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Congratulations to Philz Coffee! You have been voted Best Coffee (House) in San Francisco by the people of the internets. The competition was linked to around the world, and we have to say Philz not only got tons of nods during the first round of nominations, but they also swept the voting when thousands more hit the polls.

It’s all good stuff and we can’t wait to get a cup. We appreciate everyone’s participation and the countless links that sent people this way.

The Rankings:

1. Philz Coffee
2. Bernie’s
3. Blue Bottle Coffee
4. Four Barrel Coffee
5. Martha Bros Coffee
6. Contraband (Coffee Bar)
7. Ritual Coffee Roasters
8. Farley’s Coffee
9. Java Beach
10. Sightglass Coffee
11. Peet’s Coffee & Tea
12. Caffe Roma
13. the Beanery
14. Intelligentsia Bar (In Specialty’s)
15. Caffee Trieste
16. Stumptown (Ma’velous)
17. Henry’s House of Coffee
18. Simple Pleasures
19. Barefoot Coffee (Epicenter Cafe)
20. Café La Taza
21. Starbucks (Really?)
22. Caffe Puccini
23. Trouble Coffee (De La Paz)
24. Velo Rouge Cafe
25. Caffe Greco
26. Verve Coffee Roasters
27. De La Paz Coffee (Trouble)
28. Hearth Coffee Roasters (Brown Owl Cafe)
29. Graffeo
30. Bello Coffee and Tea
31. Quetzal Coffee
32. Jeremiah’s Pick Coffee
33. Coffee to the People
34. Piccino Cafe
35. 7-11 (Humoring you)
36. Progressive Grounds
37. Showplace Caffe
38. Castro Coffee House
39. La Boulange
40. Matching Half
41. Wicked Grounds
42. Farm:Table
43. Blue Danube
44. Cafe Reina
45. Toy Boat
46. The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf
47. The Summit SF
48. Curbside Coffee
49. Rancho Parnassus (Thanksgiving Coffee)
50. Tully’s
51. Capricorn Coffees
52. Cavalli Cafe
53. Equator Coffees & Teas
54. Muddy’s Coffee House
55. The Coffee Roastery
56. Cup of Blues
57. Cafe Encore
58. Ecco Caffe
59. Stella Pastry & Cafe
60. Coffee Roaster
61. Manning’s
62. Dash Cafe
63. Javalencia Cafe
64. Cafe La Stazione
65. The Grove

We’ll just go ahead and stop there. There were another 25-30 one vote coffee (houses) that came in, but we gotta stop somewhere. Thank you everyone!



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38 thoughts on “Winner: The Best Coffee (House) In San Francisco, And The Rest”

  • kenny

    March 20, 2011 at 9:29 am

    Drinking a cup o’ Peetz right now, the Tesora.

  • Rob Hurley

    March 22, 2011 at 9:50 am

    Graffeo at #29 while Starbucks is #21? Who VOTES on these things, and why don’t they like coffee?

  • Ash

    March 22, 2011 at 9:56 am

    So happy to see Simple Pleasures in the Top 20!

  • Geoff

    March 22, 2011 at 10:11 am

    The reason Starbucks ranks high is that the poll didn’t require a location. So as long as “starbucks” gets a few votes in every neighborhood, they’ll add up to more than many exceptionally popular local coffee shops. I actually love Peet’s, but shouldn’t I have to say “the peet’s on west portal” or “the peets in the ferry building” if it’s going to be a fair comparison to single-location coffee shops?

  • Lacey

    March 22, 2011 at 10:15 am

    MMM Philz! I love the cardamom cup, SO delicious!

  • John

    March 22, 2011 at 10:36 am

    Sight Glass, Four Barrel, Blue Bottle, Ritual, Modern, Verve.

    There the list endeth.

  • Mike

    March 22, 2011 at 10:37 am

    I spend about $400 a month at Philz. I am entitled to free coffee for life at Spike’s for having built their outdoor planter boxes, but would rather spend money to enjoy a few cups of Philz each day.

  • Clay Shentrup

    March 22, 2011 at 10:58 am

    What do mean that the winner was picked by a “majority vote”? It sounds like you used Plurality Voting, in which case I highly doubt that the winner received at least 50% of the vote.

    While I agree that Phil’z is far and away the best coffee place, your complete list is almost certainly severely out of order. A better voting method is Score Voting, which you can see by looking at these Bayesian Regret figures.

    • thefrontsteps

      March 22, 2011 at 11:29 am

      If you have something as simple and easy to use as PollDaddy, we’re happy to use it in the future. Otherwise, for online voting, polldaddy is the way to go (for us).

  • Lea

    March 22, 2011 at 11:00 am

    I’m sorry, but I used to be fond of the exquisite spice Cardamom, but walking by or into a Philz has ruined it for me. ugh! Just thinking about it makes me nauseous! overdose!

  • AJones

    March 22, 2011 at 11:09 am

    Why no links/addresses? Never even heard of many of them.

    • thefrontsteps

      March 22, 2011 at 11:30 am


      Many houses don’t even have a site, just a yelp thread. I was starting to link many of them, but it ended up taking forever, so I’m saving linking for a rainy day (tomorrow maybe).

