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Monday, March 29, 2010

Sightglass Coffee Readying Roastery, Café Expansion

Posted By on Mon, Mar 29, 2010 at 9:35 AM

Soon to be an oval coffee bar.
  • Soon to be an oval coffee bar.
Over the past six or so months, Sightglass Coffee, Jared Jerad and Justin Morrison's coffee roastery and cafe on Seventh St. and Folsom, has been selling coffee from a kiosk set inside an old warehouse they're renovating. Tarps separate the espresso machine from the construction zone, and everyone who stops by for a cappuccino stoops and cranes as they stand in line, trying to see past the plastic.

The epic industrial space (last a sign-painting shop) still looks a mess, but it's actually nearing completion. Workers have just finished polishing the concrete floor, prestained with coffee, and the crew is getting ready to paint the exterior, punch a hole in the ceiling for the roaster's heat vent, and finish constructing the bars. "We're four weeks away," Jerad estimates.

"It'll be a couple months," his brother corrects. So: somewhere in between.

The coffee roaster and front bar, with skylight and construction crap.
  • The coffee roaster and front bar, with skylight and construction crap.
It's a huge space, actually, which will be divided into

half cafe, half production; like most microroasters, they're projecting that wholesale beans will be a big chunk of the business. The coffee roaster occupies a prominent place at the front, and there's a (soon-to-be) oval coffee bar in the back and

a mezzanine for storage and seating.

Right now, the brothers are having Verve Coffee down in Santa Cruz roast their coffees, but when the 50-pound-capacity roaster is fired up, the Morrisons plan on having 10 to 15 coffees available at any one time, some

single-origins and some blends.

That product mix seems like it evolved directly out of Jerad's years worked as a

roaster at Blue Bottle; he and Justin also helped Four Barrel set up its space

while plotting Sightglass. They say it's been four years in the works.

Jerad (left) and Justin Morrison.
  • Jerad (left) and Justin Morrison.
Other features of the new cafe: The brothers are big believers in the hourglass-shaped Chemex pour-over systems, though they take four to five minutes

to brew each cup ("We're installing a 'slow bar,' Jerad says). They'll also have French presses and V-60 pour-over molds (with hemp filters) available for brewing on request.

And Sightglass is one of the first

cafes in San Francisco to invest in a Slayer, the variable-pressure espresso machine that a

New York Times writer recently overhyped as capable of launching the "fourth wave of coffee" (NOPA's Matching Half also has one.) Jerad says he plans to host regular cuppings of coffees that have just come out of the roaster ― a novel twist on a standard trope ― and he hopes to start holding occasional coffee-roasting seminars for people doing it themselves at home.

We'll let you know when opening day nears. Or stop by the kiosk yourself for a recon espresso.

Sightglass Coffee 270 Seventh St. (at Folsom); on Twitter: @sightglass

Follow us on Twitter: @SFoodie

 

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Jonathan Kauffman

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