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cerridwyn
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cerridwyn
Joined: 6 Jun 2010
Posts: 490
Location: Inland Empire California
Expertise: I live coffee
Posted Tue Aug 27, 2013, 8:15am
Subject: SF Coffee
 

Places I've been.

Got in Thursday afternoon, and was very tired but wanted coffee. Asked the concierge, which was closer and walked over to Blue Bottle on Mint. That location has no sign. You find them by smell along. Grin.

They were making Ethiopia SCFCU Peaberry in a siphon and that's what I ordered. I spent it's cooling off time explaining how siphon works to the guys sitting at the bench with me. It has no tables, long shared benches. They describe the tones of Violet, cocoa, stone fruit. I don't have a hugely sophisticated palate. I can only say it that that lovely texture that is unique to siphon (and I know texture is not the right word, but it fits. It was tasty and I'd do it again.

They do their pourover with a Nel that they say makes it come out 'sweeter'. I didn't try it so can't comment.

I bought some Three Africans to use as I traveled. I rarely go for a blend, but this one called out to me. So far I've not been where coffee didn't abound, but I will break it open soon, just because. The hotel served Illy so it was palatable to not make in the room. (And too keep awake at the class, I honestly drank way too much of it.)

Next place we went was over to Sightglass on 7th street. They were brewing in the Hario a Kenya Kaiguri. (One of two they had on the shelf). It was good, typical Kenyan.

I bought some Ethiopia Guji, Yetatebe to take home. They had two from Ethiopia, my favorite origin and it was hard to choose, but this had notes that attracted me greatly.

Monday my daughter and I went exploring a bit more. Places we had to drive to instead of walk, so we went and had a very tasty tea breakfast at Samovar, went back and checked out and headed over towards the Mission District.

We first went to Four Barrel at 375 Valencia St, where we tried a Guatemalan Cadejo. They had all South and Central American out to pour so I had to pick one and I liked the description of this as well - FLAVOR: Ginger and lemon fragrance opens into strawberry and pink lemonade notes, supported by caramel sweetness. Again, my palate is not as sophisticated as many of you, but it had a nice bit of sweetness to complement it's goodness.

Having looked at the Bay area coffee map quite a bit before this trip, I found this place called MaVelous. It said both on the map and on their website that they carried coffee from famed Norwegian micro roastery Tim Wendelboe. My ancestry is Norse and I thought this was so cool. Sadly, they had none and hadn't in months according to the barista. I hesitated to glare and say, "UPATE YOUR WEBSITE". They had 49th Parallel, Heart from Portland and Stumptown. So out of town coffee to try. They had a Kenya Kiawamuru AA from 49th Parallel and a Kenya Gichatha-Ini AA from Heart in Portland. I asked the Barista which Kenya he liked better. He said it varied a lot but right now the one from Heart. I let my daughter choose and this is the one she picked. Heart describes it as "Strawberry Jam, red grape, caramel". Tasted like a good Kenya, again, good not awesome.

Lastly, we wandered over to Ritual at 1026 Valencia St. They had something very different. They called it "Siberia- Processing Experiment #3" from El Salvador.  The description from their website "Much has changed about Rafael Silva Hoff’s operations over the past few years. Rafael converted part of the family’s Llano Grande farm into a wet mill to process coffee. He purchased a Penagos aquapulper, built space for drying tables and patios, and invested in the equipment for storing and milling the coffees. These new operations open up a number of possibilities for processing the coffee, all of which can have a bearing on the flavor in the cup. So at the beginning of this year’s harvest, we met with Rafael and designed some different processing experiments. This lot represents the last of our separated experiments from the Siberia farm. Unlike the other two, this lot skipped the fermentation step completely. This coffee was de-pulped and then washed clean by the aquapulper before being laid out to dry. This method tends to accentuate the sweet, caramel notes in the cup, rather than focusing on the brighter elements. Even so, the acidity is present, with flavors of dried figs, vanilla and dulce de leche." My daughter ordered this and it was very unique. A we bit sour but not in a bad way. It wasn't harsh at all, almost mellow. And it definitely wasn't bright. I had the only espresso for our day's journey, SWEET TOOTH Los Crestones, a single origin from Costa Rica. Apparently they will be rotating through a bunch of SO espresso's. Which I was close enough to try more. It's espresso how I like it, unique without that attempt to make it always taste the same.

