How many of you had that old Rice-a-Roni jingle in your head as you read the subject of this post? If so, you’re showing your age…
I was in San Francisco a couple weeks ago, and made it a point to see out a decent cuppa in the City by the Bay. I only had two days, so I sampled two shops, Blue Bottle and Ritual.
My favorite, hands down, was Blue Bottle. Not that Ritual was bad - they were quite good, in fact. But those Blue Bottle guys have their act together. The siphon bar was a bit over the top for my tastes, so I stuck with a pourover cup of their brew of the day. The barista was underinformed as to the composition of the blend (she was quite obviously wrong about the composition of the blend, as their is no mistaking natural Ethiopia and Sumatra in the cup), but the blend was lovely, nonetheless. They have a simple, yet elegant breakfast menu, and a small but adequate number of coffee choices. The quality was outstanding. Overall, Blue Bottle is highly recommended.
Ritual was a good experience, too, for the most part. Food selection was kind of disappointing, but since I don’t go for the food it was no loss to me. I ordered a Helsar Villa lobos on the Clover, which turned out to be… just a good cup of coffee, so safe to say it fell a little short of expectations. Ritual is a busier production shop with roaster and warehouse all in the cafe space, so while authentic it’s a bit of sensory overload. I recommend them, too.
If any of you have road coffee recommendations, please comment.