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Sightglass Coffee

4.5 star rating
based on 57 reviews

Category: Coffee & Tea  [Edit]

Neighborhood: SOMA
270 7th Street
(between Howard St & Folsom St)
San Francisco, CA 94103
Hours:

Mon-Sun. 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Accepts Credit Cards:
Yes
Price Range:
$$
Parking:
Street
Wheelchair Accessible:
Yes
Outdoor Seating:
Yes
Wi-Fi:
No
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"This is my happy place... the place I go to when: 1. I want to tune the world out and tune myself in 2. I want to stare into wide open…" read more »

57 reviews for Sightglass Coffee

Review Highlights   What's this?

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"For an overall great experience, I personally loved Sight Glass." (in 4 reviews)
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"Bluebottle was one of the places we re-tried as well as Four Barrel Coffee." (in 7 reviews)
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"NOT better than Blue Bottle." (in 15 reviews)
Rating Distribution | Trend
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Photo of S L.

 

44

42

S L.

San Francisco, CA

5 star rating
2/4/2010

Walking to the Hall of Justice for jury duty has given me the opportunity to find hidden gems in SoMa.  Such as the coffee bar hidden in the picture on the right.  Do you see it?  Look within that warehouse being remodeled, behind that yellow van.  Ah, there it is.  SightGlass!  I walked by this area and saw all kinds of signs saying SightGlass, but I thought it was some kind of glass shop, until I finally took a good look inside.

The scene:

A full coffee bar, a standing table, and one bench are all that make up the current SightGlass coffee bar.  There's always a few people waiting in line or hanging out on the bench.  Behind the bar is a bunch of curtains covering something going on in the back.  Next to the bench is more curtained off areas where you can hear all kinds of construction going on.  I overheard them talking about remodeling the area for where the actual coffee shop is going to be.  This must be their way of making money during the remodel to make up some of the costs.

The food:

I decided to order the Spice Infused Iced Tea. It was a nice and relatively warm day, although it's been raining all week.  The cup was pretty small, and the coffee was stronger than the watery Starbucks substance I normally get at work.  The Spices were definitely very fragrant.  I recommend adding some creamer in it.  It came out to be $3.

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Photo of William Robert . Billy BoB x.

 

0

10

William Robert . Billy BoB x.

San Francisco, CA

1 star rating
1/31/2010

***********DO NOT PATRONIZE************
These stuffy poser windbags will find no place in SOMA.
Thier richy rich additude and arrogant better than tho additude radiates from them. The girl is very nice tho.
However adverage run o the mill coffee cannot merit going here.
I mean letting the roaster sit uncovered in the middle of a construction zone?
No saftely glasses or hard hats.
Really they have an uptown additude better suited for LA.
For me the roaster being uncovered in a construction zone is a red flag.
I guess they have enough freinds to stay in business....
Howevevr SOMA material they are not.
Freindly not really
Long suffering hardly
Professional if they feel like it.
**********DO NOT PATRONIZE***********

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Photo of Marc S.

 

8

41

Marc S.

San Francisco, CA

5 star rating
1/25/2010

This place does great coffee.

On my last visit (over a month ago), they had not yet got their own coffee roaster up and running, it's an impressive looking restored vintage German roaster from the 1960's.

Apparently those old machines are the best since the huge solid cast iron drum allows for even roasting, and they don't make them like they used to!

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Photo of Jaime Patricio M.

Elite '10

57

537

Jaime Patricio M.

San Francisco, CA

4 star rating
1/17/2010

Sightglass is a what SoMA needed; an avant garde coffee house--simple menu and outstanding roasting profile of coffee.  Simplicity and individual drip per order.  The roasting profile is medium-dark a nice profile to enjoy the bean you select (if you are having a coffee); the beans are not charred or overly roasted but balanced and give an outstanding veritas per ordered coffee.  

I enjoy the minimalism of the space and look forward to seeing the building out and completion of gallery.

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Photo of Ed U.

Elite '10

1039

1283

Ed U.

San Francisco, CA

4 star rating
1/4/2010 7 photos

Color me embarrassed as I wasn't even aware that Sightglass existed for the past seven months, and I live close by...very close by. Not next door but close enough to realize I must not be walking the block very often. Anyhow, on the way to Rocco's for breakfast with Jamie W., I was a little miffed to see a porta-potty on the sidewalk. As I was about to turn my head to give a good glare to whomever was in charge of the construction site, there it was, a coffee bar.

