Saint Frank Coffee - San Francisco, California

Saint Frank Coffee - San Francisco, California

Saint Frank Coffee was my 8th coffee stop of the day while I was in town. I was nearly dead of caffeine intake, but everyone recommended that I must stop by this location. So, 10+ coffees / espressos in, I entered Saint Frank. My head was in a caffeinated cloud, but I was very pleased with the setup of the location. The SP9s (very expensive burst-like pourover machines) were installed at the front so I could watch my coffee being made.

I ordered a Burundi, as I generally do if it happens to be an option. I don’t think I’ve been disappointed by one yet. (Also, my favorite pourover I’ve ever had was a Burundi Natural from Olympia Coffee at Fleet Coffee, so Burundi coffees have a special place in my heart:)

They have a specialty under-counter espresso machine that I’ve never seen before, but it reminded me of a Modbar type setup and if I hadn’t been so caffeinated, I would’ve gotten an espresso. I was happy, however, that I had my own Kalita to pour into my mug. I believe every shop should do this, as it allows you to drink the coffee from hot-to-luke-warm multiple times, instead of just once.

Houndstooth Coffee - Austin, Texas

Houndstooth Coffee - Austin, Texas

Here's the cafe that converted me to using mason jars when brewing pourover coffee at home. Much cheaper to replace than dropping a Hario product, and nearly as easy to pour. It's also much easier to teach a group of others to brew using mason jars. 

My only complaint is dropping my phone on the ground AND THEN in the toilet shortly afterward, which is entirely my fault, of course.

SEY Coffee - NYC

SEY Coffee - NYC

If you're looking for a group of individuals who really love and know coffee, this is certainly the place to be in New York City. They roast their beans with a breath-taking Loring Roaster in the back of the shop. Their roasting room isn't open to the public when I was there, but they allowed me to go back and take a look anyway. All the baristas and owners were more than happy to chat coffee, recipes, and other related things - so I'm very glad I stopped here. Also, I love the variety of plants and succulents throughout the shop. It feels much more homey. With Budin coffee not being open currently, this is my favorite NYC cafe for sure. I was  recommended by my friend Patrik Rolf of April Coffee Copenhagen. It seems that all of the Loring owners are friends.

Verve Coffee Roasters - Los Angeles, California

Verve Coffee Roasters - Los Angeles, California

Verve Coffee Roasters in Los Angeles. I finished my wonderful experience at G&B coffee and took a short walk to Verve. Walking in, I was thrilled with the location, as it's much different than their cafe in San Fransisco (too many colors for what I prefer at a excellent cafe, but this is just personal preference.) 

The Kenyan pourover I ordered was very fruity, and I really appreciate when a cafe provides my own serving container for my coffee. I'd rather not drink one large volume of coffee from hot-to-cold, but rather, a series of one to two ounces each from hot to cold. The experience gathered from this way truly allows you to appreciate the bean more easily.  

Now for the photo portion. I very much wish I would've been able to show off this gorgeous space with a few more photos, but a particular crabby barista instructed me that I was not allowed to take photos inside of the cafe. I don't think I've ever been told off at a cafe, as I attempt to be as discreet as possible. I did have a great conversation with another barista, but all I really wanted to do was display this beautiful location on the blog. 

I guess I was trying to tarnish the 'Verve Brand', which doesn't seem to be consistent across their cafes, so I was a bit confused. But again, the best coffee I've had from Verve, loved the location, but the snotty barista kinda dampened the mood and had me drinking my coffee faster than I would've wanted to. 

Also, before we delve into the cafe photos, here's that lovely barista. Glad he didn't brew my coffee, or his poor attitude would've gotten inside ;) 

Edit** Verve has reached out to me to say that photographers are welcome, and this was a mistake. They were very friendly, and I look forward to returning to this location next time I’m in town :)

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Dogwood Coffee Co. - Minneapolis, MN

Dogwood Coffee Co. - Minneapolis, MN

A wonderfully gloomy evening in Minneapolis. I finished up a headshot session and ran to shelter in the pouring rain. Nearly dripping, I entered Dogwood Coffee Co, which has been recommended to me multiple times - so I was delighted to have a chance to check it out. 

The barista was pretty shy and it's always a bummer when they don't want to chat coffee - but maybe that's my fault? Other than this minor detail, I absolutely loved the cup of Ecuador she made me. That nectarine shined through at the end in the way that it makes you wish you would have enjoyed more of the coffee at a lower temperature.

It was a Kalita, and it's always fun to watch others brew with Fellow Kettles, since their show room is one of my favorite places to visit when I'm in the SFO area. The pour is so much more consistent, and this barista really put in the effort for a perfect brew.