  • Cindy

    March 22, 2011 at 11:14 am

    You shouldn’t drink coffee! It’s not good for you. Coffee is against my religion. In the LDS church we have direct revelation saying that coffee (and tea and alcohol) is not for the body. Studies show that Mormons live longer, healthier lives because we avoid these substances. I never drank coffee even before I joined the church! I just knew it wasn’t right. So many people think they have to drink this stuff to be a grownup. It shouldn’t be that way.

  • jc

    March 22, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    if u have never heard of these coffee shops then u must not be from SF. hahaha any local would have heard of these coffee shops.

  • Dan

    March 22, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    What about Buena Vista??? This place serves the most irish coffee ANYWHERE!!! Must be the BEST!!!

  • R

    March 22, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    Phil is my pal. Aside from that his coffee is quite good, if a little strong. I know that he spends a lot of time personally testing and approving beans. Phil is a phenomenal individual, and deserves lots of credit for elevating ‘one cup at a time’ coffee enjoyment. Kudos to you, Phil!

  • eddy

    March 22, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    Can we get some raw data for the top 10? # of votes for each, and total votes in the survey.

    • thefrontsteps

      March 22, 2011 at 5:23 pm

      Philz Coffee 27.87%
      Bernie’s 8.04%
      Blue Bottle Coffee 7.78%
      Four Barrel Coffee 5.42%
      Martha Bros Coffee 4%
      Contraband (Coffee Bar) 3.69%
      Ritual Coffee Roasters 3.11%
      Farley’s Coffee 2.8%
      Java Beach 2.62%
      Sightglass Coffee 2.31%

      2,250 total votes

  • Adam

    March 29, 2011 at 9:50 am

    Well, you missed out on one of the best! Arizmendi in the Mission is right up there with Philz!

  • arla

    March 29, 2011 at 10:02 am

    Oops, you missed the two very best, way better than most on your list: (1) Cafe Tartine (244 Gough Street–not to be confused with the unrelated Tartine Bakery @ 18th & Guerrero), and (2) Oasis Cafe @ Divis & McAllister. Glad to see Simple Pleasures made the list, a cafe of long-standing excellence. Drink up!

  • Bob Regli

    March 29, 2011 at 11:58 am

    Philz doesn’t have espresso machines. What is up with that?

  • mtk

    March 29, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    what about a best barista listing — even the best coffee houses have erratic standards for expresso drinks — which of the best have consistent quality?

  • Sailor

    March 29, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    Agreed about Simple Pleasures! I live a block away from them, and for year’s it’s been like a home away from home for me. Also happy about Wicked grounds making it. Another homy type of place. Can always count on having yummy food and drinks, and seeing good friends when I’m there!

  • Beth

    March 29, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    I’m a big fan of Cafe XO at 30th and Church.

  • john palmer

    March 29, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    To all you ignorants-
    Have Manaf make you a coffee or especially a cappucino @ cafe Apollo -Divisadero @Turk, then you might know something about coffee.

  • HAHA

    March 29, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    The reason you guys like Philz so much is because they put heavy cream and oil into each coffee. Next time you’re there, watch them shake the milk before putting it into your coffee — that’s so they can mix the oil and cream so it doesn’t separate… How do I know? My wife worked there before landing a real barista gig at Ritual. Now YOU know.

  • citicritter

    March 30, 2011 at 11:53 pm

    Coffee Bar (at Mariposa and Florida) not even being on the list is ridiculous!! Its easily near the top.

  • thefrontsteps

    March 31, 2011 at 9:42 am


    Coffee Bar was on the poll, but didn’t get enough votes to be on the top 65

  • giulieta carrelli

    March 31, 2011 at 6:28 pm

    trouble coffee serves trouble elbow grease coffee. and the hammer espresso blend is from ecco

  • Miftahgeek

    April 1, 2011 at 2:57 am

    That’s all high-price coffe house T.T

  • ReadSet

    April 2, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    How about a list of coffee houses to avoid:
    Maxfields House of Caffine at 17th and Dolores
    is the absolute Worst.
    lame baristas, Horrible Coffee

  • Danny

    May 12, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    Thank you for calling it a Coffee House and not a Coffee Shop. Too many people nowadays don’t know the difference!

  • Elaine

    July 29, 2011 at 8:53 am

    I drink Phil’s everyday and am especially proud of it now! 🙂

    Now, for all you coffee lovers like me check out because they let you buy 4 coffees anywhere in the city (for example, any Phil’s haha) and give you the 5th one free! It’s legit and I love it.

    GOOO PHIL’S!!!

  • JP

    December 19, 2011 at 11:20 am

    What do people in San Francisco think about Illy or coffee bars that serve Illy espresso?

  • really

    April 10, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    Incredible article! Winner: The Best Coffee (House) In San Francisco, And The Rest | theFrontSteps – San Francisco honestly makes my morning a little bit happier 😀 Continue on with the awesome posts! Special regards, really

  • markweiss86

    December 26, 2014 at 1:02 pm

    I think it’s amazing there are 64 also rans worth noting or checking out.
    Just yesterday the Chron had a feature on Phil, i.e. three years past your scoop:

  • markweiss86

    December 26, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    I lived at 400 Vallejo for three years in the nineties such that I still have a soft spot for the cappuccino grande at Caffe Trieste, only 15 on your list, however.

    • thefrontsteps

      January 11, 2015 at 10:49 am

      Oh man! The “Africano” at Trieste is amazing! I need to go back and get one.


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