Glory be. They offer a small menu of coffee both from their industrial-strength GS2 espresso machine and through one of those Chemex hourglass coffee makers. I sat down on one of their benches and had a very small cup of the Macchiato for $2.50 (see photo). I was encouraged to have it on the premises since I assumed they didn't carry paper cups. It was a strong brew but tasty. Since Jamie is not a coffee drinker, I think he may have been tapping his foot and asking the barista how business was.

Apparently, there will be a full-fledged roastery in the excavated warehouse that required the porta-potty. It didn't feel like it was going to be ready soon (see photo), but who knows? Maybe the city planning commission is on the ball on this one. Oh, who am I kidding? Not Blue Bottle. Not Stumptown. Not Philz. But certainly a good enough brew for my unsophisticated caffeine palate. I'll just keep quiet and sit on this little bench for now.

COFFEE - 4 stars...a nice little cup of macchiato...key word is little
AMBIANCE - 3 stars...under construction...but there is a bench...and a porta-potty after all
SERVICE - 3.5 stars... a nice barista
TOTAL - 4 stars...nice to know a cup of joe can be had so close to home

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Elite '10

1344

732

Genevieve Y.

San Francisco, CA

5 star rating
12/21/2009 8 photos

Date & Time:  Monday December 21, 2009 @ 10:30am
Crowd:  Hipsters
Vibe:  Chill
Decor:  Industrial Coffee Stand & Bench in Glass Shop
Service:  Attractive Barista
Imbibe:  Malted Chocolate Mocha & 1950 Blend(70% Rwanda, 30%  Ethiopia & Malted Milk Chocolate)
Total:  $7

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Photo of Katherine B.

 

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245

Katherine B.

San Francisco, CA

5 star rating
1/10/2010

Really good coffee. It is so super hip right now - until February when they expand and begin roasting their own beans.

The coolest part about it is the technology for credit card usage and what that is doing for small businesses. Check it out - ever swiped your check card on an iphone? Pretty snazzy and SO 2010.

Plus they make those little foam designs in mere seconds. Watch out!

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Photo of megan w.

 

394

733

megan w.

San Francisco, CA

5 star rating
12/10/2009 1 photo

The cold-steeped, spice-infused iced is the new blue bottle new orleans iced. Because it is hella tasty and 2/3 the price.

Share a chemex pot "between lovers," and pay with The Future.

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Photo of judith m.

 

3

12

judith m.

San Francisco, CA

3 star rating
2/11/2010

On my way to Blue Bottle, I saw the sign at the corner. I  stopped there because I was late for work and I knew the BB line would be too long at that time in the morning. I was greeted nicely and received my latte pretty quickly. Latte was right temperature, maybe not as strong as BB's, definitely smaller than BB's, but tasty...I'll definitely continue to go there, especially after 8:30 since BB's is usually packed by then.

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Photo of Sarah K.

Elite '10

123

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Sarah K.

San Francisco, CA

3 star rating
1/13/2010

a bench, a coffee stand, a glass factory.

the coffee is awesome
you select it by the "nose"
a tiny tea cup or a pot to share
a cute smile from the sweet hipster barista

no hardhats necessary.

I can't wait to come when it's complete! If the coffee is any indication, I'll be changing jobs to be sure this is on my morning route.

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Photo of david t.

 

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19

david t.

Fremont, CA

2 star rating
1/24/2010

Sorry, The cold-steeped, spice-infused iced is NOT the new blue bottle new orleans iced.  My coworker said it's 2/3 the price cause it's 2/3 the size.  

Its in the middle of being renovated, but with the little space they got right now there's some nice accoutrements regarding atmosphere, without a doubt it'll be a great place to loiter when everything is complete.  And yes, paying by iphone is fancy smancy.

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Photo of Zac H.

Elite '10

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226

Zac H.

San Francisco, CA

4 star rating
12/10/2009

I saw Shightglass on my morning commute yesterday and scrounged up the change this morning so I wouldn't miss it today. I want to start by saying that I set the bar high this morning with my own fitercone individually dripped cup of Stumptown that I lovingly cradled with me all the way back from Portland. That said, Sightglass ran a pretty good cup of coffee from a chemex hourglass.