I always have better experiences at cafes when it's gloomy out. The sun hits the clouds and spreads out as a nice white and makes even sitting inside more comfortable. I love when a cafe can open a giant space (equipped with workspace size tables, outlets, etc.) as well as be able to serve really tasty coffee. This is one of those places. 

Anelace Coffee - Minneapolis, Minnesota

Anelace Coffee - Minneapolis, Minnesota

Anelace Coffee in Minneapolis. You can check out their website here

Although I wish the baristas were more talkative, (as per usual), my Ugandan cup from Counter Culture was very tasty. A few thoughts, before quite a few photos. 

I have an aesthetic weakness for worn wooden floors and rustic brick walls. The location design was relaxing and comfortable to exist in. Having the same tiled brick as Fleet Coffee Co in Austin, it brought me back to one of my favorite cafes in Texas. They even used a beehouse for my pourover and I'm curious as to why the choice over a Kalita or V60, but my coffee still tasted well extracted. I've had a beehouse in my home barista arsenal for years, but I still don't think I've used it.

You can assume when a cafe uses *that* particular tone of blue in their serving cups, that they care about the quality of their coffee. It's supposedly the color to make coffee beverages taste better. I've seen Fleet Coffee + Prufrock Coffee use the same color while visiting.

Also, before I get into the photos of this lovely shop, I will drop a short PSA about cafe stickers. They should be free. Yes, they cost you a bit of money, but they are wonderful advertising and upkeep for your brand. People ask me about the stickers on my laptop often, and you'll get a sale + a new customer from it. Be a cafe like G&B Coffee in LA, or Victrola in Seattle, or Scandinavian Embassy that just hands you a roll of stickers because they know it's beneficial to their brand. Just a minor pet-peeve next to an overall wonderful cup of coffee. And to the shops that don't have stickers - order some. Many of us would love to adorn our belongings with cafe merch. 

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G&B Coffee - Los Angeles, California

G&B Coffee - Los Angeles, California

I've heard quite a bit about this place. I've visited Los Angeles five or six times in the past few years, but I've primarily stayed in Venice - so therefore, I've hung around Menotti's and Goodboybob, as well as Blue Bottle + Intelligentsia (for the feel fun aesthetic, mainly). Only being in LA for a day, I decided to venture into the city for G&B Coffee and hopefully catch a sighting of the coffee-legendary Charles Babinski. He wasn't there, but I was informed that he popped in just an hour after I had left. By this time, I was being scolded by a rude barista at Verve Coffee for taking photos of the shop. He was convinced I was out to ruin Verve's brand, but that's for another blog. Definitely should've stayed a bit longer at G&B.

I happened to visit the day (or maybe the day after) they rolled out their own roasting works. People had been positively gossiping about it while I was at other cafes earlier, and I was lucky enough to arrive at the right time. Supposedly they run the TDS + refractometer every morning to calibrate the perfect Fetco, and the Ethiopia was truly delicious. Being in the market area, they have to serve high volume, but yet they refuse to compromise quality. I mean, yeah - it would've been nice to be inside a cafe where it was easier to talk with baristas not running around like it was In-N-Out, but that's seems to be the nature of some high-volume, high-quality shops. The barista I did speak with gave plenty of attention to my questions, and was a coffee photographer herself. Our difference: she gets paid for it in ways other than the occasional bag of coffee (me:) (Also thanks Fellow in SFO, Flat Track + Figure 8  in Austin for being those individuals) 

Enjoy the photos. 

FELLOW - San Francisco, California

FELLOW - San Francisco, California

Here's FELLOW. They've become famous for creating simple brewing equipment to assist thirdwave coffee brewers - my favorite being their pour-over kettle with a weighted handle to make a consistent pour more easily attainable. Walking into Fellow, you can select one of five beans from different roasteries around the world, and they take you back to the 'playground' to teach you how to brew a pourover yourself - from their own equipment. The barista was surprised I already knew a bit about brewing, but that made our conversation all the more fun. Definitely an incredibly fun stop on my journey through ten coffee shops in San Francisco.

My second time here: 

Figure8 Coffee Purveyors - Austin, Texas

Figure8 Coffee Purveyors - Austin, Texas

Nearly everyone I spoke with in Austin recommended Figure 8 Coffee Purveyors. I'm thrilled I had time to stop in. I didn't have time to grab too many shots, but these guys roast their own beans and apparently kill fascists with their coffee. (See photo below.)

