Blue Bottle Coffee

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This place has been built up to me over the years as a coffee mecca. True, it is outstanding, and the way their store and business is set up is really top quality. Their baristas are really professional, the place felt so classy, but it all feels a little too overwhelming and based on image rather than the final product. Its “hip,” “the best.” and they know it. Of course, I would recommend this place to anyone, coffee enthusiast or not. My drink was delicious and top quality, but it was not leagues beyond the competition, only a few steps at most.

It was sort of a strange experience; people were lining up around the block, happily waiting for 15 minutes without a barista really acknowledging their presence. It was like waiting for a Disneyland ride or something, or at a museum to see some famous piece of artwork; the epic atmosphere of the shop, for me atleast, was almost palpable. And yet, I think that really misses the mark for me. The experience in a store should feel enjoyable rather than static. Treating coffee like it is some showpiece and shaping our experience around what they thought was “perfect coffee” just felt weird. It was as if they revered the art of coffee as this monolithic phenomenon only they have fully understood. To put it simply, the trip through the line almost felt like an autograph signing, you’re excited walking up to the front and awaiting your goal and suddenly its done and you’re like, “wow, that’s it?” They use top of the line equipment, have a beautiful lay out, utilize outstanding techniques, and serve wonderful drinks, yet they seem to put up this iron curtain with the Linea; I am the barista and you are the customer, you stay on your side and I will stay on mine, the perfect coffee world side. It just felt, odd. They weren’t rude or anything, but I really wanted to talk to them as professionals and none of the baristas seemed willing.

I was not a fan of their espresso blend, though the milk texture of my cap was phenomenal. So many places do one or the other well, and in this case I think the espresso was just slightly too bitter and a bit “normal” for my taste. Again, these are little details, but for me, it all adds up to the overall experience. I would definitely rate the drinks an A+ among many other A+s in the Bay Area.

Hard to sit, hard to get to, but I will definitely be making stops to Blue Bottle when I am in the city. The only reason I do not highly recommend this place is because they do not live up to their own hype. It is great stuff and I would never deter anyone from going there, but you can go to many artisan shops around the area and all of California to get a drink that is just as good.

I like:

  • The unsurpassed professionalism of the company
  • Their Kiosk approach
  • Milk texture
  • Siphons
Blue Bottle
66 Mint St
(between Jessie St & Mission St)
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 495-3394      
  • Mon-Fri 7 am – 7 pm
  • Sat 8 am – 6 pm
  • Sun 8 am – 4 pm

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