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Monday, December 27, 2010

The Year in Food: Coffee Seeps Farther

Posted By on Mon, Dec 27, 2010 at 8:56 AM

Four Barrel's Probat roaster. - MICHELLEYSBELLY/FLICKR

Twelve months, ten storylines: It's SFoodie's annual look back at the year in food.

click to enlarge Sightglass Coffee's Jerad Morrison. - MATT WUNDERLE/FLICKR

In San Francisco, it's still all too easy to get a crappy cup of coffee. But the walking distance between the average San Franciscan and a good cup shortened noticeably this year. Barefoot, Four Barrel, Ecco, and De La Paz coffees are showing up at more cafes and restaurants around town, while Blue Bottle is beginning to loosen its too-tight grip on who sells its coffee. The year-old Sightglass began roasting its own beans this summer, and at the very end of the year, Contraband Coffee, another roaster-cafe, started up in Polk Gulch/Russian Hill.

By the end of 2010, it has gotten noticeably easier to compare local roasters' beans side by side. Markets such as Bi-Rite, Rainbow, and Other Avenues now have wide selections (Bi-Rite's is particularly impressive). The variety on sale can come at a cost; some of the beans SFoodie spotted on recent shopping trips were roasted back when Christine O'Donnell was still running "I am not a witch" ads on TV. In addition, Ma*velous opened on Market and Fell, with six different methods for brewing coffee and beans from three roasters, including a cult Norwegian microroaster whose coffees are only available on Ma*Velous's siphon bar. 

Must-have equipment these days: the V-60 and Hario kettle. - MATT WUNDERLE/FLICKR
  • Matt Wunderle/Flickr
  • Must-have equipment these days: the V-60 and Hario kettle.

A few more notes from 2010: Many of the Third Wave coffee shops in town have replaced French presses with pourover systems ― namely, the Hario V-60 and the Chemex. And this was the year of the variable-pressure espresso machine,

which more cafes are ostensibly using to showcase the unique

flavors of single-origin coffees (though, frankly, SFoodie has tasted mixed success).

Actually, the phrase "single origin" is becoming passé, replaced by "microlot."

The year cannot pass without a mention of the Dolores Park coffee cart wars of 2010, which we're still trying to detoxify from. (Threatening violence against your girlfriend's competitors? Really?) A hysterical Killing My Lobster video, released around the same time, inadvertently demonstrated how often reality surpasses parody in ridiculousness.

When we look at 2011, here's what we're already excited about: The Ecco/Intelligenstia roastery and cafe is expected any day now. Marin's Equator Coffee will open its first retail shop/cafe in Terminal 2 of SFO, which opens in March. Someday, the Sightglass cafe might open. And LA MILL, the Los Angeles roaster and cafe that puts all you connoisseurs to shame, announced it might come to San Francisco.

Stay buzzed, San Francisco.

Other 2010 trends:
- Filipino Finds Its Voice
- Local Media Explodes
- Big-Ticket Dining Surges

- Pizza Pizza Pizza Pizza

- Vegan Goes Mainstream

- Cocktails Get More Respect

- DIY Revolution

- Street Food Gets Serious

Follow us on Twitter: @sfoodie. Follow me at @JonKauffman.

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Jonathan Kauffman


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