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Electric Cafe

hausfront

Name: Haus (No website yet)
Location: 3082 24th Street, San Francisco, CA
Rating: 4-

One might think that the Mission is starting to get high quality coffee saturated with Ritual, Four Barrel, Coffee Bar, and the many wholesale customer who purvey these fine coffees. You’d probably be right, but it’s not as though every corner has one of these shops and rarely do the offshoots do as well as the originals. Besides, distance matters and you may not want to or have time to trek 15 minutes just for coffee.

Enter 24th Street. It’s home to that ever expanding home of dubious coffee quality, Philz, and the nicely designed, but Equator coffee slinging Sugarlump (which I admittedly haven’t yet tried), but 24th Street still lacks a café with seating serving top flight coffee. Just to clarify, I’m not including the Dynamo Donuts here, operating under the belief that its rumored seating section has not opened, but even if it has, Dynamo is far enough east to leave open a niche of good coffee + seating further west. Thank goodness that Haus has finally set up shop.

What Haus does – and it’s not much – it does efficiently. Haus is pure minimalism from its austere, unpainted, bare wood motif, slim selection of pastries and singular espresso and choice of brewed coffee. The key to its success is that it does these few things well. It’s Achilles heal, I suppose, is the risk of conjuring Sprockets-like imagery.

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The space, which I imagine could get quite loud with a crowd, is cool and edgy. It’s somehow also still a pleasing place to sit, especially on sunny days with lots of natural light from large windows that overlook busy 24th street up front and an unfinished patio area out back. The three group La Marzocco GB/5 is positively gleaming on it’s bare wood and black marble counter, yet it blends cleanly with the grey, concrete floors.

What I think makes Haus so interesting and well worth checking out is their multi-roaster approach. The specifics are still subject to change as the owners settle into a routine (they were open only a couple of weeks during my first visit), but the current menu involves shots of Ritual’s seasonal espresso and French Pressed coffee from De La Paz (stored in an airpot but frequently replenished). Haus also sells a small number of regularly rotating De La Paz and Ritual beans. This multi-roaster approach both gives customers a broad range of options and a something you can’t get even at the roaster’s own cafe. Haus, of course, is taking a slimmed down approach compared to Cafe Grumpy or Billy Wilson’s Barista, who provide a coffees from several different, often rotating, roasters.

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The French Press selection on my visit was De La Paz’s Sumatra Gayoland. It was rich, creamy, dark, herbal and slightly roasted nutty. All in all, a very pleasing, if not particularly exciting cup of coffee.

The espresso, Ritual’s St. Clementine blend, was very fruity and bright, especially up front. There was lots of citrus and a touch of berry in this medium to light bodied espresso that didn’t have a lot of depth, but still worked on the whole, especially given its slightly buttery mouthfeel. The mottled and slightly bubbly crema signaled a mixed bag that ended up quite positive.

Just to compare, I also stopped by Ritual, immediately afterward, for a quick shot of the same. Honestly, I liked the espresso from Haus better, as Ritual’s tended towards wine-like and deep where Haus’ stayed bright and perky. Of course, this outcome could likely change on any given day, with a given barista and particular espresso blend. I should not that since this visit, both cafes have shifted over to Ritual’s next seasonal espresso – the Hopscotch – leaving the whole experiment open to be repeated by you.

So the bottom line, it seems, is that the Mission is not yet fully saturated with Ritual or De La Paz providers so long as they keep thinking of novel ways to present themselves as Haus has successfully done.

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6 comments to Electric Cafe

  • I’m not that impressed with Ritual either, its bland and weak.

  • daniel

    hey Christian
    what is wrong with Philz? very curious :-)

  • Troy

    Thanks for this tip. I’m always looking for new places that serve quality espresso and are still relatively undiscovered so i can enjoy in relative peace. Haus came thru. I could actually read a book in there (unlike Ritual). It was a lovely space. Kinda charming how little food there was– and h ow thrown together the menu seemd. It was nice that they were making an effort with some non-fattening items (bananas) too.

    Keep ‘em coming…

  • I think you’re taking away the wrong message. I like Ritual quite a bit, as is evidenced by my reviews of their Valencia and Flora Grubb cafes. And I’d hardly describe their coffee as bland and weak. My point was merely that Haus is doing a fine job and that on any given day, even Ritual can be a tad off. Of course, you’re entitled to your opinion – it’s just certainly not mine. Then again, was this merely a plug for your blog?

  • I’d first of all point you towards my earlier review (the link is embedded above). That should mostly answer your question although I would say that my earlier review was pretty generous in the rating. I would need to make a more thorough investigation before I could say for sure though.

    In short, I’d say my biggest beef is the lack of transparency or the “mystique” around Philz’s coffee. Contrary to most high quality coffee purveyors in today’s market, Philz has bucked the trend by keeping the coffees he uses completely secret and telling the customer little to none about the coffees themselves. But just as important, what Philz primarily serves is really a form of coffee drink with lots of cream and sugar even if it is brewed as a pour over. Fine, but nothing special in terms of coffee and somewhat steep in price compared to other places that also offer pour over. Also, the 24th street store, in particular, is certainly not even close to comparable to a place like Haus in terms of design and aesthetic. Hmmm, perhaps a re-review is in order.

  • Of course, I was in there the other day and every table was filled. So it may only be a matter of time!

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