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Nov 14, 2008 07:45 AM

Gimme! Coffee in San Francisco?

I'm reading about Stumptown Coffee's plans to open an outlet in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn, near the Ikea, natch (it is already served at some Brooklyn restaurants like Brooklyn Label). Since the East Coast's cult coffee equivalent to Stumptown, Gimme! Coffee has equally loud proselytizers, I'm wondering if Gimme! Coffee has established any missions (pun probably intended) in this heathen territory.

I know from their website that they have no outlets per se in the West, but has anybody come across brewed Gimme! Coffee or Gimme! Coffe beans in the Bay Area?

You gotta love a coffee roaster whose most popular roast is called "Leftist."

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    1. re: wolfe

      If you want to psychoanalyze me, I have a fondness for Ithaca, Gimme!'s home, because I began my long and checkered undergraduate career there. You won't find this scene in Berkeley, where I ended it:

      1. re: Xiao Yang

        I have a fondness for Ithaca
        You and Ulysses.

    2. they are over-rated. the espresso is good, but the regular beans are decent but no better thatn say Peets, and more expensive..

      11 Replies
      1. re: jason carey

        I disagree, but they're no better then any of the other coffee available here. I've had the slightly darker roast that Xiao Yang prefers there, but I've also had that lighter stuff he can't stand. The reality is they're all using the same beans from the same places and the difference is just in freshness, and roasting style, which makes the taste differences so subtle, you'd have to pretend coffee was wine to even care. Expect Intelligensia to open up before a Gimme! and they actually have their own exclusive farms from what I understand. Stumptown's just the substitute bean for those who can't roast themselves. Even Four Barrel used them in the interim.

        Do we really need a Gimme! in SF?

        1. re: sugartoof

          I don't know if Gimme! is the answer, but we need somebody with a ballsy roast as an occasional break from North Beach and Peets' outlets. What we don't need is another Blue Ritual, IMHO.

          "you'd have to pretend coffee was wine to even care"

          Seem like there are plenty of people around doing just that.

          1. re: Xiao Yang

            The funny thing is the new breed of obsessive coffee establishments just can't guarantee you a good cup each and every time. Hell, you can't even get the same beans 4 months later.

            Gimme! has the same problem. I got an iced coffee that was richer then a Blue Bottle Kyoto Siphon drip, and then went back a couple weeks later and it was more like a light tea. It's not that all these places don't have ballsy roasts, it's just they're not always using it as their house blend of the moment.

            Have you tried Coffee Bar near Bryan, or given Philz a shot yet?

            1. re: sugartoof

              I can't help associating Philz with flavored coffee, and besides it's in a neighborhood I seldom find myself in. I'm not really a "destination coffee" drinker and content with my own nabe (NB) but will try a designer coffee if I stumble across it. (I made an exception for Blue Bottle and its Rube Goldberg-designed vacuum pot.) Where is Coffee Bar?

              1. re: Xiao Yang

                Yes, but have you tried Philz? I am guessing not because of your constant mis-statement about flavored coffee. If the maybe 20 roasts has flavoring added, I don't remember. Then again, I don't look at flavored coffees. Philz serves a few coffee drinks, in addition to the standard coffee house drinks, to which he adds fresh mint leaves or spices. Actually, I think you and Phil might be soul mates should you ever drop by. There's three locations in SF. If you are ever at the ballpark or the train station, there's a Philz a block away.

                After somewhat of an infatuation with the coffee where I tried most of the roasts, It came down to no one beating Graffeo's dark roast for me and I slighlty prefer Caffe Roma. I'm not much of a Trieste fan other than for the ambiance, so I'd rate Philz higher.

                Coffee Bar
                1890 Bryant St

                1. re: rworange

                  Others have stated that Philz serves flavored coffees. I have stated that I do not like flavored coffees. Where is the misstatement?

                  "It came down to no one beating Graffeo's dark roast for me"

                  Graffeo's dark roast is what I seve at home, and the two places closest to me where I can get a cuppa (XOX and Justa Bite) serve Graffeo and are within a noseshot of Graffeo's roaters, to boot. Why should I then go to Philz?

                  1. re: Xiao Yang

                    "Why should I then go to Philz?"

                    Why for the same reason you made this post, and wanted a Gimme! Coffee with a ballsy roast, of course! If you're ever in the area of a Philz, go in, tell them you're not a fan of flavored coffees and describe what you like. They might surprise you. Also, the flavors are more along the lines of coffee roasted with cardamon then gingerbread sugar plum.

                    I like Graffeo's dark but I like it best when it's not my everyday drink.

