Earlier this week I documented the San Francisco Coffee Paradox, an insight into the New Yorker’s impossible quest for a good cup of joe in this foggy “city.” Since then SFIW has been inundated with requests (OK, two) for a suggestion of our favorite locales.
So, for those of you looking to embark on the Kung Fu-esque personal quest in attempt to summon the patience for (an admittedly delicious) cappuccino, we are proud to present our first ever review of our favorite coffee places. This first review focuses on establishments in and around The Mission (think East Village circa 1983 – graffiti, heroin addicts, public urination and all).
SFIW’S DEFINITIVE LIST OF COOL
Vibe: Deconstructed cool. Lots of single track bikers abound. A rotating art exhibition lines the wall and piles of stacked-up coffee bean bags and a large roaster constantly remind us all that they roast their beans on the premises, dammit! Baristas are tattooed and cute by San Francisco standards (i.e. not really that cute) and often assume a refreshingly arrogant attitude that makes novice coffee aficionados feel like they never quite order correctly. There’s even often a line out the door…Loves it!
Wireless: Yes, but the covered outlets have the skinny-jean-set up in arms.
Expert Coffee Review: Excellent coffee and delicious espresso drinks. They even have one of those fancy Clover coffee makers (but you had better order correctly).
Average Wait Time: More than an eternity
Overall Rating: 9
Vibe: Large warehousey space nicely converted. High ceilings, exposed beams, poured concrete bars, good fixtures and the all-important coffee roaster make you feel like you’re somewhere important. Its slightly-off-the-beaten-path locale cuts down on long lines. A tiny selection of good pastries keeps the caffeine-buzz in-check.
Wireless: Um, none!?!?!?
Expert Coffee Review: Excellent coffee and delicious espresso drinks.
Average Wait Time: Less than an eternity
Overall Rating: 8 (no internet? I mean come on. If you didn’t want unemployed degenerate bloggers to freeload in your space for hours you shouldn’t have opened a coffee shop!)
Vibe: Small shop that focuses more on pasteries than coffee, but they still do a good job. Tartine is kind of “famous” so tourons from around the globe descend on this pace making it constantly packed. And not in the “cool, this place actually has a nice energy” kind of packed but the “you need to share a table with an old lady” kind of packed. Weak.
Wireless: Not sure, but it’s not an ideal vibe to camp-out for hours. Maybe OK to attempt to read a small book, but the constant churn of humanity hungrily eying your table makes it an uncomfortable place to idly update your Facebook status (i.e. “Adamahata is wondering when the Germany family precariously balancing their plates of croissants and pastries will get the hint that he’s not giving up his seat”).
Expert Coffee Review: Excellent espresso drinks (but get them to go). Not sure about the coffee.
Average Wait Time: Much more than an eternity.
Overall Rating: 8 (+1 for ridiculously amazing bread, – 3 for tourons)
Vibe: Let’s just cut to the chase: this place is cool because they rent video tapes and DVDs (the clerk didn’t even know what BluRay was…ADORABLE!) and they make very good espressos, very fast! The only place to sit is a bench outside the front door, and except for the aforementioned videos lining the shelves and some other hipster/artist accouterments, there’s no real design. But that’s not the point. Need a good, quick espresso? Go to Faye’s!
Wireless: Probably not.
Expert Coffee Review: Great espressos, great price
Average Wait Time: Like 30 seconds? Seriously fast!
Overall Rating: 10!