Although there were a few possible contenders, Blue Bottle Coffee Company gets the prized status of first entry on this blog. They turned me on to specialty coffee a couple of years ago, long before I even knew the term, and I’ve been a loyal drinker ever since.
I first tasted BBCC at the San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market. I had read about their coffee and their hyper fresh roasted coffee philosophy in a food magazine and was eager to give it a try. I think I ordered a drip cup of the Bella Donovan, but I can’t be sure. I took my first sip.
It seems to me now in retrospect one of those funny moments, like meeting a celebrity before he gets famous or possibly like meeting a celebrity without really knowing he’s famous. It makes for a good story and a fantastic memory but the experience itself is a little subdued and not all that meaningful. As I took that first sip I think the thing that was most front and center on my mind was that I had just paid $2 for a 12 oz cup of coffee – it had better be good. If I only I could travel back to meet my foolish, naïve self and tell him that in just a couple of years, he’d pay $30/pound without batting and eye.
The coffee was good, but I think the true complexity of the taste and amazement of that eye-opening experience didn’t really hit until I ordered that second cup a couple of weeks later, and then a few weeks later and then the next week and the next week.
BBCC can be a little difficult to find. The only place open all the time is their Hayes Valley kiosk which is difficult to find and not so easy for parking. I frequent BBCC at the Temescal Farmer’s market but you can also find them a the Berkeley and SF Ferry Plaza Farmers market. You can also find their beans at various restaurants and cafes around San Francisco and the East Bay.
By now, I’ve worked my way through most of their beans. Thus far, I stand firmly by their Three Africans, Bella Donovan and the Chiapas and would give strong seconds to the Purosa (it seems a little erratic) and Giant Steps. They also pull an amazing shot of espresso – dark and pleasantly bitter – which I usually drink as a cappuccino or macchiato.