                    1. re: sugartoof

                      My inquiry about Gimme! was mostly out of curiosity, because Gimme! is the object of the same level of cult worship on the East Coast as Stumptown is on the West, and I wanted to see if it was Stumptown's equal or superior in terms of my tastes. Philz is not in the same Rock Star league, adulation-wise.

                      Anyway, I'll settle it by having my NY daughter bring out a pound of Gimme! when she comes for Thanksgiving. (I should have thought about that in the first place, and avoided rousing the True Believers -- must be the onset of Oldtimers' Disease).

                      1. re: Xiao Yang

                        "Gimme! is the object of the same level of cult worship on the East Coast as Stumptown is on the West"

                        I'm a little confused to hear Gimme's rep compared to Stumptown.
                        People are still catching on.

                        Gimme's pricey for beans, but I'm sure you'll get something very interesting if your daughter doesn't mind lugging them home. Coffee Bar (takeout only), House of Coffee and Philz would be my suggestions to you based on previous discussions about coffee. I don't qualify as a Philz cultist. Just think you might enjoy it.

                        1. re: sugartoof

                          What my daughter just handed off to me was a lb. of La Union (I was hoping for their "Leftist" roast but it turns out that's recommended for espresso, and I'm a filter guy these days). Full details on LA Union from Gimme!'s website:


                          Anybody who wants to convince me coffee companies are not pulling our legs with florid coffee descriptions can begin by explaining what a "red ribbon pony" body means in a coffee.

                          BTW, I don't consider $13.00 for a full pound of coffee pricey in the least; I pay $13.75 for Graffeo.

                          I'll report after I've gone through the bag.

                          1. re: Xiao Yang

                            The whole bag? I don't think I can wait that long to find out if you liked your coffee billed as tasting like Jasmine tea.

                            $13 sounds normal....most of the bags I saw in the store were around $18, but I don't see that reflected on their website so I guess they dropped prices.

      2. There isn't. And with good reason: why would anyone want to? Bringing coffee from New York for sale out here is a bit like selling tea to the Chinese.

        La Colombe of Philly has a minor presence in the area with a distribution mini-warehouse in Dogpatch. But that's it as far as East Coast imports really go.

        9 Replies
        1. re: swag

          I guess that's an apt metaphor, because upstarts like Blue Bottle and Ritual sell roasts that taste more like tea than coffee sometimes. For their patrons, it would be like selling coffee to tea drinkers, and ther might be something to that; I just returned from Shanghai, where there are currently 110 Starbucks outlets, comkpared to 77 in San Francisco.

          1. re: Xiao Yang

            I just returned from Shanghai, where there are currently 110 Starbucks outlets, comkpared to 77 in San Francisco.
            Don't you just love country droppers. Let's see that works out to 1 Starbucks for each 154545 Shanghai residents and 1 Starbucks per 9937 San Franciscans. I'm sure that means something.
            edited because XY is correct and big numbers confuse me.

            1. re: wolfe

              Shanghai is a big place, but there are not 84 million residents.

          2. re: swag

            Eh, it's not like any of this coffee is being sourced in New York or the Bay Area.

            New York has the same beans, just less fanfare. They're going to launch Blue Bottle out there (it's being sold at Gramercy Tavern already), so don't be shocked if the reverse happens one day and an East Coast shop heads West. NY just isn't taking to the hype with the same religious force as San Francisco has.

            1. re: sugartoof

              >They're going to launch Blue Bottle out there <
              Are you sure about that? Someone using BB's beans is a far cry from being BB. I have not heard one thing that would indicate BlueBottles expansion to New York. You're not thinking of Stumptown are you?

              1. re: chipman

                "Someone using BB's beans is a far cry from being BB"

                Yes, but New Yorkers will be an easy transplant for BB "attitude."

                1. re: chipman

                  Blue Bottle has hinted they would roll out NY distribution, and a retail location if the product was well received. Danny Meyer got them good press during the rollout at Gramercy Tavern, and there was some buzz. There's good reason Blue Bottle would want to expand.... Mario Batali is said to me copying their model for a new coffee venture, and one of Blue Bottle's former baristas is a partner in a coffee shop where they got some mileage off her BB pedigree alone. You can also get Ritual Coffee beans from a retail account in Brooklyn, according to their website. Absolutely not confusing with Stumptown.

              2. re: swag

                Where can you find La Colombe coffee in SF?

                1. re: Mari

                  Google turned up these addresses, but I don't think they're retail:
                  1074 Illinois St
                  San Francisco, CA 94107
                  (415) 558-9661

                  2415 3rd St
                  San Francisco, CA 94107-3165
                  (415) 558-9661

                  Looks like the 'whichcraft, Coi, Gallery Cafe on Mason and the Ritz Carlton carry it. There's probably a huge list.