The classic espresso and pour-over coffee drinks at this colorful coffee shop owned by Ana Valle, a coffee connoisseur from El Salvador, are made with beans roasted in house. But you’re not here to drink those (though they are great), you’re here to drink one of the fabulous, well-balanced, and flavorful signature coffee drinks, like a café con leche (a latte sweetened with condensed milk and sprinkled with cinnamon) or a café con coco y choco (a latte sweetened with condensed coconut milk and sprinkled with ground cacao).
To find this tiny coffee shop, look for the Grand Theater’s neon marquee. Inside you’ll find excellent espresso drinks and a range of single-origin coffees and blends that represent up-and-coming producers and are served in to-go cups stamped with an iconic Ben Davis monkey sipping his own cup. There’s a second location just two blocks away next to Alamo Drafthouse, which is filled with light and art and is the spot to go if you want to linger for a while.
Will it be impossible to get the Miley Cyrus song out of your head after you stop by this tiny shop on Union Street? Yes. But it’s totally worth it for the sustainably-sourced, well-balanced hand-crafted pour-over coffee served here. (One of the owners is credited with inventing the term "third wave" coffee and the other—her husband—is known for being one of the best baristas in the country). The shop has Instagram-friendly pineapple wallpaper and only a couple of seats at the bar and a few tables outside, so it's more of a place to meet a friend for a chat (and maybe split a buttery croissant from Le Marais Bakery) than a place to settle in with your laptop. As far as what to order, the go-to is the iced cappuccino, but if you're a fan of hot chocolate, you'll want to order that. (Just add a shot of espresso if you also need a caffeine boost.)
Sextant was founded by Kinani Ahmed, a first-generation Ethiopian, who works directly with growers across Ethiopia, Kenya, and Colombia. The name comes from a tool used by sailors to navigate, as a symbol of how coffee was first transported out of Africa, as well as the commitment to finding the best beans possible. All of the beans are roasted in SF and are “neither too light or too dark,” so if you’re feeling a little like Goldilocks, this is the spot to hit up.
If you’re looking to be productive while also enjoying a cup of excellent coffee (or because you’re enjoying an excellent cup of coffee), head to Verve. The light-filled room has a serene ambiance (exposed brick, lots of plants, light wood, etc.), plus ample seating, legit food options, and most importantly (for work productivity, anyway) WiFi (though there aren’t a lot of outlets). Our favorite part? It’s close to Blackbird, an excellent cocktail bar and the perfect spot to reward yourself after a hard day of work.
If there’s one thing you need after a walk along Ocean Beach, it’s a cup of coffee to warm your insides. The place to procure said cup is at one of Andytown’s four Outer Sunset locations. Andytown roasts its beans (carefully sourced from smallholder producers who value sustainability) in house and boasts a pretty straightforward coffee selection, with one exception: The Snowy Plover (sparkling water over ice, a shot of espresso, brown sugar syrup, and housemade whipped cream). It’s like an espresso cream soda, and there’s a matcha version as well. And you might as well get one of the insanely popular breakfast sandwiches made with bacon, ham, a cage-free soft egg, cheddar, and mayo on griddled pan de mie.