Irregular Coffee

A coffee heart-on

A coffee heart-on

A curious paradox exists here for visiting and transplanted New York coffee lovers. There are dozens (dozens!) of  fantastic coffee shops scattered throughout San Francisco. Most every neighborhood boasts a handful of establishments that approach the art of coffee brewing with the meticulous detail that’s made the Pacific Northwest a mecca for java fanatics for thousands of years.

For purists, most shops boast an impressive variety of delicious organic, free trade, fair wage, sustainably-harvested beans from throughout African, Jamaican, Colombia, Cambodia, Czechoslovakia, Brazil and every other important coffee producing mecca throughout the world. For the more European-minded of you, the espressos are smooth, cappuccinos are silky, the lattes are perfectly balanced, and I believe baristas here attend mandatory multi-year internships in Florence to study feather, heart and/or tree design that they meticulously paint on the top of each foaming cup.

Sounds amazing, right? Too bad you, my New York friend, will most likely never experience the delights of a good cup of coffee in San Francisco. Oh sure, you’ll visit one of the shops – lured in by the scent of fresh roasted coffee beans and the calming sounds of the unemployed quietly clicking on their keyboards. You’ll saunter up to the counter, push your designer sunglasses to the top of your head and ask the tattooed young artist behind the counter for your favorite brew…

And then you’ll wait…

And wait…

And wait…

And after 15-minutes you’ll leave – bewildered, thirsty and empty handed.

You see, a cup of coffee, which I’m sure you’ll agree should take about zero-seconds to deliver, can take up to twenty-minutes* here! A delightful little macchiato may take up to an hour and cappuccinos will simply never arrive.

Scientists have proven time and time again that it is physically impossible for New Yorkers to wait while a cup of drip coffee is hand prepared, individually, just for them.

Luckily there are plenty of both Starbucks and Starbucks II (aka Peet’s) stores here that operate on a more realistic time frame, so you’ll be able to maintain your fix. But there are no coffee carts dotting the corners, and nobody knows what a “regular” cup of coffee truly means.


* All times converted to the Exaggerated Manhattan Scale (EMS)

SFIW reviews Mission Neighborhood Coffee Shoppes


About adamahata

On February 5, 2008, after 15 amazing years in New York City, I got married, changed careers, and moved out to San Francisco. All within a three-week period, and with very little preparation. This blog is for those of you who follow me out to San Francisco (or have been here for a while and are still trying to figure this place out). You're not in Kansas anymore Dorothy.
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3 Responses to Irregular Coffee

  1. Linda M says:

    I once took a Java Walking Tour of San Fran several years ago. It was great fun … I don’t remember waiting for long periods of time for my joe, though. Maybe that is a recent development?

  2. Pingback: Coffee Shoppes: The Mission « San Francisco is Weird

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