Even though I already wrote an article about Blue Bottle, I wanted to write one specifically for the Hayes Kiosk.
First and foremost, it is a completely different experience than what you get from one of the formal cafes. Of course, the mission of providing the highest quality coffee is the same, but the vibe, pace, and delivery differs drastically. I was not hurried through a long line, relatively ignored by the extremely busy baristas, and I did not feel like I was observing a museum piece. Actually, it was exactly what I wanted out of Blue Bottle; exceedingly good coffee done by a couple of baristas who loved their jobs in an inviting atmosphere. The kiosk provided me with an experience that had little to do with “Blue Bottle” but everything to do with coffee.
Second, in some ways, kiosks are a way of the future. Cafes and flagship stores will always endure, but the model of Blue Bottle and Ritual, having one or two main stores and several smaller locations, makes a lot of sense from a business prospective. They have a lower overhead by comparison (cheap to maintain, staff, stock), allow your products to be more readily availible to a wider range of customers due to the flexibility in choosing a location, offer convenience to your staff and customers on many levels (locations, expectations, etc), and generally make coffee more accessible to the busy commuter, the soccer mom, and the coffee snob. Simply, it is “efficient,” lowest amount of input for maximum output.
Customers are still getting the same great products and quality, in their neighborhood, without having to travel across half the city or having to deal with the busyness of a traditional (and very popular) shop. Kiosks can be the “neighborhood” corner cafe. For those who want a quick walk up+coffee+pastry+no hassle, kiosks make high end coffee easy and convenient. For others who want a more intimate experience, the lack of high volume and “openness” of a kiosk can be a blessing. While coffee kiosks are by no means a no invention, Blue Bottle’s ability to utilize their convenience to deliver superior products reflects how amazing their shops are.
Blue Bottle conducts itself in such away that they don’t really need to prove themselves; their products speak for themselves. While some people may interpret it as “snooty,” I see them operating on their own level; doing what they love the way they want and always striving for self improvement.Blue Bottle Kiosk 315 Linden St
(between Octavia St & Gough St)
San Francisco, CA 94102