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The Best Coffee (House) In San Francisco…Let’s Vote!

Voting is taking place. FOLLOW THIS LINK.

Not too long ago (okay maybe it was back in July of 2009), we did a little post about what seemed to be dominant turf run by Blue Bottle Coffee and Ritual Roasters, and which one we thought was better. Being a little bit ignorant (but more in tune than most), we were under the impression those were THE ONES, but we were wrong. Very wrong.

The post gained in popularity, was linked to from all over, and a few comments came in showing us the light and urging us to try some of the other great coffee (houses) here in San Francisco. Since then we have tried just about all of them, and it’s hard to conclude a favorite, but we thought there must be a way to solve this riddle once and for all, because tastes change and what was “best of” in one magazine yesterday, certainly doesn’t mean it’s “best of” today, right here, right now.

So….it’s time for a definitive online vote: “Best Coffee (house) in San Francisco“. By “best” we leave that up to you, because we know there are a million variables to consider. For example: espresso or drip; wi-fi or print only; cappuccino or quadruple nonfat venti macchiato. We just want to know what makes you drool.

Voting will begin on Monday (3/14/11), until then we’re accepting nominees. So whether it’s the coffee that is actually being poured or the name and location on the label (think Trouble Coffee pouring De La Paz), we want to hear from you and your friends.

The nominees so far [NOTE: These are just nominees. Voting starts 3/14/11, so please come back.]
[Update: Voting started. FOLLOW THIS LINK TO VOTE.]

Philz Coffee
Four Barrel Coffee
Ritual Coffee Roasters
Sightglass Coffee
De La Paz Coffee (Trouble)
Blue Bottle Coffee
Barefoot Coffee (Epicenter Cafe)
Contraband (Coffee Bar)
Hearth Coffee Roasters (Brown Owl Cafe)
Verve Coffee Roasters
Bello Coffee and Tea
Ecco Caffe
Capricorn Coffees
Equator Coffees & Teas
Starbucks (Really?)
Caffee Trieste
Farley’s Coffee
Quetzal Coffee

On Monday we’ll begin the Battle Royale, and the winner of “Best Coffee (House) In San Francisco” will be crowned soon after.

So get the word out, Tweet this post, share it on Facebook, and don’t let your fave coffee house lose!

[Update: Thanks to Yahoo! for putting us on their homepage. Feel free to put your nominee in the comments below or email us. We’ll add them all to the list and poll for Monday. While we have your attention, have a look at Yahoo!’s new local page for San Francisco.]

In San Francisco It’s Ritual Roasters Versus Blue Bottle Coffee
Reasons We Live Here



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43 thoughts on “The Best Coffee (House) In San Francisco…Let’s Vote!”

  • jim miller

    March 10, 2011 at 11:35 am

    Lol—– have to go to seattle for the best coffee— Seattle’s Best Coffee.

  • Chingchong

    March 10, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    Shouldn’t Starbucks make the list? After all, there’s one on every corner.

    [Editor’s note: It’s on the list, “Starbucks (Really?)”]

  • Tom World

    March 10, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    I know this will date me but, Historically the best coffee in San Francisco was Mannings.

  • Manny

    March 10, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    Muddy’s is the best coffee in San Francisco. Period.

  • merrel

    March 10, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    The best coffee in the world is GEVALIA which I will not pay for. Next and my daily dose is STARBUCKS

  • Paul

    March 10, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    STUMPTOWN coffee gets my vote, somewhere between SF and Seattle.

  • Patrick

    March 10, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    Starbucks? Are you kidding? For the astronomical prices they charge, their coffee(s) are pretty bad.

  • Dennis

    March 10, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    Peerless in Oakland….hands down

  • Jim G

    March 10, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    Wow people are real passionate about their coffee.
    I see a “hands down” and “Period” implying no room for discussion.

    Well the “all time best” (not sure how official any of these rankings are-Seinfeld) is Cafe Trieste (in North Beach)

    How are they not already on here?
    Its Where Coppalla wrote the godfather script.

    Bad for the owner,
    good for me, the line is already too long.

    [Editor’s note: Trieste is on there.]

  • kelly london

    March 10, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    you forgot the best,
    The Coffee Roastery

  • Common Sense

    March 10, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    Coffee is Coffee!! If you put enough sugar and milk in it, it’ll eventually taste good!

  • Lily Wu

    March 10, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    Martha’s is the best. Why not on the list?

  • Kal

    March 10, 2011 at 1:58 pm


  • Rosemary Davis

    March 10, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    Stella’s in North Beach!!!

  • Michael Stevens

    March 10, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    My preference is for Kona from Hawaii. I purchase beans and grind them just prior to making the coffee, I agree that Starbucks is overpriced for average to poor coffee.

  • Xcelsis

    March 10, 2011 at 2:19 pm


  • randolla

    March 10, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    Philz Coffee is the best, dude. the turkish is a delight to be reckoned with!

  • Rod

    March 10, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    Cafe Trieste is the best. Their coffee is roasted on site by a master.

  • adda dadad

    March 10, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    JAVA BEACH at the end of JUDAH has the best coffee in SAN FRANCISCO. The owner goes to CENTRAL AMERICA to oversee the picking and roasting of the beans he brews and sells in his two cool SAN FRANCISCO only beach cafes! DROP BY AND HAVE A CUP…you will be hooked…They have indoor as well as nice outdoor seating..

    Thank goodness they sell the beans because its hard to wake up at 8am for a cup of their java! )

  • joe

    March 10, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    Why not add Henrys House of Cofee?

