A rotating exhibit of the things I love most about living in San Francisco.

Posts tagged “coffee

Reveille Coffee Spills Food And Design Details – Plywood Special – Eater SF

This soon to open brick and mortar certainly deserves your attention. If the truck and the coffee you’ll find there is any indication, these java purists will create a stunning cafe. We’re already planning the drive over there to report first -hand.

“One of the biggest perks of the new space is an elevated open kitchen that will overlook the coffee bar. The day will start with assorted breakfast pastries, biscuits with jam and butter, and sticky buns made from scratch in the mornings. Lunch options will move into “simply prepared seasonal antipastas and sandwiches,” including a tuna conserva sandwich, and a farro salad with beets, avocado, and pistachio. The menu will start small and grow as the cafe does.”

Check out the full article on SF EATER:

Reveille Coffee Spills Food And Design Details – Plywood Special – Eater SF.


trash talking tuesdays: use your mug

. . . do you really want to use something only once before throwing it away?

63,000,000. That’s just one estimate of the number of disposable paper coffee cups consumed every day, …and that’s just in America.

Coffee sleeve designed to encourage using a mug and not a paper cup for your coffee

Coffee sleeve designed to encourage using a mug rather than a paper cup for your morning coffee.

We want to divert as much as possible from the landfill via recycling and composting programs. That’s always true. So if you do have your coffee in a paper cup, please do put it in the green or blue bin. Yes, either one. But better yet, avoid generating waste at all. Just bring your own mug.

My client and I created the following design to spread the word on this point, and it was printed on recycled paper coffee sleeves throughout San Francisco, in the spring of 2012. We realized everyone has a favorite mug. . . why not use it? At first we thought there’d be push-back for advertising on the sleeve of the paper coffee cup that you should not use the paper coffee cup, but we received a lot of support from local business owners who frankly, would love to spend less on packaging. They also know first-hand the sheer volume of items that are thrown away.

Have your morning coffee. But consider bringing your own mug or tumbler. Waste nothing.

Did you know paper cups are made from virgin paper content and not recycled content? Did you know that even paper coffee cups are sprayed with plastic? Here’s a Link for more information about how the paper cups are made, and why not using them will benefit the environment.

18 reasons, and the coffee-tasting

Coffee tasting at 18 Reasons, San Francisco

Blind coffee tasting at 18 Reasons, San Francisco

18 Reasons is a non-profit organization located in the heart of the gourmet gulch in the Mission. It’s an organization that we here at MUS•e•YUM have grown to love. The group is dedicated to bringing the people of the community together, using food and food production as the thread that binds. In the tradition of family, friends & neighbors gathering around the table to share a meal and each other’s company, 18 Reasons hosts events that teach, enlighten, enliven and delight. I’ve met a lot of quality folk here, it’s just that kind of place. Here’s the Mission Statement:

18 Reasons brings people together to deepen our relationship to food and each other. Through an innovative community center and thought-provoking, fun programming, we inspire action and foster collaboration toward creating a just and sustainable food system.

18 Reasons has several events per month, of dizzying variety. Want to learn how to make cheese at home? How about a multi-course meal, each dish prepared with, and paired with, Chinese teas? Maybe you’ve had the desire to try urban farming (and you can) and didn’t know where to begin? 18 Reasons and their community of eaters and producers will help you. I love coffee but realized, I didn’t know that much about it. So when I saw a coffee tasting come up on the schedule, I jumped. (The cost is usually discounted for members, so much I decided to purchase a membership; I suggest you do, too!)

evaluating the aromas. . .

evaluating the aromas. . .

We blind-tasted 9 coffees. It was fun to conjure up adjectives to describe the nuances of the flavor profiles, which varied wildly from cup to cup. Of course, the event reminded me of a wine tasting but with a twist: interesting adjectives emerged that I’d never used when speaking about wine. Of a flavor profile, the best descriptive phrase of the evening was “hot, humid jungle”!