Now you all do this so much better than me. I thought about all you No Cal folk as I went through these places. My daughter bought herself a coffee journal app.

Sitting in a hotel in South Bay atm, waiting for them so we can head over to Santa Cruz. Will see how much more I can drink today without my heart exploding. I have no clue how some of you guys do it.

 
The world needs more outstanding coffee.

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espressophile
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espressophile
Joined: 19 Dec 2001
Posts: 399
Location: Bottom of the Bay
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Isomac Venus
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Posted Tue Aug 27, 2013, 9:34am
Subject: Re: SF Coffee
 

cerridwyn Said:

Sitting in a hotel in South Bay atm, waiting for them so we can head over to Santa Cruz. Will see how much more I can drink today without my heart exploding. I have no clue how some of you guys do it.

Posted August 27, 2013 link

You need to check some of our awesome South Bay places instead of just heading over the hill.  Nothing at all wrong with Verve (love them myself), but you're not doing yourself any favors by coming up here and missing Chromatic, Bellano, Barefoot, etc.

 
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cerridwyn
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cerridwyn
Joined: 6 Jun 2010
Posts: 490
Location: Inland Empire California
Expertise: I live coffee
Posted Tue Aug 27, 2013, 9:13pm
Subject: Re: SF Coffee
 

We went out to Verve today. And to Chromatic. I know Bellano well. My daughter lives walking distance from them. SF was newer to me, had been a very long time since I had been up there. Hadn't been to Verve before and Chromatic was still Barefoot last time I was up here.

Actually had a 'fancy' drink at Chromatic - Creme Brulee' Cappuccino. I don't normally like sweet coffee but it was yummy.

In Santa Cruz we at at a place called Chocolate. Not coffee, but wow, yummmmmmmy. If you haven't tried it, I heartily recommend it. It's food, not candy.

 
The world needs more outstanding coffee.

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Intrepid510
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Joined: 30 Dec 2010
Posts: 344
Location: California
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Thu Aug 29, 2013, 9:50am
Subject: Re: SF Coffee
 

Funny you went to MaVelous in search of TW, last time I was there like in March they ran out the day before. So I assume that was probably the last time they had it in. It is a very good shop even without carrying TW, but I think the owners sources it occasionally for his own devices rather than to really sell.

If you make it over there next time just try the espresso, always had really good experience with them especially when the owner is pulling shots, Philip Ma skinny asian guy. Best shots of Hairbender I've had came from there beating out times I have visited Stumptown by a long shot.

Overall Ritual is my favorite place in SF, and glad to hear you liked it too!

Anyway tons of places in SF and you really only scratched the surface.

 
Less water, more grounds.
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espressophile
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espressophile
Joined: 19 Dec 2001
Posts: 399
Location: Bottom of the Bay
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Isomac Venus
Grinder: Innova
Roaster: iRoast
Posted Fri Aug 30, 2013, 4:06pm
Subject: Re: SF Coffee
 

cerridwyn Said:

In Santa Cruz we at at a place called Chocolate. Not coffee, but wow, yummmmmmmy. If you haven't tried it, I heartily recommend it. It's food, not candy.

Posted August 27, 2013 link

I've been.  The chicken soup has been known to make vegetarians turncoat, at least temporarily.  Hope you went to the bookstore next door.

 
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steven_meyer
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Joined: 19 Jul 2003
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Location: San Bruno, ca
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Alex Duetto 3.0, ECM  Giotto...
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Posted Fri Aug 30, 2013, 5:01pm
Subject: Re: SF Coffee
 

If you promise not to tell anyone, I'll reveal the name of the best espresso bar in S.F.  Iron&steam serving exquisite espresso drinks through an open window of the Hi-Lo bar on Polk near California.
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fluke
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fluke
Joined: 11 Jan 2011
Posts: 25
Location: Santa Cruz CA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Expobar Elegance 2 group,...
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Posted Sat Aug 31, 2013, 12:55am
Subject: Re: SF Coffee
 

cerridwyn Said:

Actually had a 'fancy' drink at Chromatic - Creme Brulee' Cappuccino. I don't normally like sweet coffee but it was yummy.

