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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

San Francisco's Top Five Coffee Shops

Posted By on Tue, Aug 9, 2011 at 11:25 AM

Page 4 of 5

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2. Blue Bottle Coffee

There were only two real candidates for No. 1 on this list. Blue Bottle is the runner-up, but not because of the coffee.

Using our standards, Blue Bottle's coffee is actually the best. It has the best cappuccino in town -- so creamy and smooth, even with nonfat milk, that it's almost like a low-calorie nonfat dessert. And while we're not a fan of its New Orleans-style iced coffee because we hate chicory (sorry Cajuns), its Kyoto-style iced coffee is also the best in town.

The food options are spartan, but we like the reasonable prices on the not-so-sweet baked goods. The baristas also give us far less attitude than those at any of the other coffee-geek havens; we like that we don't feel challenged to prove that we're cool enough to patronize this place.

So how does Blue Bottle not take No. 1?

Availability. We haven't had a coffee from Blue Bottle's Ferry Plaza booth in ages; we don't have the patience to wait 45 minutes. At least one of every three times that we walk by its Mint Plaza location, we walk away again because the line is too long. Blue Bottle's coffee-obsessed baristas make a consistently great cup, but they don't seem to do it particularly quickly.

We realize it's unfair to ding a company for being so good that it's too popular, but the reality is that if we go out of our way to go to a certain coffee shop, we want to get a cup of coffee without waiting too long for it. That proved the deciding factor, but before we get to what now might be an obvious No. 1, let us add that we're glad to drink coffee in a city where Blue Bottle only gets to be No. 2.

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W. Blake Gray

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