  • Ben T

    March 10, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    All the coffee I have had anywhere in San Francisco has been like mud from the bottom of the bay.

  • nitetoad

    March 10, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    Caffe Roma, on Columbus near Stockton. The coffee is smoothe, no bitter aftertaste, always fresh; roasted on site The ambience is very neighborly with a touch of sophistication. And like every place in North Beach, it gets kinda raucous when there is good soccer on the tube.

    Bottom line, though, the coffee is a “complete” experience – not one thing is missing, it could not be better.

  • Zibbyz

    March 10, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    Well – best I have ever had is Stumptown. And even though I beg regularly they have no plans of coming to town.

    Best home grown? Tie with four barrel and sightglass. Yummy yumm yumm!

  • Joanna

    March 10, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    Bernie’s Coffee Shop in Noe Valley. Hands down!

  • AliciaM

    March 10, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    SF Favorite: Cafe Trieste
    Oakland favorite: Peaberry’s Coffee on College Ave

    Overall Bay Area: Peet’s!!

  • ashley h

    March 10, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    seriously? philz hands down!

  • mightyjoe

    March 10, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    By putting “(Really?)” next to Starbucks I can tell this survey is legit.
    Journalism 101 at its best.

  • East Bay Kiwi’

    March 10, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    Hard to beat Peet’s, my opinion, the Tastiest Coffee….

  • New Manhattan

    March 10, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    PHILZ COFFEE, hands down, to die for, the best coffee in town!!

  • Coffee King

    March 10, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    7-11, hands down! 7-11, Period!!!

  • matt

    March 10, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    progressive grounds on cortland street, best espresso


    March 10, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    Only good thing I’ve seen come out of California is an empty Greyhound Bus.

  • Carol D

    March 10, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    What about Graffeo? 🙁

  • çafe Greco

    March 10, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    This coffee will make you think what you were drinking before you know about this place .
    Caffeine isn’t a drug, it’s a vitamin!

  • thefrontsteps

    March 10, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    Thanks for all of the comments and further suggestions. Looks like the poll is gonna be a mile long on Monday, and we have some tasting to do!

  • Kai

    March 10, 2011 at 10:16 pm

    STUMPTOWN in San Francisco!!!

    I like to nominate Ma’velous Coffee and Wine Bar who serves Ecco Caffe, Intelligentsia, Stumptown, Wendelboe and Coffee Collective.

    Here is there address and info:

    1408 Market St
    SF Ca 94102

    Please add them to the list and I think they are one of the greatest and new coffee bar in this city.



  • Johnny Rome

    March 11, 2011 at 12:11 am

    Cafe Encore at 488 Post Street. Excellent espresso, really good food and desserts, great service, super-nice people. I like the small, independent places – they’re the real thing.

  • kenny

    March 11, 2011 at 9:34 am


  • Jimmy

    March 11, 2011 at 11:49 pm

    Philz! HANDS DOWN BEST COFFEE. Philtered Soul is the best!

  • Jake

    March 12, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    Just found out that Stumptown Coffee has arrived in San Francisco on Market Street and Fell! I have been searching for them since I moved from Portland and it’s finally here.
    It’s called MaVelous. I had a cup there today and man it remaids me of home!

    • thefrontsteps

      March 13, 2011 at 9:02 pm

      I guess we can add them to the poll for tomorrow then! 🙂

  • anna

    March 13, 2011 at 10:19 pm

    I tend to love Simple Pleasures in the Outer Richmond:

    Picture, if you will, old oak tables polished by corduroy coat sleeves (lots of wanna be Lit professors in there) and earnest, emo-angst sweat (lots of frustrated novelists). Choose, if you like, from the free board game and dusty book libraries (everything from stained Danielle Steeles to prisitine, hardly smudged Tolstoys). You will find also chess geniuses (geniusi?) arguing over check and mate, while one of many interchangeable guitar virtuosos plays in any weather on the wee patio outside. The food is all fresh and huge, covering the plate completely, as a proper meal should do, lots of bright green sprouty things and cheese and gifts from local bakeries, smoldering soups that burn the chill off a foggy beach-side SF afternoon. The music never fails to please: Pixies, Spoon, Doves, Jane’s, Dave Brubeck, Elvis, Tribe Called Quest, Jeff Buckley.

    And if you don’t want the dark elixir they call coffee, they got beer.

    Also want to nominate Velo Rouge a bit further up, halfway between the Arguello gate of the Presidio and that of the GG Park: a bikers’ (as in the kind you pedal) coffee house with a strangely 60’s French bardot-a-go-go vibe and a startling collection of architectural magazines from the world over. On the sound system: Modest Mouse, Wilco, Budy Holly, Ella Fitzgerald. I ask you! More base concerns: way beyond decent food, excellent coffee, and again, beers on tap for taming that particular parched that is “I earned this riding up nine miles of SF f**k you, gravity, Thiebaud painting style SF hills.” Auspiciously they offer a happy hour that coincides nicely with the time I generally finish with such rides. Yay for guilt-free over-indulgence!

  • Nick Harris

    March 15, 2011 at 10:50 am

    Philz for sure!

    I’m writing this from Philz, and their coffee and service are absolutely unparalleled. Phil and his son Jacob are great people and I’ve run into them and had great conversations at several of their locations. Each Philz is unique and really fits its location (ragged couches for the hipsters at the mission location, tons of tables and seating at study-bound Berkeley, glossy and sleek at Soma, etc). And after a cup of Philz, like right now, I’m STOKED.


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