People who've been reading our "Trimethyldioxypurist" missives will not be especially surprised by the winners. For those who are strangers to our periodic ramblings about coffee and cafes around the City by the Bay, here are our favorites among the many, many cool, delicious, and often unique coffee choices at which we overcaffeinated during the past year. We give our big, meaty fist (and, yeah, those are, in fact, knobby knuckles in the logo) to:
BEST "bring-it-home" coffee:
TIE--Taylor Maid Farms and Blue Bottle Coffee. What we've sampled from the former is delicious, readily accessible to all sorts of tastes, and the company engages in "Green" practices to boot. Blue Bottle, meanwhile, has many interesting beans and roasts--patrons should be careful about picking one that'll suit your particular tastes, as they tend to be very distinct; the baristi at BBC (whether Hayes Valley kiosk or at the Farmer's Market) are always happy to help you pick one.
BEST "drink it there" coffee:
Like a broken record, we're awarding this 'Fistie to the Blue Bottle kiosk in Hayes Valley. We think this still pretty much says it all.
BEST espresso + milk drink:
A cappuccino from Boulange de Polk. We don't know how they do what they do with that milk, but we lurves 'em. Makes spending a Sunday morning in Polk Gulch a real treat.
BEST old-school cafe:
Caffe Trieste still absolutely brings it. We honor our favorite among old-time cafes that helped set the precedent for good coffee. Tried and true, Trieste ain't over by any means, its espresso straight-up kicks ass.
BEST coffee place with bad coffee:
Red's Java House. The coffee, frankly, stinks, but the views and people are great, the food is delightfully simple and greasy, and this place could have just as easily have received a made-up 'Fistie for "best place to battle a hangover." In fact, we'll give it that one too (though we should probably consult Mr. Staggering Through Fog, SFist Drew, on that one).
BEST new cafe:
Ritual Coffee Roasters. We're actually writing this from Ritual right now; the place has really caught on, as evidenced by the lack of available tables. In our initial review, we only talked about the coffee, which is done via a press pot on order. We can now attest many times over that the espresso and espresso drinks (we're now pausing to take another hit of our Americano) kick ass as well. Interestingly, there's a roasting machine hanging out in the back . . . will it go into use? Who knows. Either way, Ritual is our early favorite for next year's 'Fistie winner.
BEST coffee joint, overall, period:
We use "joint" because we can't really call the kiosk a "cafe." Obviously, it's Blue Bottle--our fave espresso, our fave baristi, our fave beans, our second-fave drip (to Ritual,who cheats by using the press pots), our fave affilliated blog; our favorite thing to bring to people from out of town as gifts . . . etc. etc. etc. Yeah, we're that fan who takes it way too far and starts stalking.
While only we at SFist can wield these mighty 'Fisties, we also want to know what you think! Hit the comments section, folks -- nominations for next year have already begun.