Wednesday, June 20, 2012

San Francisco Roaster/Cafe Tour

Ted Stachura - Equator Coffee
June 14-19, 2012
Had the opportunity to visit and taste some great roasters while in San Francisco, June 14 - 19. Started off at Equator Coffee in beautiful San Marin county. They have just brought on a wonderful decaf Colombian from Los Cauchos cooperative in the state of Huila, Colombia. (Buy the roasted coffee here.) We happen to know the green coffee was sourced by Artisan Coffee Imports.  Equator is offering another single origin decaf with transparency -- decaf Bolivia San Ignacio Organic. TWO decaf coffees with direct trade transparency from one roaster. Talk about being on the cutting edge! (Intelligentsia, Stumptown, you're lagging.)

Eileen Hassi - Ritual Coffee - Valencia St.
In downtown San Francisco proper, it was a pure delight to tour some of the city's finest cafes on a warm, sunnny (not drop of rain in sight!) Saturday. First stop, Ritual, in the Mission District. Enjoyed the ambiance from the first step in the door. First rate baristas helped me with my order and it was fun to see Eileen Hassi and some of her dedicated and long-term staff at work installing the latest and greatest custom-designed and fabricated pour-over bar. (See photo inset and more in our Flicker photostream). Like Equator, their decaf espresso is from Colombia's state of Huila. Possibly a different lot than Equator's, but still the Los Cauchos cooperative.

Next, Sightglass Cafe. This is a very new cafe bristling with excitement, I thought. The double-loft, cavernous space has the roaster positioned prominently and centrally -- even in front of the espresso bar as you walk in! Ordered an iced coffee here, as the temperatures were in the high 80's and possibly 90 inside the store (no air-conditioning).  The barista had a bit of trouble tracking down the origin of the decaf espresso, but eventually discovered it was a blend of two coffees from Colombia. One from Huila and the other from Tolima. Visit or call Artisan Coffee Imports to learn more about the sourcing of these direct trade coffees from Colombia. In order to complete the sauna effect, I sat on the 2nd floor mezzanine where it was almost 100 degrees and I got to stare straight at the taxidermy owl that watches over the place (and is the namesake for the "Owl's Howl" espresso.)

Last stop was Four Barrel Coffee, Mission District again. Again -- no air conditioning, so another iced coffee for me. This time the Bolivian was on tap! Amazing -- among four top roasters in San Francisco, only two origins were to be found among the decafs -- the Colombian - Los Cauchos cooperative (Sightglass, Equator, Ritual) and the Bolivian San Ignacio cooperative (Four Barrel, Equator).

Four Barrel's unique bar features a REAL turntable and racks of LPs.
Great chatting with the Four Barrel roaster,Ryan, about trouble-shooting my roast profile for sample roasting decafs.