Third Wave on ABC Nightline

12 07 2010

More mainstream media coverage on the burgeoning Third Wave movement. This time from ABC’s Nightline, featuring NYC’s Blue Bottle, Stumptown, and Bluebird.

Seriously, how many more times are these type of reports gonna compare Third Wave coffee to Sanka or Foldgers?

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Ritual’s New Digs

22 12 2009

Sweet beans of Esmeralda! Ritual‘s new roastery looks tight! Located in downtown SF, just south of Market St, it forms a nice midpoint in the downtown coffee corridor that includes Blue Bottle, Sightglass, and now Ritual.

Here are a few pictures from their Open House:

Eileen, the one who puts the ritual in Ritual.

Big open space at the new roastery. It's for roasting and operations use for now but there may be a retail cafe in the future.

Eileen and her GB/5.





SF Coffee Scene*

4 12 2009

*Well, due to limitations in my travels last week (Thanksgiving), this is only partially representative of the city, not of greater SF or the Bay Area, which I hope to fully document someday.

SF is HOT! For coffee, that is. Roasters there are certainly bringin’ it with their coffees and their visions for the Third Wave (or Fourth Wave, for that matter).

Justin pulling shots on Four Barrel's double Mistral

Take Four Barrel, for example. Ask the people there about what coffee most excites them right now and, to my surprise (and initial horror), they said DECAF! Now, I’m philosophically opposed to decaf and the only good decaf I’ve had was a decaf espresso from Verve a couple years ago. To my pleasant surprise, Four Barrel’s decaf espresso was amazing! Of the beans used in their decaf is the Ethiopia Mordecofe, a coffee hand picked by them for decaffeination (as opposed to coffees picked by decaffeination companies). Mordecofe is offered three ways at Four Barrel – decaffeinated, washed, and natural (highly recommended!).

Four Barrel has recently reopened their back alley bar, this time with a built in bar instead of a cart. The idea is to offer a more limited but more personable approach to customers that come through the alley. It will be operated by their head trainers and/or baristas in training from their wholesale accounts. It’s a terrific concept and I’ve had amazing shots in the back bar.

Down the street on Valencia is Ritual. The cafe is busy busy BUSY (which is a good thing)! Soon they’ll move the roaster and green bean storage to revert the area back to dining room style seating for a more intimate setting. On the coffee side, they’ve recently started offering Panama Esmeralda in special handmade packaging (very cool cardboard and spray paint!), just in time for the Holidays.

Blue Bottle's cafe (with their Mechanical Paddle Linea) and roastery in Oakland. Note the warm Californian sun. How we so need it in Seattle.

Hop on the BART to Oakland and there is Blue Bottle‘s new roastery and a small cafe. The place is spectacularly clean (by that I mean clean and clean/sharp looking). In addition to the standard roasting/packaging area for coffees, office, and tech/training room, there is a cool presentation room, a full kitcken/bakery (they make killer chocolate chip cookies and $9 waffles), and a see through cupping room. If it wasn’t for the coffee equipment, the place might be mistaken for an art gallery.

Mechanical Paddle Linea at work at Blue Bottle's BUSY cafe at SF Fisherman's Terminal.

Back to SF side of the Bay at the Ferry Building (a touristy place for foodies) is one of Blue Bottle’s cafes, a very busy one at that. Featuring a Mechanical Paddle Linea as their main production machine, each espresso shot is expertly soft pre-infused for a nicely rounded, rich taste. With the Mechanical Paddle, the barista has more control (with variable pressure) over the soft pre-infusion process and thus requires a very well trained barista to continuously pull shots while there are a dozen people waiting in line.

Perhaps one of the most exciting up and coming roaster is Sightglass, just south of

Jerad and Ally of Sightglass. Pulling shots on their Slayer. Construction is afoot behind the wall of canvas.

Market in downtown. While their new roastery and cafe is still under construction, they are selling drinks on their cart to the passerby. Currently offering Verve coffee until their own roaster goes live (hopefully sometime later this month), they make fantastically prepared drinks every single time. With a huge space, a beautifully designed bar, and an u-shaped balcony seating area overlooking everything, this will be one of the most awe-inspiring coffee destinations for some time. If you go, be sure to try their mocha, which uses a specially sourced chocolate. It’s literally a chocolate cherry bomb.





GQ Ranks Top Cafes

20 10 2009
GQ magazine showcases the top 10 places to get your daily fix in the U.S.

GQ magazine showcases the top 10 places to get your daily fix in the U.S.

In “The Most Important Drink of Your Day“, GQ magazine hits home with the point that, “why pay $4.79 for a watery latte that was lovelessly made on a push-button machine that could be safely operated by a 4 year old?” (They’re referring to a superautomatic espresso machine, by the way)

In the “Golden Age of Coffee” (as they call it) that we now live in, “there’s now a wealth of coffee in America so rich and flavorful it’ll remind you why you originally fell in love with the stuff.”

Other than killer coffee and quality, what else do these featured coffee roasters have in common? They’re all customers of La Marzocco, of course.

Alterra
Blue Bottle
Caffe Vita
Intelligentsia
Kaldi’s
Ninth Street Espresso
Ritual
Stumptown
Verve
Zoka





Verve Coffee Roasters

19 08 2009
Verve Coffee Roasters in Santa Cruz, CA

Verve Coffee Roasters in Santa Cruz, CA

Verve Coffee Roasters, based in Santa Cruz, CA, roasts up some of the most amazing coffees. Whether it’s one of their several SO espresso or blends, or their SO coffees, it never stops to amaze the world that such a small, young and vibrant company can accomplish this much.

Along with Ritual, Blue Bottle, Barefoot, Four Barrel, Ecco, Equator, Pacific Bay, and many other notable, newish third wave specialty roasters, Verve is at the forefront of changing the entire coffeescape of the greater Bay Area for the better.

One of the most amazing coffees I’ve had from Verve was a SO Sumatra espresso. Normally, I’m not a big fan of Sumatran coffees (sorry, Trish) but after a shot of this, I was knocked off my feet and begging for more (Stumptown’s espresso worship tshirt comes to mind).

The coffee bar at Verve

The coffee bar at Verve

Verve is growing their wholesale muscle in the Bay Area. One of their customers is Farm:Table in San Francisco. Not only is it close to downtown, but they also have a killer baguette sandwich with prosciutto and pesto.

The picture of Verve’s cafe (upper left) and that iconic looking artwork in the background was featured in “La Marzocco & Friends”, a picture book showcasing cafes around the world and their La Marzocco machines.

Pulling shots from Verve's La Marzocco GB/5

Pulling shots from Verve's La Marzocco GB/5