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My Coffee Pilgrimage to San Francisco Part II

Continuing with the coffee shops I visited:

3. Ritual Coffee Kiosk (432b Octavia St) – I accidentally ran into this place while on my way to Mercury Cafe in the Hayes Valley. Its part of a cool little project going on in the city called “Proxy“, in which small food and beverage establishments are housed using renovated shipping containers, of which Ritual coffe was one. I didn’t know it was part of a whole “Proxy” thing till after the fact or I might have checked out what some of what the other shipping containers had to offer. Regardless, you could get everything from this outdoor setup that you could get at their brick and mortar coffee shop (which I went to the next day). I decided on just a latte and since I was drinking it there, they served it in a mug even though it would have been easier for them to serve everything in “to go” cups. I do remember that the latte was good tasting, but to be honest I was kind of distracted while drinking it by the presence of an honest to goodness “Meat Wagon”. What I mean is that there was a truck that is basically a butcher shop on wheels parked right next to this kiosk and I got caught up talking to the owner while enjoying my drinks. Yes I know I’m getting off topic, but this is amazing so let me sum this up by just linking to the site (Avedano’s) that explains it all and move on.

4. Mercury Coffee (201 Octavia St) – Now this place has it all going on. From it’s quirky totem pole outside, to it’s great coffee inside this place is my type of coffee hang out. The place was about half full when I arrived with all but one guy on a laptop (he was waiting for his date). They use De La Paz Coffee Roaster for their beans which I’ve never heard of before but was pleased by the shot of espresso that I had along with my latte. The barista behind the counter was very friendly and skilled. I also liked that they had a full selection of sandwiches, soups, and breakfast to go along with your coffee. If I ever get back to San Francisco I will be visiting this place again.

5. Grand Coffee (2663 Mission St) – This is a very small place but was my favorite of all the coffee shops I visited during my trip. It’s in the heart of the Mission District which just adds to the awesomeness of this place. They use Four Barrel Coffee beans which is a very bright and citrus tasting espresso and mixes perfectly with steamed milk for a latte. I think this was favorite because along with the great coffee was the diverse culture in the area. During my visit sitting at their small counter I chatted with some very interesting fellow coffee lovers along with the owner and the barista. Please visit this place if you ever go to San Francisco, I promise you will not be disappointed.


6. Ritual Coffee store (1026 Valencia St) – I wasn’t planning on going to Ritual Coffee again but since it was along the way I thought I would stop by. This was by far the biggest store I’ve been to so far on the trip with a large seating area and three different areas for couches. However I was disappointed in the espresso and latte that was made for me. I’m not sure why but they both tasted a little weak. It could have just been that the barista needed to adjust the grind a little and it probably would have been really good.


7. Four Barrel Coffee  (375 Valencia St) – Yeah this place rocks. I came upon it and the first thing I noticed was this weird mess of pipes that served as a bike rack where the bikes hang by the handle bars off the ground (very cool). On the inside they have a nice wide area with a brew bar to one side for any pour over customers and a main area for all other drinks. With the front of the house being dedicated to the making and drinking of coffee the back of the house is for all of their roasting operations. I had a machiato here and chatted with the barista as he made it. Although great coffee and very popular, I would honestly much prefer spending my time at Grand Coffee.


8. Reveille Coffee (768 Sansome St) – This was my last stop on my trip and I saved it for last because, well it’s a freaking coffee truck. When I grow up I want to be these guys. Not only am I jealous of the game they got, I’m jealous of their skill, their truck, and all the damn room they have on it. Now they don’t go around to different spots like I do in the Grouch-mobile as they are lucky enough to have a permeant spot in a parking area in the Financial District. This has allowed them to build a loyal following. In the hour I was there talking to the owners and watching how they did things, they knew every single customer who came up. They were nice enough to me that they gave me a tour of the truck, which is just as clean as clean can be, and has me reconsidering my post about Truck vs Trailer. These guys also use Four Barrel Coffee beans and make a killer espresso and latte.

Well that’s it. I know eight coffee shops doesn’t seem like a lot and I wish I had time to try them all, but I highly recommend if you live in the area or are going to visit that you stop by one of these shops and tell them that Grouchy John sent you.


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