In Santa Cruz we at at a place called Chocolate. Not coffee, but wow, yummmmmmmy. If you haven't tried it, I heartily recommend it. It's food, not candy.

Posted August 27, 2013 link

I tried Chromatic's Brulee on a whim the other day - interesting to see barista actually get a reasonable creme brulee 'crust' and still retain the texture of the cap below. Not bad, but a little too 'fancy' for my taste. I know a few people who swear by their coconut mocha. I also had a barista's choice, which came out a spiced, molasses latte and whilst it was an interesting concoction - I turned it in for a V60 pourover which was much more satisfying. Anyone know if they moved the roastery/coffee bar to 2nd st, I just realized I'm often working 2 blocks away at the sj armory.

Entertaining to see Chocolate mentioned here. I spent a lot of time at David's previous cafe (So Say We) in the mid 90s. It's still extraordinary to see how successful he's been after all these years.

Somewhat late to the game, but I've finally started going to Lulu's @ the Octagon. Always a treat.
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espressophile
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espressophile
Joined: 19 Dec 2001
Posts: 399
Location: Bottom of the Bay
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Isomac Venus
Grinder: Innova
Roaster: iRoast
Posted Sat Aug 31, 2013, 10:56am
Subject: Re: SF Coffee
 

fluke Said:

I tried Chromatic's Brulee on a whim the other day - interesting to see barista actually get a reasonable creme brulee 'crust' and still retain the texture of the cap below. Not bad, but a little too 'fancy' for my taste. I know a few people who swear by their coconut mocha. I also had a barista's choice, which came out a spiced, molasses latte and whilst it was an interesting concoction - I turned it in for a V60 pourover which was much more satisfying. Anyone know if they moved the roastery/coffee bar to 2nd st, I just realized I'm often working 2 blocks away at the sj armory.

Posted August 31, 2013 link

The roaster has been moved, but there is no retail at that location (at least not yet).  You can also get Chromatic's coffee at Cafe Stritch on South First.

 
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cerridwyn
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cerridwyn
Joined: 6 Jun 2010
Posts: 490
Location: Inland Empire California
Expertise: I live coffee
Posted Sat Aug 31, 2013, 12:46pm
Subject: Re: SF Coffee
 

As I drove south, found out there is a Roaster in Cambria and that he's been there awhile. He, according to the Barista, learned his trade somewhere in Berkley.
Not a huge selection, it's a real micro, but they do pour over and don't do it bad. Best thing I had between Santa Cruz and home.

Stopped at Handlebar in Santa Barbara also. Ended up with cold brewed coffee that was a bit more bitter than I expected. Sometimes I think people rush it.

Lastly stopped by Element in Camarillo. Met the owner. Been there a number of times because it is on my path home. They no longer serve Handsome, he said it had gotten to expensive. Still Serve Beacon out of Ventura which I do not care for and now Wild Goose out of Redlands. I've met Nate from Wild Goose. They have no store, just sell off the internet. It's not his primary business, all profits go to the local food bank. Nate's coffee is okay. And he's a great guy.

I'm home and to tired to even budge, LOL.

Verve had this unique thing on the shelf - a tea made from coffee cherries. Fascinating. Yes, I bought some, haven't tried it though.

*****

My favorite places included:
 Blue Bottle because the make Siphon and I love siphon, although it ranked lowest on Ambiance.
 Ritual for doing something unique and willing to risk it
 Verve had room to sit without feeling like you were taking up a table that someone else might want.

I also liked that the atmosphere at Chromatic was an improvement in what I like in a coffee place, when compared to when it was Barefoot.

 
The world needs more outstanding coffee.

do you game?:
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