The tasting also differed from a typical wine tasting in another way. Because of the changes coffee undergoes during preparation, we wrote notes for each of 9 samples at four different stages of brewing. First, we described the fragrance of the grounds themselves and second, the aroma released after the pour (this was timed with precision). Third, we broke the surface of the coffee to release still more aroma, and described that. Last, we documented the taste. This involved a particular technique of aspirating the coffee, essentially a very quick suck from the spoon with a loud sssssssssssuppppppppp!

writing down our tasting notes

writing down our tasting notes

With 9 coffees side by side, it’s just so easy to appreciate the broad array of flavors that the varied beans deliver. There’s a surprising diversity out there. It’s amazing, too, to see how one’s experience of a particular coffee, one’s impression of it, changes from the moment you sniff the grounds, as compared to the first taste. And not only that, for each coffee the taste and aroma change over time, from bean to brew. Very cool stuff.

For fun events like this and so much more, check out the calendar of events at 18 Reasons and, go try one out!


the surface of the coffee is gorgeous, four minutes after the pour

the surface of the coffee is gorgeous, four minutes after the pour

18 Reasons
593 Guerrero at 18th Street
San Francisco, CA

our favorite coffee destination, Sightglass, set to open cafe space 11 July

sightglass coffee interior

Interior of the new Sightglass Coffee space, photo courtesy of Tablehopper.com

Straight from local food authority Tablehopper comes some news for which we’ve been eagerly waiting here at MUS•e•YUM, not in the least because their location is but blocks away from the Mission Street office! Yes, after one cup of Sightglass Coffee and we were hooked. In our estimation it’s the best cup of coffee in the city (click here for our first review). Up until now the coffee has been served up from a kiosk on 7th Street near Folsom, housed in a loading dock that is tucked into a nondescript part of a nondescript industrial block. Sightglass has been building-out the space next door, however, over the past several months. Curious we were and after taking several peeks through the curtain, we’ve followed the development in its progress, as the immense warehouse space morphs to coffee Mecca. The centerpiece is a towering roaster, gleaming under the skylights that bring ample light into the two-tiered, lofted room. Beautiful. What you need to know is this: not only will the space be as impressive a space as the coffee is rich (it’s roasted on the spot after all), they’ll also serve baked goods from two of the hottest sources in town, Tell Tale Preserve Co. and Hooker’s Sweet Treats. Everything comes together here: Industrial chic, fabulous coffee and great desserts… so get thee there! Here’s the full article by Tablehopper, with all the sumptuous details and photos:


Sightglass Coffee

270 7th St. at Folsom


Hours: Mon-Sat 7am-7pm, Sun 8am-6pm


18 reasons event, coffee tasting

'blind' coffee tasting at 18 reasons

‘blind’ coffee tasting at 18 reasons


I’ve been to wine tastings but never a coffee tasting. 18 Reasons, a local food and advocacy non profit, set the stage for a delightful, educational, evening around coffee. We tasted 9 varieties over the course of one evening, copiously taking notes at various stages of the coffee brewing process. From the aroma, to the pour, to the bloom, to the steep, the aromas changed in a surprisingly nuanced way. I left with a deeper appreciation of the variety of tastes associated with coffee. I also left buzzed.

Find out more about 18 Reasons, and check out their calendar. There are food related events every week, at which you can be sure to meet quality people, and experience gorgeous food.

Ma-Velous Perks Up Civic Center Coffee Scene – San Francisco Restaurant Buzz – Zagat

See link, via MaVelous Perks Up Civic Center Coffee Scene – San Francisco Restaurant Buzz – Zagat

interior, Ma*Velous, hot new Civic Center coffee house, SF, CA

interior, Ma*Velous, hot new Civic Center coffee house, SF, CA (photo courtesy Sheri C. at Yelp.com)

Wow, this place looks HOT. You had us at “Japanese cold slow drip and Siphon”. Blue Bottle, watch out, these guys are on your heels. Norwegian roaster Wendelboe coffee??? Really??? MUS•e•YUM is on it. Look for a first hand report, soon.

And as if that isn’t enough, they serve pastries by one of our favorite bakeries, Sandbox, and we won’t have to travel nearly so far to get them, anymore. Sigh. And local cheese.

Check it out (here’s a link to the Ma*Velous Website) and if you get there first, let us know what you think, please!


1408 Market St.



via MaVelous Perks Up Civic Center Coffee Scene – San Francisco Restaurant Buzz – Zagat.

great coffee in san francisco: Sightglass Coffee

Cappuccino, Sightglass Coffee on 7th Street, SOMA, SF

Cappuccino, Sightglass Coffee on 7th Street, SOMA, SF

MUS•e•YUM prediction, Sightglass is poised to become the next dominant player in the San Francisco coffee world. Watch out Four Barrel and Blue Bottle!

