up whole beans on occasion.
Foster City and San Mateo are ideal, of course, although I could end up as far afield as Millbrae or Redwood City for some place that's really great.
Welcome to Coffee's Sahara desert. Sadly, there is nothing compared to Barefoot on the peninsula. However, Cafe Roma, which is OK is opening in Burlingame at El Camino and Murchison, across from the Lucky's Super Market.
359 S B St
San Mateo, CA, 94401
I don't know if they have WiFi, but they serve up the best coffee in the downtown SM area. Small place but very popular with the locals. I like Three Bees (who use Torrefazione beans) but they're not quite the same. Other than that, there's *$ and Peets in the same area.
For Burlingame, Il Piccolo Cafe on Broadway is nice.
Mainstreet Coffee Roasting Co. in Redwood City is what I would recommend.
Not sure about the wi-fi but the coffee is roasted on site (and it's delicious), the food is great, they have occassional music and the back patio is great for hanging out. It's a little tricky to find this place - hidden amongst car repair shops and detailers. Well worth the trouble. http://www.mainstreetcoffee.com/
I realize that this is a slightly slow response, but your question got me thinking, because I know I've read about Barefoot at other Peninsula spots. I took a quick look and did find that Barefoot sells at Whole Foods on the Peninsula http://www.barefootcoffeeroasters.com... You could probably also call them to find out if their are other cafes that use their coffee. There's also this Penninsula Coffee Roaster's http://www.yelp.com/biz/peninsula-cof... that I'm not familiar with, but seems promising.
I think they do show up in other places, yes, although the coffee at their store seems to be fresher.
Having said that, it seems that fairly recently, Barefoot switched to 12 ounce bags rather than pound bags for their coffees, without changing the prices -- effectively increasing the prices by 25%. They used to be a pretty amazing deal for the coffee quality that they had, but now their prices are more in line with Blue Bottle -- and more expensive, by and large, than Ritual. I still love them, but they're testing my loyalty a bit these days. :)
I've never been, but have been very curious...
All Art Studio Coffee Bar
1215 Laurel St
San Carlos, CA 94070
Hate to be another person to tell you this, but the Peninsula is a coffee-lover's wasteland. There's little to get excited about between San Francisco and the futon shops along Stevens Creek Blvd. Caffè del Doge in Palo Alto can be hit or miss, but at least they offer a variety of bean options for your espresso -- which is far better than the rest of the peninsula. But you're really in a quandry.
But someone HAS to make notable coffee in the Peninsula soon enough. It's too much of a quality black hole to last that long.