San Francisco was recently named the fifth most caffeinated city in the nation, according to a study by the Daily Beast.
The study measured the availability, money spent and consumption of coffee. Given that San Francisco has 20 cafes per 100,000 residents, the only surprise is that we weren’t number 1! That honor went to Seattle with a ratio of 35 cafes per 100,000 residents. Either way, San Francisco is a coffee-lover’s paradise.
But, ever walk into a café only to leave disappointed because you can’t get your coffee brewed single-drip?
For the uninitiated, single-drip coffee, also know as manual drip, is made to order. The beans are ground on the spot, placed in a glass or porcelain cone, hot water is poured… and there you have a smooth, freshly dripped cup of deliciousness.
I’ve identified 5 cafés around town where you’re sure to get a great cup of locally-roasted coffee – single-drip style. So, next time you’re looking for a brew in the Bayview, Downtown, Hayes Valley, the Mission or NOPA (North of the Panhandle), you’ll know where to start!
Four Barrel Coffee
375 Valencia Street at 15th Street
Location: Mission District
Roaster: Four Barrel
Price: $2.50 – $4 depending on bean
The Four Barrel Coffee Café in the Mission screams authentic. While non-descript on the outside, walk in the door and it’s a coffee lover’s dream: On the left you’ll find the single-drip bar; straight ahead is the standard counter; and bringing up the rear is a roaster, roasting paraphernalia, and bags of fresh beans! If you like your single-drip coffee on the bold side, their Ethiopian Shakisso Moredocofe is the absolute best!
This is an open, eclectic, artsy neighborhood cafe, where you’ll find a mix of artists, urban bohemians, and stroller-pushing folks. Don’t be surprised if a the chatty single-drip barista offers you a whiff of your freshly ground beans.
Matching Half Café
1799 McAllister Street
Matching Half Café is an unassuming yet stylish neighborhood café with comfortable seating, lots of light, and great people-watching — whether you choose to sit indoors or out. Located in what some refer to as NOPA, the café’s friendly and knowledgeable baristas offer Santa Cruz-based Verve Coffee. For those of you who enjoy Ethiopian coffee as much as I do, you can get that here! It’s an ideal environment for meeting up with friends, setting up office, or just stopping off for your morning coffee. Parking is likely to be difficult in the morning, but finding a spot midday shouldn’t be a problem.
Flora Grubb Gardens / Ritual Coffee Roasters
1634 Jerrold Avenue
Love gardens and coffee? Located inside Flora Grubb Gardens in the Bayview, Ritual Coffee Roasters Café offers a pleasant, idyllic setting for sitting back with a cup of single-drip coffee. Whether you hang out among the greenery or in the rear seating area, this place gets my vote for the most relaxing place to enjoy a freshly-brewed cup.
Blue Bottle Coffee
66 Mint Street
Location: Downtown SF
Roaster: Blue Bottle
Blue Bottle may be the best known brand on the local coffee scene. Even tourists know about its clandestine Mint Plaza location – so be forewarned. The little corner café marked by the signature blue bottle looks like a fancy apothecary lab – complete with communal, elevated tables. It’s a great place to hang out if you’re fascinated by people from out of town and don’t mind obscenely long lines.
That said, for whatever reason, the single drip seems better there than at some of the other cafes that serve Blue Bottle – or maybe it’s being surrounded by fancy coffee paraphernalia.
201 Octavia Street
Location: Hayes Valley
Roaster: De la Paz
Price: $2.00 / $2.25
Mercury Café is a small, simple spot on the outskirts of Hayes Valley, with several bean options ranging from French Roast to Nicaraguan. You’ll find plenty of locals here enjoying a freshly-brewed cup. Thanks to the Octavia Street renovation, the café is a relatively quiet little stop, surrounded by greenery, despite being just off a major boulevard. Check out their fresh scones if you get a chance!