Tuesday, June 10, 2008

West Side Roastery

SF is a coffee-lover's heaven. That city loves to drink and eat as local as possible and coffee is no different. I tried Philz where each cup is made fresh, The Beanery out in the Sunset where they roast their own, and Ritual, the coffee mecca of SF, out in the Mission.

Ritual Roasters blew them all away. They have a similar philosophy to Bean & Leaf, and it showed in every cup I tasted there. Their drip coffee is made via French press and all the beans are roasted in their machine right there in the shop. It was amazing to have a chance to watch the roaster at work and talk to her about temp turnarounds, first crack, sourcing beans and how even the change in weather can affect a batch.

Bluebottle Coffee and Flying Goat were two other roasters I had hoped to stop by and see, but they were too busy and just not set up to have guests into the roasting facilities. Both roasters were very friendly, though, and I was able to talk to each of them for quite a while and pick their brain about our craft. There is so much to learn, so many things to know and an immense number of variables when roasting the perfect bean that it is amazing to get a chance to talk to and watch other people do this work.

Building a great coffee community is very important to me, and I know that everything I learn while speaking to other roasters will enhance and expand what Bean & Leaf can do. Hopefully I will be able to return that favor many times over.

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