Ultimate guide to the best coffee in San Francisco

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A barrista draws a flower with milk onto the top of a latte.

A barrista draws a flower with milk onto the top of a latte.

raquel arocena torres/Getty Images

San Franciscans love a good cup of Joe, especially one that not only tastes good, but is ethically sourced and made with high-quality beans. And lucky for us, The City by the Bay has a vibrant coffee scene. 

Keep reading for 10 of the best places for coffee in San Francisco.

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Andytown Coffee Roasters

At Andytown, single-origin beans are sourced from ethically and sustainably driven partners from around the world, ranging from Ethiopia to Brazil. Try their signature, the Snowy Plover, a beverage best described as an espresso cream soda made from sparkling water over ice, espresso, brown sugar syrup and house-made whipped cream. (There’s also a matcha version.) Andytown’s menu offers pastries, plus a range of classics including an enticing mocha with a housemade Guittard chocolate ganache as well as tea lattes.

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Grand Coffee 

Opened in a post-recession 2010 by Nabeel Silmi, Grand Coffee has grown to become not just a coffee shop, but a non-judgmental gathering place for the community in the Mission District. This intimate spot offers a range of single-origin coffees and blends that showcase producers who emphasize ethics and quality. Last year, Grand Coffee opened up another small (but mighty) spot next door called Grand Coffee Too, which is located in a gallery space. Grand Coffee Roasters prides itself on being a cozy, quirky space that serves coffee at reasonable prices, with a drip coffee going for just $3 (practically free by San Francisco standards.)

Find it: 2663 (and 2544) Mission St., San Francisco, CA 94110; 415-879-8127

Many of the brews at Delah Coffee are served in pots with candles lit underneath to keep them hot. 

Many of the brews at Delah Coffee are served in pots with candles lit underneath to keep them hot. 

Carrie Z. via Yelp

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Delah Coffee 

Hailing as the city’s first Yemeni cafe, Delah Coffee is a family-run cafe offering a range of unique offerings, including roasts infused with cinnamon and cardamom. Featuring sustainably sourced, hand-picked and micro-roasted coffee, many of their brews are served in pots with candles lit underneath to keep them hot. Pair your drink with one of Delah Coffee’s unique sweet or savory pastries (think: milk cakes, baklava, sabayah, Turkish delights) or try a popular Middle East dessert like the Delah Kunafa. In line with their goal of celebrating Yemeni coffee culture in the Bay Area, Delah is decorated with maps and explainers on the history of coffee in Yemen and the region. With signature drinks like the spiced Yemeni latte, it’s a cafe paving the way for a new type of coffee experience in San Francisco.

Find it: Delah Coffee, 370 4th St., San Francisco, CA 94107; 415-377-2444

Caffe Trieste, in North Beach, San Francisco, says it became the first espresso coffee house on the West Coast when it opened in 1956. (Christopher Reynolds/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

Caffe Trieste, in North Beach, San Francisco, says it became the first espresso coffee house on the West Coast when it opened in 1956. (Christopher Reynolds/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

Christopher Reynolds/TNS

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Caffe Trieste

This San Francisco establishment has been around since 1956, touting itself as the very first espresso coffee house on the West Coast. From famous poets and artists to musicians and beatniks, the cafe has hosted celebrities and locals alike and is a beloved historic spot in North Beach. (There’s even a claim that Cafe Trieste is where Francis Ford Coppola reportedly worked on the script of “The Godfather.”) Come here for classic Italian-style brews, light bites and delicious pastries. Stay for the atmosphere, to admire the old photos of notable guests and family and to enjoy one of the most iconic cafes in the city.

Find it: Caffe Trieste, 601 Vallejo St., San Francisco, CA 94133; 415-392-6739

Sextant Coffee, in San Francisco's SoMa district, is especially popular with office workers who need an afternoon pick-me-up. 

Sextant Coffee, in San Francisco’s SoMa district, is especially popular with office workers who need an afternoon pick-me-up. 

