Coffee to the People

Overall Rating: 6.400

Address: 1206 Masonic Ave.
Cross Street(s): Haight St.
City, State ZIP: San Francisco, CA 94117
Neighborhood: Upper Haight
Phone: 415.626.2435
Hours: M-Th 6am-8pm; F 6am-10pm; Sa-Su 7am-8pm
Type of Establishment: Cafe
Cafe Rating: 7.00
Barista: 6
Savvy: 7
Ambiance: 8
Presentation: 7
Consistency: Consistent
Espresso Machine: La Marzocco
Coffee Rating: 5.80
Aroma: 5
Body: 6
Brightness: 6
Crema: 6
Flavor: 6
Taster's Correction: 0.0
Size: M
Primary Taste: Pungent
Coffee Beans: Coffee to the People
Cup Manufacturer: Hall China
Price: $1.80
Last Update: 02/09/2008
First Reviewed: 03/11/2006
Notes: Coffee Sales; Coffee Accessory Sales

This former Holey Bagel shop has earned an extremely loyal (dare I even suggest "partially blind"?) following in the central Haight district. They switched owners in 2007, but the new crew actually took a decent espresso and made it downright pedestrian. On their front door, they have long boasted themselves as the #1 coffee shop in San Francisco - based on Yelp reviewers but more recently as the 2007 AOL Cityguide's best coffeehouse. There's no other word for it than 'preposterous'. It's a huge space, a little on the dingy side, with tables covered in socially conscious stickers and artwork: they know how to play to their customers. There is also a reading library with couches and free WiFi. So of course, there are the usual Haightsters sleeping at tables. They roast their own coffee beans in San Rafael - all Fair Trade and organic, of course, as many of their clientele seem to be single-issue coffee drinkers. (Despite Fair Trade certification?s many flaws, many customers here bestow it with a monopoly on ethical behavior.) They'll even give you a bag of grounds to take home for composting. Using a three-group La Marzocco Linea, they serve espresso with a medium brown, micro-thin crema (it was more substantial under the previous owners). It has a mild flavor of cloves and cumin, but it's not terribly distinct from quality drip coffee - for example, there's no uniqueness to its flavor profile nor special notes like sweetness. Even the aroma suggests a flat, careless espresso. Served in Hall cups. With a loyal following that proves that social activists often let their minds short-circuit their taste buds.