They also display one of my favorite little action figures. It's a miniature cat that waves as long as he's supplied with a battery or two. It's name is Maneki-neko, or 'Neko' for short. It represents good luck and favor in Japanese culture and it will continue to wave. Back-and-forth - until it's batteries run out (and hopefully not the luck). I've seen Neko at a few different coffee shops, and it always brings a smile to my face, as silly as that is. The plan is to finish this blog then order some Neko's for my photography studio back home. Enjoy the few photos from my quick stop through.

Cuvee Coffee - Austin, Texas

Cuvee Coffee - Austin, Texas

I didn't gather all that many photos of this cafe, but I will note that the barista I spoke with really enjoyed chatting coffee. They have a gorgeous bar that wraps around and centers the room. I thoroughly enjoyed the blue color scheme, as well as their general branding. Definitely would stop by again. Enjoy Cuvee Coffee in Austin, Texas if you can.

They also had a lovely Wilbur Curtis pourover machine that I would do terrible things to possess. It seems to be a fairly popular method in Austin. This particular one has two pourover stations that stick out from the bar. A tablet controls the different pulses that are dripped on the coffee for the bloom, first pour, etc., and the recipe can be changed to account for different roasted beans (Varying growing locations, roast of the bean, as well as grind size all have a huge effect on a pourover, so changing the recipe between beans is important.) 

"That's nothing but a coffee maker." you say, and indeed you are correct, but this one is much better. I've been reading some material from Scott Rao recently, who is a giant pioneer in thirdwave coffee, and he talks about the important of a good batch brewer, or in this case, a single pourover brewer. A machine does not mistake water temperature. It does not pour inconsistently, or too much, or too little. It does not wait too long to pour water, and it doesn't spew too soon. I'm sure calibrating the machine to perform the perfect pourover takes quite a bit of time and energy from the team, but it sounds like a rather exciting undertaking. "How can edit the settings of a machine to brew better and more consistently than I can?" Cuvee seems to roast a bit darker than my preference. Not to say theirs is bad, but I enjoy a more Scandinavian roasting style, which is to say, very lightly roasted.

Linea Caffe - San Fransisco, California

Linea Caffe - San Fransisco, California

Of my ten shop coffee crawl of San Fransisco, this Linea Caffe was my first stop. I had just taken the train to a nearby stop, and cruised over. It's a very small space, but extremely cute. They roast their own beans offsite, and I was pulled a delicious espresso. Enjoy Linea Coffee Roasting, and stop by if you can!

Four Barrel Coffee - San Francisco, California

Four Barrel Coffee - San Francisco, California

It was certainly a dream to walk into Four Barrel Coffee in San Fransisco. I've had so many cups of their coffee at various cafes without visiting a physical location. It almost feels like a folktale, or urban legend. But indeed, they have a few physical locations, and I stopped by the one on Valencia street for about an hour. They've made their mark on coffee, and they send their beans all over the world. I've had Four Barrel in many shops, and it's easily one of my favorite roasteries. They are incredibly consistent with their roasts, whether it be an earthy Guatemalan bean, or a fruit forward juicy Kenyan coffee - and the later being my absolute favorite.

Everything had a rustic style. A swanky pourover bar stands just off to the left as you walk in, and an espresso bar divides the roastery from the seating area. On my coffee crawl of San Fransisco, I visited 10 shops, and the coffee I had here is tied for first place in my mind next to Wrecking Ball's pourover.

Some of my favorite images on this trip were from this cafe, so please enjoy the spacious, yet cozy Four Barrel Coffee.

Flat Track Coffee - Austin, Texas

Flat Track Coffee - Austin, Texas

I hadn't gotten the chance to stop by Flat Track coffee the last time I was in Austin, but so many people recommended it, I popped by a few days ago before flying home. It's a half cafe, half bike shop. They roast some wonderful coffee, and they even gave me a bag of Ethiopia after seeing me shoot photos. The baristas were incredibly friendly, and this will definitely by a stop I make when back in town. 

Enjoy the photos!

Ritual Coffee Roasters - San Francisco, California

Ritual Coffee Roasters - San Francisco, California

Here's Ritual Coffee Roasters. My favorite espresso shot from my San Francisco trip was pulled here. Their bar setup was also one of my favorites. It seemed to be a very hip joint with high traffic, yet still enough time for the person manning the pourover bar to keep up with three at a time.

I wasn't there long, but have a look at some of the pics of the shop - I'd definitely recommend it.

Café Comunión - San Juan, Puerto Rico

Café Comunión - San Juan, Puerto Rico

Café Comunión was the only shop I found serving quality coffee in San Juan. I spoke with Abner Roldán, the shop owner, who currently happens to have his face on the cover of Barista Magazine. He's the Puerto Rico Latte art champion two years running, and he really knows his coffee. I almost never order a latte, but I wanted to see Abner work his magic, and it was spot on. My espresso + pourover were both delicious, as well.  They raised over $5000 to keep the shop running after hurricane Maria, and it seems to be back to perfection considering the carnage at the very next shop over (last photo). 

