Frog Hollow Farm

Overall Rating: 7.750

Address: 1 Ferry Building
Cross Street(s): Embarcadero & Market St.
City, State ZIP: San Francisco, CA 94111
Neighborhood: Embarcadero
Phone: 415.445.0990
Hours: M-F 7am-5pm; Sa 7am-6pm; Su 9am-5pm
Type of Establishment: Bakery
Cafe Rating: 7.20
Barista: 8
Savvy: 8
Ambiance: 5
Presentation: 8
Consistency: Inconsistent
Espresso Machine: La Marzocco
Coffee Rating: 8.30
Aroma: 8
Body: 8
Brightness: 8
Crema: 8
Flavor: 8
Taster's Correction: 1.5
Size: M
Primary Taste: Smoky
Coffee Beans: Alta Organic Coffee & Tea Company
Cup Manufacturer: Espresso Parts
Price: $2.25
Last Update: 04/25/2014
First Reviewed: 10/27/2003
Notes: Coffee Sales; Outdoor Seating

The story of Frog Hollow Farm, located at the rear of the Ferry Building, is a genuinely complicated one. In its 2004 prime, this was home to the best espresso in SF. Opening in Oct. 2003, this outlet for an organic peaches/specialty fruit/pastry business had taken their espresso efforts very seriously: an investment in a shiny new red new La Marzocco FB/70, deluxe wood tampers, Blue Bottle Coffee's first commercial appearance across the Bay Bridge, and barista training from James Freeman of Blue Bottle. In a sense, this caf´┐Ż was SF's first Blue Bottle Coffee even if not in name. But by 2005, as James Freeman had his own designs to open SF coffeeshops under the Blue Bottle name, he pulled out of this location. The espresso immediately went downlhill and continued years of decline from poorly trained baristas, mishandled McLaughlin beans, and thin, watery shots. A measure of salvation came in a management change in Sept. 2009. The new Santa Cruz managers first brought in Verve coffee and barista training, and they offered a solid, two-sip short shot of Sermon blend. But by 2014, the owners replaced Verve (and ACF cups) for another Santa Cruz roaster, Alta Organic (and Espresso Parts cups). The shots here have gone from a medium to a now slightly darker brown, textured crema with a flavor that includes tobacco smoke, some herbs, pepper, and some broader flavor profile notes into a somewhat cohesive blend. They operate two Mazzer grinders (one for decaf) and sell bags of Alta Organic beans. There is also a small seating area of six stools in front.