Best Coffee Shops in San Francisco: A Local Barista’s Guide

If it’s not a one-origin specialty coffee that is roasted to perfection and then made to order with an intricate system of scientific-looking objects made of wood and glass that requires minimum of 15 minutes more than is necessary to prepare it, we’ll not drink it.

We’re the type of loud coffee drinkers who have deep discussions with baristas regarding things such as coffee notes, brightness and acidity. We know the meaning of “first crack” and “full city” refer to without ever roasting our own beans.

When I first met my husband in the early years, he was working as a barista. It was an incredible check-mark in my “Trophy Husband” list. Although he’s changed his career to become an educator in Oakland and San Francisco, a number of his barista colleagues have continued to work in coffee to become baristas or managers in some of the top coffee establishments located in San Francisco and California.

We spoke to one of our top people who (when we first published this blog) was the barista and manager of an outstanding San Francisco specialty coffee shop to compile his top 10 list of high five coffee located in San Francisco! The list is centered around coffee roasters located in San Francisco serving up well-roasted speciality coffee.


Our expert in local coffee, Tom, grew up in the Bay Area and has lived in San Francisco for years. My husband and I spent several years working together and even living together . This isn’t much of a deal however I would like to emphasize that we didn’t look for a uninvolved San Francisco barista and start interviewing them. That would be odd.

Over the course of several decades, Tom was a manager for a number of years at Paramo Coffee. Additional interesting facts about Tom is that he’s originally from England in the first place, but has no accent. He also looks exactly like the artist Yung Lean (terrible because it’s awful amazing because this is hilarious)


Before we get started this article, we’ll give a quick overview to Specialty Coffee, also known as Third Wave coffee. Originating from Portland, Oregon and coined in 2002 (by one of the coffee roasters from San Francisco listed below! ) The Third Wave Coffee movement is the most recent version of the coffee brewing. It’s also called speciality coffee, or even craft coffee.

Insisting on the highest quality small-batch coffee It’s all Starbucks isn’t and the differences in the quality are easy to detect. Personally, I didn’t like the burnt, bitter taste that coffee has until the time I had one of my very first cups of light roast from a single origin and immediately became an enormous coffee snob.

You’ve always wondered how someone can enjoy their coffee without being black specialty coffee is the solution.

San Francisco is rich with fantastic specialty coffee shops as well as roasters. We are full-on Bay Area third-wave coffee snobs. We consider coffee to be the equivalent of wine for… um those who are more knowledgeable on wine than us.

You don’t need to be a snob about specialty coffee to locate, appreciate and relish a cup of coffee that is made from the specialty coffee shop! Here are some helpful tips to find the best specialty coffee shops close to your home.


single origin beans Most coffee beans used in an exclusive coffee store will come from a specific region, country or farm. Each variety of bean responds to different roasting and brewing techniques mixing beans could cause a reduction in the capacity to let each individual coffee stand out – which is why there won’t be many blends. Don’t hesitate to ask your barista about questions like “what temperature do these beans prefer?” and “but were these coffee beans happyon the farm?”

High-Quality Beans:The best of the best of the field. Every coffee farm picks and sells cheaper and less than perfect beans and a high-quality crop. The specialty shop purchase the finest high-quality beans. That means your $4.50 cappuccino will be reasonable – particularly when you are concerned about paying those who harvest it a living wage.

Each cup is created to the order. While some specialty coffee shops may offer drip coffee for customers who want a quick and easy cup, the majority of beverages at specialty coffee shops are made to order without any shortcuts. Every beverage is made specifically for you, starting with freshly ground beans to the method of brewing you prefer. Bring a book or play Angry Birds as there’s a good chance that are that you’ll be spending an hour waiting.

Specialty brewing techniques. Some of the distinctive brewing techniques you’ll see in third-wave coffee shops comprise V60 Chemex, Clever, Aeropress, Siphon, and Cold Brew. Each method of brewing offers different tastes of different beans. Additionally, numerous specialty coffee shops provide different roasts and beans that best match the brewing method they use. If you like espresso drinks, then you’ll discover that latte art is an excellent indication of a high-end coffee shop. Yes, the more complex the art of latte, the better the barista . That’s in fact not BS. There are barista competitions that require you create 3D interpretations of foam art that reflects how the coffee felt when it was growing up on the farm, or something else.

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