Sextant Coffee Roasters via Yelp

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Sextant Coffee

Founded by Kinani Ahmed in 2014, Sextant works directly with farmers across Ethiopia (where Ahmed is from), Kenya, Colombia and more to highlight the most flavorful coffees worldwide. Named after “sextant” — a tool sailors use to navigate and a means of how coffee was first transported out of Africa — all of the beans are roasted in the city. From espresso drinks like the Frosty Gandhi, made with peppermint and espresso, to a chai and milk, to cold brews and pour overs, Sextant is elevating the standards for coffee in the city.

Find it: Sextant Coffee, 1415 Folsom St., San Francisco, CA 94103; 415-355-1415

Farley’s

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Since 1989, this coffee shop and neighborhood hangout has been offering magazines and games to its guests while also hosting fun events like pet parades during Halloween or bagpipes on St. Patrick’s Day. With its focus on live music, artwork from local artists featured throughout the store and its commitment to supporting local nonprofits, Farley’s prides itself on being a hub of the community. When it comes to coffee, the shop serves ethically sourced and locally roasted brews alongside a range of espresso drinks, including a lavender honey latte, maple latte and coffee classics.

Find it: Farley’s, 1315 18th St., San Francisco, CA 94107; 415-648-1545

In addition to an extensive coffee menu, Excelsior serves a wide selection of pastries made with purple ubu, a type of yam popular in Filipino food.

In addition to an extensive coffee menu, Excelsior serves a wide selection of pastries made with purple ubu, a type of yam popular in Filipino food.

Ann S. via Yelp

Excelsior Coffee

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Opened in 2019 by Lea Sabado and Andre Higgenbotham in the city’s Excelsior neighborhood, Excelsior Coffee is a unique community spot that’s proud to be part of what it calls an “immigrant, working class stronghold.” As minority business owners, Sabado and Higgenbotham seek to elevate the area’s coffee culture while furthering Excelsior’s sense of community. The duo have been making a splash with the cafe’s electrifying decor which includes actual motorcycles, biker and car photos and unique art. In addition to pour overs, cold brews and other classics on the menu, Excelsior offers unique drinks like a Horchata Latte and a variety of pastries and baked goods, including those made with ube (purple yam). 

Find it: Excelsior Coffee, 4495 Mission St., San Francisco, CA 94112; 415-347-7333

Linea Caffe

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Linea Caffe’s mission has always been to protect the planet. With that, it only partners with organic coffee farmers, producers and importers who take environmental ethics seriously. At its Potrero Hill and Mission District locations, Linea serves 100% organic and biodynamic coffees and roasts its beans in the city. Founded by Andrew Barnett, founder of Ecco Caffe and a one-time judge at the World Barista Championship, Linea offers a straightforward coffee menu alongside a rotating selection of fresh Dynamo Donuts. 

Mission District Cafe, 3417 18th St.  San Francisco, CA 94110
Roastery/Cafe, 1125 Mariposa St., San Francisco, CA 94107

Mazarine Coffee

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Inspired by the Bibliothèque Mazarine, a centuries-old library in France, this 1,500-square-foot Financial District coffee shop offers a selection of specialty beans from all over the world, featured in its drip and pour-over coffees. Mazarine is a sleek, well-designed cafe with lots of outlets for those who want to get some work done. Beans are sourced from Ethiopia, Peru and beyond; and their menu includes nitro cold brews and signature drinks like the Raf, an espresso with half and half, cane sugar and cinnamon. For those in need of a bite, Mazarine also offers a selection of upscale toasts, salads and sandwiches along with signature snacks like its house-made Liege waffle.

Beverages served at the Coffee Movement in San Francisco, Calif.

Beverages served at the Coffee Movement in San Francisco, Calif.

Mary L. via Yelp

The Coffee Movement

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Inspired by the immersive coffee culture in Sydney, Australia, Bryan Overstreet opened The Coffee Movement in 2014. While you can choose from a selection of classic coffees on the menu, the cafe also offers tasting flights, giving you the chance to try three quality coffees or one coffee prepared three different ways. The Coffee Movement also offers rotating seasonal drinks like its Orange Cream Latte made with espresso, milk and house-made vanilla syrup infused with orange zest, or its Coffee Cream Soda made with espresso, tonic, orange zest, vanilla bean and coconut whipped cream. 

This story was edited by Hearst Newspapers Managing Editor Kristina Moy; you can contact her at [email protected].

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