While still under construction at the moment (and I think still not roasting their own beans yet) they manage to brave the cold from the roll up door and whip out decent caffeine. I wasn't disappointed, but not completely bowled over either. Maybe San Francisco is starting to get spoiled. I just wish they had been open when I lived a block away.

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Photo of helen t.

Elite '10

101

923

helen t.

Mountain View, CA

4 star rating
2/1/2010

came in early on a sunday morning, so it was quiet.  the server recommended the cappuccino, so i took her suggestion.  they only use whole or soy milk, so i got it w/ soy.  the coffee was small, but it was delicious and smooth.  i liked it so much that i made my hubby go get a cup hours later so he could try it as well.

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Photo of erica f.

Elite '10

187

116

erica f.

Los Angeles, CA

5 star rating
12/1/2009 3 photos

I didn't drink coffee until I was 23 years old.

I distinctly remember sitting at a cafe in Milan waiting for a train. My first espresso wasn't inspired by fatigue or boredom. My first coffee was a result of a long conversation with a passionate barista. (He was passionate about coffee, not about me.)

I sat with him for a full 20 minutes chatting in broken italian about the art of coffee- before I ever had a drop. He spoke of procuring the beans, transporting the beans, the roasting process and fhe final step: roasted bean to grinder to espresso machine to cup.  From what I gathered, even if you did steps 1-3 perfectly everything could go wrong in step 4.  (Which seemed obvious at the time becuase step 4 actually appeared to be 4 additional steps all jammed into 1) In any case, 100's of espressos later, I see Marco was indeed correct.

The person  (I've only ever seen one official representative at any given time)  at Sight Glass does it all so well, with ease and grace. And in the whole process they are the equivalent of the latte art or possibly the foam-- something crucial but at the end the culmination of a series of efforts.  Not to worry. whoever is behind the scenes doing the rest of the work is also doing their job. Good bean choice-- good roasting. Actually you can see the roaster if you peak behind the curtain. It is a massive dinosaur straight out of cold war Germany. And you think I'm kidding. I've heard they had that puppy shipped over.

I'm a fan of Sightglass. And I give them extra points for their quirky throwback name, their muddy brown colored cups and their lack of pretention-- for the time being their operation consists of coffee cart attached to a large (at the time) empty space on a street of no particular interest in SOMA.

I'll be sure to come back and visit next time I'm home.

P.S Intelligentsia, don't be upset. I still love you more.

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Photo of Michael C.

 

0

10

Michael C.

San Francisco, CA

5 star rating
2/5/2010

I discovered this joint walking to the Hall of Justice for jury duty, too... as did others on my jury. I would have gone nuts without that little cup of ambrosia to take the edge off the robbery-murder trial.  The Chemex-brewed drip coffee is great. I picked up a bag of beans to use at home in my espresso machine, and they're great, too.  Can't wait for the construction to finish--this will definitely become a regular spot for long lunches.

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Photo of Che G.

 

0

8

Che G.

San Francisco, CA

3 star rating
12/7/2009

Ha. Ok, so I was all excited about this place PRIOR to going here. I heard very good things about Sightglass Coffee. I thought, that they served their OWN coffee that they roasted on site. NOT the case. They serve Verve Coffee from Santa Cruz. They have a roaster on site but dont roast...haha. Lame. NOT better than Blue Bottle. I purchased a Soy Cap and the foam was great, great shot, but very weak. Coffee is great but also weak. Maybe once they start roasting their own, I will go back.
Thier name implies that they are their own coffee roaster "Sightglass coffee and roaster" nope.
Maybe they should change their name to Sightglass Cafe!
Dont get me wrong, Verve is great coffee, but made weak here. That is why i gave 3 stars...

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Photo of Al S.

Elite '10

113

120

Al S.

Mission Viejo, CA

5 star rating
10/13/2009

Bean there......... LOVED IT! Sight Glass will, in my opinion, grow into one of the more notable coffee roasteries and retail coffee merchants in the Bay Area and the West Coast.

On my way from Sacramento this AM, and on my way to the San Jose area, I made it a point to stop in the SOMA district and visit Sight Glass. I first heard about Jason and Jerad's operation through one of my coffee websites. Actually, they received publicity for receiving one of the first "Slayer 2-group Espresso Machines." I went to their website and read all about their new coffee venture.

