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Nov 30, 2011 09:55 AM

Where to buy a pound of coffee?

My favorite and nearest coffee joint is having some issues as the owner just had a baby and the staff is loopy alone. Can't even get a hold of the owner about the situation.

So I need coffee. Don't want Peets, Ritual or Coles unless there is some decent recent roast/bean that would be worth exploring. Blue Bottle under no circumstances unless they will finally grind the beans.

Any roast/bean is fine. My tastes seem to be changed and ruined after a year in Guatemala drinking instant coffee. As God is my witness I will never drink Nescafe again.

Anyway, I'm interested in particular roasts rather than just beoing pointed to a shop. I guess I'm leaning toward Flying Goat type undetermined, but if there is anything new and great out there, I'd be interested ... or any old reliable ... anything ... that sample of TJ's gingerbread coffee was tasting good ... save me.

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  1. I dont remember where you are in the North Bay but if you're near Sonoma my husband who is coffee drinker in our house and is fussy loves The Barking Dog - just opposite Mission Inn or also beside Whole Foods in Sonoma. They roast their own beans so you could always check with them what days they roast too

    2 Replies
    1. re: sonomajom

      I have had mixed results with Barking Dog. Could you recommend one type that is good. I might be in Sonoma this weekend, but don't want to throw money at a guess. Seriously, BD has been so uneven that I don't even want to buy a cup to check out if it is something I like. IIRC, they do a holiday roast. Has your husband tried that? If not, maybe sure, I'll throw a few bucks at the holiday roast to give it a test drive.

      1. re: rworange

        Barking Dog makes great coffee. I would not say they have mixed results. Your experience might be due to date of roast. They roast on certain days. The roasting facility is at Barking Dog in Boyes Springs California...a few miles from the marketplace shop. The marketplace shop is under new management but still carries barking dog roasts.

        For best beans go direct to barking dog. If you like darker roasts I recommend a blend of french roast and black lab. A 50/50 is always good.

        Barking dog makes fine coffee. I think it's pretty darn good. The Italian style roast is the best if you like darker full bodied stuff.

    2. Check out Church Street Grocerteria. They work with a local coffee distributor to create their own blends. They are all excellent but the Rocket Fuel is the best and the one that smells oh-so-good. They sell out frequently and usually have to order more. I think their custom-filled bags are a bit fresher but they do have pre-sealed 1-pounders in the store as well. Nice guys there.

      Update.. forgot to add the link:


      2 Replies
      1. re: billraymond

        Cool. Thanks. I'm going to be in SF this week. Rocket Fuel sounds like it might be what I'm looking for. At one time a strong brew was my choice, but it seems lating I like milder coffees equally,.

        1. re: rworange

          Great and FYI my brain is not firing too well today (maybe need some caffiene :-) but I just looked in the cabinet and it's Jet Fuel. You would likely have figured that out though. Enjoy!

      2. I think you get to Berkeley Bowl regularly, and they have a good selection of beans (and a grinder).

        8 Replies
        1. re: ernie in berkeley

          Do you have any you like and buy regularily.

          I'm not looking for recs about where to buy coffee, but specific types of brews people like to drink.

          For examle, I detest the atmosphere of Cole's on my one visit there. Didn't think much of whatever cup of coffee it was. However, maybe there is something actually good there that I missed.

          One of my favorite coffees is Graffeo Dark Roast, but suprisingly a recent purchase left me underwhelmed. However, I never bought it at the San Rafael store before and maybe I need to get it in SF

          BTW, the Starbucks Christmas blend is beyond god awful ... unless the inspiration is the coal in Santa's stocking. The Anniversary blens was actually good, but not so good that I'd buy a pound of the beans. Just so no one misunderstands ... I'm not a Starbucks fan. However very early in the morning it is usually that or McDonald's.

          1. re: rworange

            My taste in coffee isn't very nuanced, so I'm happy with the 3-pound bags of Guatemalan beans at Costco, about $12 as I recall. No grinder there, I think.

              1. re: ernie in berkeley

                I'm a major league snob, but we are using Costco in the office and I rather like it. I'm beyond shocked.

                1. re: bbulkow

                  I get the SF Bay brand French Roast and EVERYONE loves it. I serve it to guests and they have no idea I'm spending only about $5.50/lb and at Costco to boot.

