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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Farm: Table Signs Lease on New Cafe, Begins Roasting Coffee Beans

Posted By on Wed, Nov 23, 2011 at 1:00 PM

Farm: Table's Shannon Amitin and his new roast. - ELIA VARELA SERRA
  • Elia Varela Serra
  • Farm: Table's Shannon Amitin and his new roast.

When Farm: Table opened two and a half years ago, it was one of the first cafes to bring high-quality coffee to the Tenderloin. It was also the first San Francisco business to serve coffee from Verve, the Santa Cruz-based roastery. 

Even though the space is the size of a shoebox, with little more than a single communal farm table and two small tables outside, Farm:Table has become the kind of place where you can get not only a good espresso and delicious, seasonal food (some of it made with produce from the cafe's rooftop garden), but also where neighbors become friends and regulars get jobs from each other.

Now it's launching a new location. Owner Shannon Amitin just signed a lease for a second coffee location a few blocks away in the Warfield Theater Building (988 Market, at Golden Gate), the epicenter for the Mid-Market revitalization efforts. Amitin says it's not going to be a sit-down café --even a tiny one like Farm: Table -- but more like a coffee kiosk. He hasn't decided on a name yet, but is hoping to have it open by the end of January or February. Jan-Henry Gray, Farm:Table's current chef, will provide food for the new cafe, which will also sell pastries from Starter Bakery or B Patisserie, as well as cookies from former Absinthe pastry chef Carrie Collins.

  • Elia Varela Serra

Farm: Table has seen a big change in its coffee menu as well: Amitin has started roasting his own coffee.

While still carrying a few single-origin beans from Verve for pourover coffees, most of the cafe's other drinks are now made with Farm: Table beans. These come from Roast Coffee Co., an Emeryville roaster founded in 2008 by Andrew Green and master roaster Alex Roberts. Amitin and Roberts met years ago when they were both working for Blue Bottle Coffee, where Amitin worked as a roaster.

Having been both a barista and a roaster, Amitin loves being able to control every step of the coffee-making process. The blend he uses for Farm: Table's espresso drinks took him several weeks to test and profile with Roberts' help. Composed of direct-trade beans from Honduras, El Salvador, and Brazil, the Farm: Table roast debuted a week ago. Although the previous blend he was using from Verve was already smooth, this one is even smoother and creamier.

Elia Varela Serra is the founding editor at The Tender. Follow us on Twitter: @sfoodie, and like us on Facebook.

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