Enjoy the photos of the coffee - and stop back to the site again soon. 

Flitch Coffee - Austin, Texas

Flitch Coffee - Austin, Texas

Definitely one of the more unique coffee shops I've come across. As you'll see in the photos, it's a converted old-school trailer equipped with a LaMarzocco machine and more. This was my last stop before heading to the airport, and I'm happy I was able to stop by. The seating area gave me the feeling of a backyard barbecue with an assortment of different furniture and tables. I only wish I would have been by when it was busier. It was just me, the barista, and a man across the yard reading the paper. Enjoy the photos. 

Intelligentsia Coffee - Venice, California

Intelligentsia Coffee - Venice, California

I've been here before. January 8th, 2018 - Intelligentsia - Venice (Los Angeles). Incredible coffee with a science lab feel to the barista operation. Last time I was here, I posted on social media about a guy who brought his Bach Piano score to the coffee shop to 'read'. 36 year old, retired software developer - Hannes. He preferred to take the sheet music away from the piano to study it in order to play better, and compose better. I thought this was brilliant (as a person who studied piano performance myself at university). Today, a packed house, there's only one spot open in the cafe - next to me. Someone tapped me on the shoulder, "I think we've met before."

It was Hannes. This time he was reading Beethoven.

Enjoy the photos of a truly beautiful coffee bar with tasty coffee. 

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Fleet Coffee - Austin, Texas

Fleet Coffee - Austin, Texas

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Fleet coffee in Austin, Texas is one of those shops you hope to find on a coffee journey through a city. One that makes the entire trip worth it, and possibly break your top 10 of coffees you’ve ever had. It’s a very small triangle shaped shop with not too much seating room, but everything about it was pleasant. Coffee literature on the shelves next to a variety of roasters’ beans. The baristas were friendly, and it seems that everyone stopping in was a regular. The baristas + patrons seem to live for coffee - which is extremely refreshing. I was able to hear some local coffee competition gossip next to me - what other shop will I find that? :)

The cup of Burundi made with a Curtis machine was simply the best pour over I’ve ever had. I haven’t been able to change this ranking in a while, but the blueberry in this coffee was so intense, it’s almost as if it had been added afterward. 

If you stop at one shop in Austin, let it be this one.

Menotti's - Venice, California

Menotti's - Venice, California

A small cafe less than a block from Venice beach. I've heard of this shop from a number of people, and finally got a visit. I was fortunate to meet the coffee famous 'Nicely' as he was passing through. He dropped me his card, and was on his way.

I made it in twice over the few days I was there, and spent most of my time with barista Jason listening to Outkast and TI on vinyl. (Catch him on Insta for some live videos and shots from the shop). He loved talking coffee - and he's definitely one of my favorite baristas I've met on this trip.

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The second time I made it in, Jason gave me a free espresso in addition to the one I ordered. Both were phenomenal. A gal there also wanted me to try one of their specialty drinks, so she brought one out. A high traffic location, friendly and talented baristas, and delicious coffee - I can't wait to make it back soon. If you're in Los Angeles, make it out to Menotti's - and enjoy the other photos I shot below, and follow me on instagram here.

Another note, I've seen this book at a few shops now - and I'm going to pick one up. I've already been to several of these shops, and it will be a great todo list to see how many I can make it to.

Goodboybob Coffee - Santa Monica, California

Goodboybob Coffee - Santa Monica, California

A few coffee connoisseurs around town told me I should visit Goodboybob while in town. It's somewhat hidden in an alley, but once inside, it's an extremely gorgeous location. The thought put into the layout and design is incredible. 

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I ordered my espresso and after sipping it I told the guy who runs the shop (Ryan Fisher) that this was one of the best espressos I've ever had outside of possibly one cafe in London (Prufrock coffee). He responds, "I learned coffee from the guys in London at THAT shop."

Things I really enjoyed about this shop:

-The coffee for sale. Each of their roasted beans come in a heavy duty jar with a screw top. It's perfect for home use to keep the beans fresh. I'll be using it for all of my beans once I finish the Ethiopia I bought (which is very delicious - and only $15)

-The Baristas. They were very familiar with their craft, but also other shops in the world that I've been to. It made the coffee world seem very small.

I went three days in a row, the third of which was 'Pourover Friday'. An unexpected gem like this shop was incredible to find. Enjoy the photos from my experience.