I had the cappuccino and it was a medium roast, full-bodied yet smooth drink. Meticulous attention to quality here. Beautiful foam art on top; I always love that.

The space is hip. Currently, Sightglass serves drinks just off the sidewalk from a kiosk which is outfitted with a fancy espresso machine. They also serve individual drip coffees, three blends from which to choose, and I’ll be heading back to try one of those. The space sort of resembles a loading dock, adorned only by the reclaimed wood shelf and the elegant piece of wall art gracing one wall. There is a bench for those who want to linger.

This configuration will change soon, though- a peak behind the curtain reveals a huge warehouse space waiting to be filled, currently being built-out to include not only their immense roaster (they do roast the beans on the premises) but also a very spacious cafe, complete with a gorgeous wave-form bar. Skylights bathe the room in a warm light, contributing to the airiness of the space and placing the gleaming roaster in a natural spotlight. I can’t wait for the expansion to be complete; Sightglass is industrial chic at its best and a perfect reflection of the vibe of the neighborhood it inhabits. Until then, I’ll enjoy the immediacy of ordering directly from the cart- which is fun in that it feels, ‘under the radar’, like being ‘in’ on a secret . . . at least for now;-)

Service is casually friendly, knowledgeable and inked. You can count on a quality cup, here and look forward to more good things when the space is finished!


Coffee Bar & Roastery
270 7th St

San Francisco, CA 94103

the cappuccino from Sightglass Coffee in SOMA, San Francisco

the cappuccino from Sightglass Coffee in SOMA, San Francisco

Sightglass Coffee Bar and Roastery

Sightglass Coffee Bar and Roastery

great coffee in san francisco: Grand Coffee

Cappuccino, Grand Coffee in the Mission

Cappuccino, Grand Coffee in the Mission

I stumbled upon Grand Coffee a week ago while on my lunch break in the Mission, tucked away as it is where the ticket booth would-have-been in an old movie theater called the Grand, between 22nd and 23rd on Mission Street. The menu is short (no elaborate bakery options here) but the focus on quality is keen- the owner, Nabeel, pours a great coffee. His focus is singular in the preparation of every cup I’ve had there, and in only a week I’ve been back two more times to get my fix. Beyond the coffee, ask about the gorgeously layered egg cream he’s perfected- you just might get a sample. Another must-try is Nabeel’s Mexican hot chocolate, the ‘Xocalatl’, made with Dagoba chocolate, cinnamon and cayenne pepper. The texture is silky sweet, but not cloyingly so, and the pepper gives it a nice kick on the finish. Add an espresso shot and make it a mocha.

The operation is small and caters to sidewalk traffic, but there is a counter where one can sit and enjoy the coffee and perhaps a conversation with Nabeel, too. And I suggest you do sit down if you have a little time; what began as a quick stop for a coffee that first day turned into a nice chat. I had noticed there were lots of interesting decorative details throughout the space, and Nabeel told me about the provenance of the wood and tile accents he’s affixed to the walls. He sourced and restored these elements by hand, and with them he’s made a beautiful space out of the old theater in which the kiosk is located.

Rather than gutting the space and bringing in new materials in an effort to divorce his business from the decrepid surroundings (look to the “dollar store sign” which usurped what was the marquee for a hideous example of that), Nabeel looked to the history of the space, the Grand-ness of what was the Grand Theater, and made a decision to incorporate that spirit into his own business. He sourced wood and tile of the era, and some even from the theater itself, and personally scraped, scrubbed and cleaned the pieces of wood flooring and tile by hand, making art out of them. In so doing, Nabeel puts a little bit of himself into the business, too. The business in turn manifests qualities of care, of effort, of hard work and above all, of vision. One gets the sense Nabeel himself possesses all these qualities, putting as he does his heart and soul into his shop. That’s the kind of small business I feel good about supporting.

Can you imagine how great the Grand Theater would look if someone were to revive it in the same way? I hope someday someone else sees the potential latent in the bones of the buildings and materials of that era, of a magnificent theater like this. And until then, we have a new Grand.

