It wasn’t until I started traveling more that I realized how good the coffee is in San Francisco. I remember the first time I went to Florence, Italy, and dreamed of sipping an espresso by the Arno River. It actually made me miss coffee in SF!
Using this map and the detailed guide below, you can see where the nearest coffee shop is depending on where you end up in San Francisco. Now on to the coffee shops and what to order at each.
Saint Frank Coffee
This place is near and dear to my heart since it was only 3 blocks away from where I lived. It was the perfect place to stop after a workout at Crunch Gym on Polk Street, or a run along the Marina Green. While Saint Frank has some of the best seasonable beverages such as the Spiced Caramel Apple Latte and the Lavendar Honey Latte, they are most known for their Almond Macadamia Milk Latte.
Ritual Coffee Roasters
I always preferred cappuccinos over other kinds of coffee, but Ritual made me appreciate a simple black drip coffee. It’s so good by itself. And you will feel a buzz every single time. Ritual also takes a lot of care in their sourcing and trading practices if that’s important to you as a coffee drinkers. Read more about that here.
Iron Horse Coffee
If you searched Iron Horse Coffee and found Iron Horse Cocktails located at the exact same spot, you’ve found the right place. Iron Horse is a coffee shop by day and cocktail bar by night. I haven’t been for the cocktails yet, but I can tell you the coffee is solid. It’s a favorite because of how close it is to my office but also how tucked away it is in Maiden Lane. I recommend popping by if you’re ever in the area.
There’s multiple Sightglass Coffee locations in San Francisco, and the SOMA one is my favorite. The SOMA shop has a gorgeous, two-level interior, perfect for meeting friends or doing some work (although last I checked it was still BYO Wi-Fi!) They also use Aesop’s hand soap in their bathrooms. Did I convince you to visit yet?
Blue Bottle Coffee
Blue Bottle is an iconic San Francisco coffee shop. There are also multiple Blue Bottles throughout the city, and any one of them will serve you delicious coffee. However, my favorite one is at the Ferry Building along the Embarcadero. The reason? The bonus views of the bay that go along with your cup of hot and steamy cappuccino.
Similar to Iron Horse, I fell in love with Coffee Bar due to its proximity to work. It helped me get by the worst and the best days in the office. I learned about the London Fog – Earl Grey Tea with steamed milk and vanilla – through Coffee Bar and haven’t looked back since. It is still one of my go-tos when I want to take a break from coffee. Aside from the London Fog, they do also make delicious coffee.
Similar to Blue Bottle, Philz is a quintessential San Francisco coffee shop. The very first store that opened on 24th Street in the Mission District is still standing to this day, and its humble, lived-in space makes it all the more worth visiting. What’s special about Philz is that their cream is heavenly, and I’ve heard the secret is butter! For starters, order the Ecstatic or the Mint Mojito.
The Soapbox Cafe
Soapbox Cafe opened only a year or two ago, but it’s already become a favorite of the locals of Russian Hill, and that includes me. Their coffee is solid, and they also have a full breakfast menu and serve delicious Vietnamese food.
The reason I mention Mazarine is because it serves good coffee, and the food is even more drool-worthy. The taste of their Avocado Toast and Fig Jam & Ricotta Toast are still vivid in my mind. It’s near many offices so it’s naturally a busy spot (at least it was pre-Covid times). If you’re in the area, stop by to support them during this time when not many people are spending time in the area!
Home Coffee Roasters
? Home Coffee Roasters
Last but not least, if you’re looking for the most instagrammable coffee shop, Home is the spot to be. Their baristas will turn your coffee into a work of art by doing crazy designs such as a bear and adding loads of color to your coffee it makes you wonder how much sugar is in that thing. And their creations are not only a work of art they taste delicious 🙂
For more tips on instagrammable coffee shops in SF, check out this list by Palm Trees & Pellegrino.
David Rio Chai Bar
This is an honorable mention because it’s not coffee but it is royalty in its own category: Chai. I don’t usually go for Chai, but the Chai at David Rio Chai Bar is so delicious it’s great for beginner Chai drinkers to give the drink a go.
This is THE PLACE to get matcha in San Francisco. Since Stonemill opened in San Francisco, it has been super popular with the locals and the line will easily get long during peak hours. They have a wide selection of matcha drinks, and I’m a big fan of the Sparkling Matcha when it’s hot out and the Matcha Latte for cooler days. Their food is also top notch.
Next time someone asks what city has the best coffee, I hope you think of San Francisco. After all, there are some very talented coffee roasters in this town and it’s not any worse than coffee in Italy.
For more guides on San Francisco, check out my top places for getting takeout.