On the weekdays coffee is a necessity; the quicker it’s ingested and the stronger it is the better. But on the weekends and slower mornings, coffee is a delight, to be sipped slowly and savored while it warms and wakes the soul. SF is a café town (as I’ve recently been reminded), and even after my years here I sometimes feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface. To get help me out of my familiar rut I enlisted a few friends for some exploration, made some dates, and here are my two favorite picks discovered thus far.
Front Coffee is a hidden gem tucked away between workshops and residences lining the North face of Potrero hill. Once a loading dock, and now the front half of a studio that makes films, roasts beans, and tinkers with robotics — it’s no wonder this spot feels both industrial and like a chemistry lab. Any place packaging coffee beans in test tubes is already king in my book, but on top of that the coffee itself is truly delicious. Front describes itself as a “destination for purists,” and this is evident in their menu, offering espresso, espresso + milk, and a handful of carefully curated single cup drip options. No skinny vanilla lattes drinks here (and no bathrooms either unfortunately). But there are kouingn amanns. And pretty park benches out front where you can eat and drink in the shade while watching patches of fog drift in between the high-rises of the downtown skyline.
Linea Caffe is in a charming little corner spot centrally located in the Mission, with big windows and beautiful design. Their focus is espresso drinks, (in fact when I was here they weren’t selling drip coffee at all) but additionally they serve speciality sweet or savory Belgian-style waffles (seen below with chèvre and herbs) and hand tossed salads (such as our baby kale with guacamole vinaigrette seen below) as well a variety of teas my non-coffee drinking friend was able to enjoy. With only a handful of outdoor cafe tables, this might be a better spot to pick up lunch or breakfast from (if the weather’s nice take it to nearby Dolores Park (and we know the weather’s always nice above Dolores Park)). Both of these spots are a bit pricey (so say yelpers anyway), but as an increasingly picky coffee snob I can tell you that these cafes are worth the price-tag. On the menu for my next visit — potato waffle with pastrami, sauerkraut and grain mustard. Has anyone else tried either of these spots?
Front Coffee can be found at 150 Mississippi St in Potrero.
Linea Caffe can be found at 3417 18th St in the Mission.