Grand Coffee on Mission Street, San Francisco

Grand Coffee on Mission Street, San Francisco

great coffee in san francisco : Vega


Originally uploaded by markevnic72

Occupying that sweet spot that is the nexus of two of my favorite things, scooters and coffee, Vega is an unpretentious, very reliable and very cool spot to get your coffee. Not a place to hang out and work on a laptop, the operation is small, located inside a roll-top garage. The coffee menu is limited so for those that like to add syrups and flavors this may not be the environment for you. It is all about the coffee here, and a perfect cup at that.  Run by and for purists the focus is narrow, Vega makes your coffee to order using Blue Bottle Coffee Co. beans, so you know you’ll be getting that extra attention to detail that comes with the Blue Bottle name. (With Blue Bottle comes strict quality controls to ensure the best cup of coffee, every time.)

Service is sincerely friendly and the space reflects the neighborhood, the “garage grittiness” is fun and aesthetic and natural here . . . without the appearance of being “urban cliche”. The owners happen to be long-time scooter aficionados and gorgeous Lambretta bikes are suspended around the garage, lending to the theme without being gimicky. You can tell this place is a labor of love!

The coffee pictured here is the New Orleans Iced- nutty with that little pinch of chickory. Also, consider the sweet & creamy Macau. ~Complex and delicious!

Coffee at Vega

Coffee at Vega

Vega at Landon
1246 Folsom St
(between 9th St & 8th St)
San Francisco, CA 94103


free pastry day at Starbucks


Originally uploaded by markevnic72

23 march was ‘free pastry’ day at Starbucks. While I’ve never had a truly great cup of coffee at Starbucks, a free pastry was a compelling reason to go back and give them another chance. The experience turned out to be unremarkable- an acceptable cup of coffee but again, not great. I’m not even convinced that the coffee and pastry was worth what I paid for them, a dollar and change. I’ll wait another year to go back. ( ‘free pastry day, 2011″ )

However, I will give Starbucks credit for getting a movement started. We have *amazing* coffee shops in San Francisco and Starbucks played a key role in seeding and growing the market that would (someday) support coffee shops like the ones I actually love. Before Starbucks, the quality expected of a cup of coffee was abysmally low. Little more than blackened water, the classic diner variety seemingly was the only option. The cheap price of a cup of coffee was its chief virtue.

Politics aside, which you can read more about here, Starbucks can take credit for introducing to the American mass-market the robust flavor of Italian coffee and espresso-based drinks (and with it, the now ubiquitous higher price tag.)

Having elevated the quality of a cup of coffee, Starbucks spawned a consumer population that has a greater appreciation, and reverence, for the drink. And, despite their original missteps in procuring their coffee, by simply growing the market for the beverage at least they have created the Consumer that Demands More, one that would demand an organic and fair trade product. To the extent that that demand has led to action, Starbucks has increased it’s percentage of organic and fair trade beans. But, perhaps what is even more significant is that the demand for organic/fair trade has created space in the market for the competition to claim.  And competitors have stepped up to support organic and fair trade in a significant way, much to the benefit of many a farmer in the developing world. And, much to the benefit of the coffee lover, we now have more great options for coffee than ever before.

Here in San Francisco, there are amazing coffee houses from which to choose. Coffee houses one can feel GOOD about choosing. My unremarkable experience at Starbucks inspires me to profile the real gems, so watch this space for more reviews of outstanding local coffee houses. I hope you’ll consider them the next time you go out for a cup at Starbucks.

Incidentally, the pastry at Starbucks was as unremarkable as the cup of coffee. The flavor of the coffee cake, pretty enough laced with blueberries and a crumb topping, was indistinguishable from the cake you would unwrap from plastic wrapper anywhere  in California, or in Rhode Island, or in Missouri, or in Barcelona for that matter. You ‘ve had it a hundred times before. Whatever processed sugars and flours and other added preservatives support its shelf life on its journey here are the same ingredients that create exactly the same experience everywhere else, the same ones used in every other mass-produced product you’ll ever come across. When I splurge on a dessert, or a cup of coffee, I want something unique! That way the experience isn’t forgotten, and the calories aren’t wasted.

Here’s a link to a great article that delves deep into the differentiation in the coffee industry, and what separates not only the good from the bad, but the good from the great:

Caffeine Culture, From consumption to appreciation, a coffee bean’s journey.

by Jennifer Stover