There is a coffee war brewing up in deez streetz! The streets of the FiDi....That's the Financial District of San Francisco (just in case you aren't down and speak the lingo). And we all know when it comes to coffee, Cultured Americana is deep in the streets. So anyway, I have worked in the FiDi my whole career. There have always been places to grab a cup of Joe. Starbucks on every corner with a few Peet's Coffee's sprinkled if you are really serious about that specialty coffee life! Now....they have really changed the game! And thank the roasted gods because once I traveled to Italy, I decided that most American coffee is crap. So here is the FiDi coffee line up: Philz Coffee, Blue Bottle Coffee and Coffee Cultures.
Philz- One of my great Turbo Kickers and friend, Jan would rave about this place called Philz that was in/near Civic Center. Basically, it was a no-go as it was out of my way. Finally, during a a three day weekend my boyfriend and I were in Palo Alto and we decided to check out this location. How can I describe this place? It was crazy like a trading room floor! Tons of people yelling out their orders, high energy, hands waving and you wonder how anything is getting done but somehow there is order in the chaos and everyone gets to enjoy a fantastic cup of coffee personally brewed for them. I looked at the boyfriend and said "they need one of these in the FiDi....NOW! Well my dreams came true a few months ago when I spotted a Philz Truck parked right on Sansome and Pine down the street from my office.
The Philz truck is a scene! There is always a long line. If you are standing in line at the Philz truck you already feel kinda like a rebel because you aren't about to take a 15 minute coffee break! I said the line is long right? You will be in line for 15 minutes standing there feeling like a boss thinking "i ball so hard m*&^%f*&&s tryna find me" because you are about to extend that 15 minute break to a 30. Being there is an event in of itself. I recall a time where I could hear 2Pac's Hit 'em up (explicit version) wafting from the truck as the talented, charismatic baristas putting on a show.....demonstrating their precise, yet artistic pour over techniques.
Ok so what about the actual coffee? It's amazing. Incredible, unique blends of coffee. They specialize in hand crafted single pour speciality coffee. My favorites are Jacob's Wonderbar, and Ambrosia Coffee of the gods! I get mine with almond milk and no sugar because I'm about that fitness life but I can imagine how decadent it would be with sugar considering how fantastic it is without. You can also purchase some of their coffee to brew at home. I pass on this because i'm an espresso only girl at home...A nespresso girl but that's a whole blog post on it's own.
Blue Bottle Coffee- So one afternoon, I was walking away from the Philz truck with my small cup of Jacob's Wonderbar, pitying the people walking toward me toting their Starbuck's cups proudly ( as Maya Angelou told Oprah....Ya know better, ya do better!") I saw an empty building on Sansome and Bush with a familiar logo of a blue bottle and a sign that said "Coming Soon!" Of course I snapped a pic and posted to the gram to alert the caffeinated connect! I looked down the street at the Philz truck and thought "Blue Bottle is comin' for ya like Nas came for Jay on Ether". That's a little hip hop beef reference. If you don't know now ya know....I digress. Anyway, Blue Bottle coming to the FiDi really raised the coffee stakes.
Why do we care about Blue Bottle? Blue Bottle Coffee is fantastic! They cater to those of us that love good coffee (as opposed to the doctored up syrupy stuff at some other coffee shops). The coffee we drink from Blue Bottle gets from the roaster to us in less than 48 hours! Additionally, they serve fresh, fabulous waffles and other treats. The new Bush Street location is chic, elegant and like Philz, there is always a line out the door.
What does Cultured Americana get at Blue Bottle? They are known for the New Orleans Iced Coffee which reaffirms that there is a being greater than myself. But like I said, I'm about that fitness life so I usually save this drink for special occasions and opt for iced coffee with a splash of almond milk. Still marvelous!
Coffee Cultures- Known for serving Counter Cultures Coffee, I found this gem of a coffee shop on Bush street when I started taking a new route to work. I love their simple menu and quick and professional service. Additionally, they have a reward program where you can earn points that go towards a free beverage. This is a rarity for smaller coffee establishments. My favorite order here is an almond milk cappuccino.
Finally a shout out to Espressamente !Where my Italian lovin' Illy coffee lovers at???? This cafe serves the coffee of Italy, Illy and really was the only place I wanted to get coffee when I got back from Italy . Vorrei un cafe` por favore! They aren't in the "Coffee Corner" but very near by on Battery Street. Enjoy your morning brew!