Sunday, July 17, 2011

San Francisco Coffee: The Long Blue Line

So I spent a week in Sonoma but was fairly lazy about going anywhere else (hey, I was on vacation). We did one day in San Francisco visiting friends, but I had as my one food goal a visit to the legendary Blue Bottle Coffee. I've been hearing about Blue Bottle for years, but had never been. In fact, I hadn't been to the Ferry Building since its early inception as a gourmet food court, which predated Blue Bottle's stand there.

The only day we went to San Francisco was a Saturday, so I knew we would be facing a zoo, but I decided I wasn't leaving without a cup of that famous brew. There were three separate Blue Bottle lines at the Ferry Building, two inside and one outside at the farmers market, all about the same in length. The lines didn't look terrible, not much longer than a Sunday line at the Silverlake Intelligentsia, but they were painfully slow. It took nearly an hour to make it through.

And suddenly I was that guy, the dumbass who spent an hour on a Saturday waiting for a damn cup of coffee amongst food tourists and suburbanites in between their purchases of salumi cones and $60 bottles of olive oil.

I had intended to only order coffee, but once I got to the counter I also grabbed a waffle, since everyone else seemed to, and after an hour, I was pretty hungry. It was one of those hand held European waffles, hot of the grill and slightly sweet, nothing I'd rush to order on my own, but a fine accompaniment to the coffee.

And the coffee was a great, the service was friendly, the latte art was beautiful. Was it worth an hour wait? Was it better than the best coffee in LA? These are questions that are just too painful to ponder after an hour in line.

My advice? Try the coffee, but go on a weekday.


James said...

Steve, I could have saved you an hour by pointing you in the direction of Philz Coffee, which in my opinion is (easily) the best coffee in SF. I like BB as well, but PC is a step above BB. Another positive is the shorter wait time, but prices are even higher at PC than BB.

sku said...

Ah, I wish I'd known. Next time.

Anonymous said...

Philz! My brother (Berkley-ite/Oaklander)loves Philz.

I refuse to suffer the line @ BB, especially at Ferry.

FYI, I cracked open my new "Clever" yesterday, and brewed an exact cup of rather decent coffee (with 2 week old espresso roast/grind beans no less) in 5 minutes. Freakin' changed my life.