                  I have tried 'most all the artisanal brands and always come back to this. I especially hate waiting in line at the farmers' market for Blue Bottle--something I have to do sometimes if shopping with someone. It's always less flavorful than the Costco stuff.

                  It is all 3 lb bags, far as I can see. But I keep it airtight in a snap-on container and it lasts. I have not tried anything but French.

                  1. re: rccola

                    I just tried the Ecco coffee for the first time, and it is better - but what a cost difference!

                    1. re: bbulkow

                      Cost difference compared to what? Seems to me that other high quality specialty coffees are in the same price range.

                      1. re: scarmoza

                        Compared to the Costco beans at work which really aren't that bad, or compared to peets / philz. I think the steps are $8, $11, $20 per pound.

                        I agree that BB, FB, Ecco, ... are all in the same league, price wise, that shift to the 12oz bags was good for them, I go through a bag at home pretty quick.

          2. Flying Goat is now our go to coffee. Right now we are drinking and enjoying El Salvador Siberia. They will grind for a French Press.

            We buy ours at Acre Coffee in Petaluma and they get the grind perfect, as does the Flying Goat location in downtown Santa Rosa.

            1. Graffeo on upper Columbus in North Beach is where I go. Don't expect a lot of choices. They just sell Graffeo coffee. I get the dark roast; I'm not sure what else they have.

              While you're in the neighborhood, drop into Caffè Roma back down Columbus a little way on the East side. They have a few choices if you want some variety.

              BTW, Graffeo has a San Rafael location.

              8 Replies
              1. re: GH1618

                Graffeo also has a light roast, organic coffee and decaf. They will blend any mix of beans on request.

                The Graffeo Dark Roast has been my favorite for years. However I just went to the San Rafael location for the first time and it just wasn't the same, so I'll buy some in SF next time I'm there and see if it is just a ma tter of location.

                It has been years since I've been to Cafe Roma. I've liked the coffee in the past. I don't remember which bean I liked the best though and need a rec if someone has a favorite there.

                1. re: rworange

                  I like the Graffeo dark roast as well (I live just a few blocks from their SF store).

                  I know it's not a local roaster, but I like the Cost Plus World Market Kenya AA (described as Dark Roast, Light/Medium body, Bright Flavor with Earthy nuances).
                  There are grinders you can use in the store. If you join their club, you get a few bag ever ten bags, and on Wednesday you get 2 for 1 credit. Occasionally, they have a buy one bag get one bag free deal too.
                  I switched over to the cost plus coffee for cost cutting reasons.
                  We have Verve, Four Barrel, Blue bottle beans at work...I don't like any of them..though at this point, I am incline to think it's the machine that is the problem. I think the water is too hot.

                  1. re: gnomatic

                    If it is the machine, more than likely the water is not hot enough. However, since you pre grind the beans at the store, your coffee is being brewed with stale beans and will not taste any good under any circumstances

                    1. re: poser

                      I buy whole beans, as I grind them at home.

                      At work we have burr grinders, and we only grind what we used. They supposedly calibrated them to the proper grind & amount for our machines. Due to the amount of people on my floor, beans are replenished almost daily.
                      Having said that, I tried Blue Bottle (at their Ferry terminal building outlet and the MoMA location) a few times, didn't care for it. I tried the four barrel beans making it myself on the work machine, and the barista (including a rep from four barrel who was in to check on things)...again..not great.

                      1. re: gnomatic

                        The grind fineness (ie calibration) and less so the temperature have tweaked on a daily (and sometimes hourly) basis. 1 degree Celsius makes a very pronounced change in the coffee. And that is with great and fresh beans and a great grinder. That is why most coffee shops are horrendous.

                  2. re: rworange

                    My wife and I visit SF yearly, start every morning at Cafe Roma........order
                    6 to 10 lbs of their Sicilian Gold maybe 4 times a year. Real it!

                    1. re: salmotrutta79

                      Thanks. It has been so long since I've been to Cafe Roma, I forgot what I used to order there and the thought of going through all their coffee again was overwhelming. Will give that one a try.

                      1. re: rworange

                        I had an espresso from Cafe Roma last week, and it was better than decent. But the beans I bought to take home: a half pound of Blue Bottle's roman espresso roast.