When you live in San Francisco, one of the funniest sights is double-decker buses full of tourists shivering in their short-sleeve shirts. They were promised sunny California — and instead they got Fog City. Not only is our weather moody year round, but the summer is especially bone chilling. Just as tourist season swings into high gear, that famous fog starts rolling in.

But there is a nice side to this unexpected chilly clime: it’s always a good day for a nice cup of coffee. Perhaps that’s why we take our coffee so seriously here. Book a San Francisco vacation package and check out my top four spots to get buzzed.


Bluebottle Coffee Company:

There was a time when scoring a cup of Bluebottle was akin to seeing a blue moon. But thanks to a recent expansion effort, it’s now relatively easy to track down this cult cup of joe. In addition to a kiosk in the charming neighborhood of Hayes Valley (worth the trip if you have the time), you can now visit their permanent location in the Ferry Building, our gourmet food hall. If you have time, go to the SoMa cafe, where you’ll find the most expensive piece of coffee-making equipment in the U.S. Wait in the long line (it’s rain or shine, just resign yourself to it) and splurge on a cup of coffee from the Japanese siphon bar. Many say this is the finest cup of coffee you can have in the nation.

Ritual Coffee Roasters:

Enjoy your sip with a side of hip. This cafe is situated in the heart of the gritty-and-glamorous Mission neighborhood. Like Bluebottle, they roast their own beans and the emphasis here is on the origin of the beans–which means no blends. Order an expertly made latte, grab a table, and camp out for an hour to observe the local hipsters.

Four Barrel Coffee:

When I’m looking to while away a few hours on my laptop, Four Barrel is my go-to spot. With a warm, wood-accented space and delicious artisan sweets from Dynamo Donuts, Four Barrel often serves as my makeshift living room on a foggy Sunday afternoon. If they have the bacon maple donut when you go, be sure to get it. Your life will be changed.

Peet’s Coffee and Tea:

Sure, sure. This is a chain and I can already hear true coffee snobs grumbling a little. But Peet’s was born here — right over the Bay in Berkeley. Though the coffee is not as refined as any of the offerings above, this mini-chain has a loyal following of “Peetniks” and is the perfect alternative to Starbucks. In fact, the founders of Starbucks were great admirers of Peet’s and sought to replicate it.


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