Four Barrel

Kiya had quite the day planned for us, and it went something like this: Coffee. Driving. Beer. Coffee. Driving. Beer. He and Demitra picked us up at 8:15, swearing that the surprisingly blustery weather would let up as soon as we got out of the city, but before we could get there, we needed coffee.

Four Barrel Coffee
Photo by Scott Beale / Laughing Squid

Four Barrel Coffee is seriously intense. Located in a former Hell’s Angels clubhouse, Four Barrel features the sort of custom work that indicates they’re seriously intense about their coffee. For example, this beautiful piece of equipment sits on a table that can be raised, lowered, or rotated 180 degrees depending on the height and preferred working location of the barista:

Four Barrel's custom-designed three-group La Marzocco Mistral
Photo by Premshree Pillai

There’s a separate counter exclusively for pour-over coffees:

Four Barrel Coffee
Photo by niallkennedy

And on the other side of the main counter is the roasting equipment. I wish I could tell you specifically which coffees we tried, but remembering things that happened before I’ve had coffee can be difficult. I can, however, tell you that our Dynamo donuts were a real knockout. I had the chocolate spice – a doughy chocolate donut with cinnamon and chipotle – and Shane had the orange blossom, which rated as the highlight of the day for him, despite the rest of the culinary adventures to follow. If we could merge the flavor and character of these donuts with the crispity crunch of Washtenaw Dairy donuts, well, we’d both weigh 400 pounds.

probat, macc, dynamo
Photo by tonx

Four Barrel embodies the “Unplug, Drink, Go” approach to coffeeshops recently described in the New York Times. There’s seating, but it’s not super comfortable. There are tables, but they’re not wide enough for your laptop and books and stuff. Which works out well, because there are no outlets for your laptop anyway. What’s that on the wall? That’s a stenciled-on outlet. Just try to plug in your laptop.

Fully caffeinated, we hopped in the car and headed to Russian River – but that’s a story for another post.


If you go:
Four Barrel Coffee
375 Valencia St (between 14th & 15th)
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 252-0800

Have a donut and an espresso and leave happy.

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