Coffee Tour of Mission and SoMa
Earlier this week I had a free morning and decided to take a walk and have some coffee. Of course it’s never just that easy so rather than hitting up just one coffee shop, I thought I’d go on a mini tour of a few of my go to shops along a few mile stretch just to see how they all stacked up against each other. I started off in the Mission and knew I had to hit up Ritual. For years this was the place I’d travel across the city to visit but for some reason it seems to have dropped off a bit recently. Or maybe the other offerings have just gotten much better. Maybe it’s just that the people there don’t seem to care as much as they used to. That said, the were the only place I visited that had vegan donuts available so that more than justified the trip there. Don’t get me wrong, stacked up against most other coffee shops in the city Ritual is still very high up on the list, it just happens they weren’t the very top of the places I visited.
Stop #2 was just down the street at Four Barrel. This is my favorite spot in the mission and very much worth walking out of your way to get to. Assuming it’s not on your way of course. As some what of a nomad I haven’t spent enough time here to be considered a local, but I’ve always had a damn fine espresso when stopping by. I’ve heard from folks who I consider much more local than me that sometimes the employees here aren’t the nicest but I’ve never experienced that and this is till the place I take anyone when I need to have a quick meeting in SF and want to show off some amazing coffee.
From here I ventured into SoMa to visit the not yet completely open but already much talked about Sight Glass. Anyone who remembers the early days of Four Barrel will appreciate the set up here – It’s basically a small cart with a machine and limited menu stacked in front of a curtain that hides what promises to be a really amazing set up once construction is finished. Because of this it’s not much of a place to hang out yet, but I think that’s going to change quite a bit once they are finished building it out. As far as the coffee itself goes, this was my favorite stop of the day and the espresso I had was bright and interesting, exactly what I wanted at that point. I can’t wait to go back here in the near future.
From there I walked way over to Cento. I used to go here anytime I was working near south park and dig the secret back-alley-ness of it. You really feel like you are in the know or something. And as far as the other coffee shops for a good many block radius, this is definitely your best option. That said, my espresso wasn’t the greatest and I think in the future I’m going to stick with the lattes here.
To wrap this trip up I doubled back and hit up Blue Bottle near Mint plaza. This is again one of my fav spots in the area and when everyone else suggests Starbucks it’s always excited to skoff in their face and take them here for something much better. Also the mad scientist lab set up of this shop and the fact that they carry Tcho goes a long way in my book of awesome. Usually I rave about their coffee as well, but in comparison to everything else I’d had so far this was kind of boring. Not bad at all, really good in fact, but predictable. It’s entirely possible I’ve just been hanging out with people who are excited to push the limits and haven’t been drinking the normal stuff recently so my perspective is skewed. I’d also walked several miles in the sun and had enough espresso to kill a normal person.
Regardless, everything I had was damn tasty and I’ll probably do this again soon. Anyone else want to join?