Getting Your Caffeine Fix at San Francisco's Coffee Shops

by Fernanda DeSouza

posted on November 20, 2017

Photo Courtesy: Matt Hoffman

For many people, coffee is the elixir of life. Whether it's a morning routine or a mid-afternoon pick-me-up, coffee's been worshipped by everyone from Ethiopian priests to French soldiers to modern office workers. In recent years, San Francisco's coffee shops have made a name for themselves as the love for high-quality java grows across the Bay Area. From a shop that claims to be one of the original third-wave coffeehouses to robot baristas serving customers in mere seconds, this guide to SF's best coffee houses might just help you find your new favorite spot for a cup of joe.

The Mill

Thick slices of Josey Baker bread come slathered in seasonal spreads at this sunbathed café just steps from the iconic Painted Ladies. Spending $5 on toast might seem crazy at first, but at this local favorite, it's worth every penny. We promise.

Checkout: Molasses brown bread, Chocolate claw, Country bread, Dark Mountain Rye

Blue Bottle Coffee- Financial District

One of the most iconic locations of the popular coffee chain, this Blue Bottle is housed inside a historic sun-bathed building with white interiors and impeccable tile work. It's a setting as slick and upscale as the coffee and pastries served here.

Checkout: Liege waffle, New Orleans iced coffee, Pour overs, Espressos

Sightglass Coffee - SOMA

As one of a handful of in-house roasteries in San Francisco, this cafe offers pour overs and made-to-order espresso drinks in an open and brightly lit space. P.S. The second floor is an ice cream lovers dream with a fully equipped affogato bar.

Checkout: Hazelnuts & Plums ice cream

Ritual Roasters Coffee - Haight-Ashbury

Savor a cup of cold brew as you take in the views of Buena Vista Park at this artisanal coffee chain's newest location on Haight. The airy space boasts high ceilings and large windows, making this a go-to spot for your morning caffeine fix.

Checkout: Sweet Tooth espresso, Duromina, El Alto, Guchienda Estate

Philz Coffee - Mission District

Philz has become synonymous with serving quality custom-blended coffees across the Bay Area thanks to friendly baristas who promise to make you the perfect cup. While they don't serve espresso, their specialty drinks and classics won't disappoint.

Checkout: Mint Mojito, Jacob's Wonderbar, Canopy of Heaven, Istanbul Treat

La Capra Coffee - SoMa

Take a sip of la dolce vita inside this monochromatic goat-themed café known for its avocado toast with togarashi and powdery beignets served in metal baskets. Italian flair, frothy lattes, and strong espressos add some color to this SoMa staple.

Checkout: Avocado & togarashi toast, Beignets, Smoked duck breast salad, Muffaletta panini

Verve Coffee Roasters

You can find a little taste of Santa Cruz at Verve Coffee Roasters, an offshoot of the original Surf City spot serving ethically sourced coffee and delectable pastries inside a breezy setting featuring blonde wood, muted colors and communal tables.

Checkout: Buttermilk biscuit, Poached egg sandwich, Manresa Bread pastries, 1 & 1 espresso

Cafe X

These baristas may not talk, but they sure can make a good latte. Watch as java-loving robots spin around to create your order— in just 20 seconds—inside a rounded kiosk at this futuristic café that is pushing the boundaries of coffee making.

Checkout: Cortado, Cappuccino, Americano, Flat white


Start your day right at this public coffeehouse and taproom connected to a coworking space in SoMa. Equator-roasted coffee, mini flatbread pizzas, and the vast industrial space will not disappoint. There's even a nap room for members!

Checkout: Burma Superstar's tea leaf salad, Matcha latte, Proper yogurt parfait, Organic teas

Contraband Coffee Bar - Nob Hill

This trendy outpost in Nob Hill is sleek in design and fresh when it comes to coffee. Taste robust flavors from all over the world in a sunny and comfortable setting that'll have you cozying up with a book and brew.

Checkout: Everything croissant, Iced separator, Empanadas

Farley's - Potrero Hill

When you're not enjoying the incredible brews served at the original third-wave coffeehouse, organic nibbles and board games will keep you satisfied; while a friendly staff serves you in this rustic setting that also showcases local artists.

Checkout: Five Mountains tea, Espressos, Muffuletta, Three Twins organic ice cream

Réveille Coffee Co. - North Beach

Wake up with Réveille—it's in the name—at the North Beach location featuring modern designs in its loft-like space. This coffee joint not only offers espressos and blends, but also a full menu that can be savored in the outdoor seating area.

Checkout: French press, Aeropress, Lattes, Açai bowl

Coffee Bar

Locally roasted beans, healthy breakfast and lunch options and a modern setting make this coffeehouse the ideal backdrop to any part of your day. Indulge in edible delights and fast wifi while you bask in the sun (or fog) in the outdoor patio.

Checkout: Breakfast burrito, Espresso toast, Latte, San Francisco Salad

Saint Frank Coffee

This Russian Hill bi-level digs are nothing short of sunny, airy and swanky. Baristas pair independently produced java with pastries, and large tables make it a pleasant spot to work or simply chill with a cup of your favorite brew.

Checkout: Macadamia nut milk, Espresso & Tonic, Kinya Kagumooni, Lime zest

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