If you're going to be in the San Francisco area, you'll have some notable espresso shops to visit; including Blue Bottle, Four Barrel, and Sight Glass. For an overall great experience, I personally loved Sight Glass. I believe I was there for about an hour, chatting with the brothers, the barista, and drinking in the newness of what I know will someday soon be a "Must Stop and Try" destination for any coffeegeek.

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Photo of Johan M.

 

30

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Johan M.

San Francisco, CA

5 star rating
10/28/2009

Best place since in northern california after Temple in Sacramento (I know right)

been looking for good strong coffee forever! :)

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Photo of Anthony H.

 

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Anthony H.

Berkeley, CA

5 star rating
12/28/2009

I love this place. The coffee is great. My favorite - Baby Caps! When the build-out of the actual cafe is finished this will be the place to meet for coffee and relax. Owners and staff are really nice and friendly. Would recommend to anyone.

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Photo of Nori L.

 

1

22

Nori L.

San Francisco, CA

5 star rating
1/6/2010

I've been a tea drinker most of my life but after drinking sightglass coffee, I'm loving coffee again! Service is great. The brothers are very friendly. And I keep comparing other coffees I drink to their's. That's certainly a good thing.

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Photo of Tom T.

 

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58

Tom T.

San Francisco, CA

4 star rating
10/29/2009

Why weren't they open when I lived a block away and had to commute just to get a good cup of coffee?  

Awesome Chemex into a glass pitcher process that yields a really decent cup of coffee, especially at only $2.  If it was a biiiit stronger this would be a 5 star revue.  I'm sure they'll get there.

Also, great service.  The lady who served me my coffee was really nice, conversational and all that jazz.  It's rad to get a good cup of coffee without the 'i am a barista with an espress tattoo and you should be so lucky as to have this latte' attitude.  

Go here.

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Photo of Caroline Q.

 

10

59

Caroline Q.

Reno, NV

4 star rating
9/25/2009

As I mentioned in my Blue Bottle review, I enjoy a hot, bold, smooth cup of coffee each morning.  This past weekend my friend and I did a taste test of three coffee places (a tall cup of drip coffee), Sightglass was included.  Bluebottle was one of the places we re-tried as well as Four Barrel Coffee.  

My second choice out of the three was Sightglass.  I felt the coffee was a wee-tad weaker than Bluebottle and I like my coffee strong, as I typically only have one cup a day.  I would definitely recommend this place to others, as well as par-taking in a taste test, as it allows you to truly figure out the best coffee in the city.

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Photo of Rose c.

 

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Rose c.

San Francisco, CA

5 star rating
12/28/2009

Amazing. Let me explain. I live in Inner Richmond area...Go to school in Soma 5 days a week. I drive to Sightglass on my days off. I hate DRIVING...but I LOVE this COFFEE. Its amazing. The flavors that they say are going to be there, actually are there. The strawberry infused coffee I had the other day was soooo tasty. They also have some great chocolates for sale there....never too busy, always friendly, consistently good coffee. Loves it...I never hopped on the blue bottle train but for those of you who did, try this...its cute and trendy just like your spot but without the burnt taste....come on I know you've tasted it. Give Sightglass a try, you'll be coming on your days off too.

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Photo of T O.

 

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32

T O.

Denver, CO

2 star rating
11/4/2009

My wife and I went out of our way to try Sightglass based on the Yelp reviews and were sadly disappointed. The location is in transition and will probably be very nice in the future, but right now it's just an espresso stand. This review in no way reflects the setting since I know that it is not permanent and I don't want to knock them while they get their location set up properly.

We were pleased by the service of the barista during our visit and the crema looked very appetizing in our americanos, but that is where our good experience changed. The coffee tasted very watery especially since our americanos were only in 8 or 10 oz cups (I can't remember exactly). They were the same size that Blue Bottle offers, but were just not even close to as good as BB. They of course were better than Starbucks, but not nearly as good as Peet's. My wife really disliked the taste of the coffee and had trouble finishing hers.

I wish we had found something great with Sightglass, but this place just doesn't do it for us. We drink ridiculous amounts of coffee all over the world and would not rank this place highly on our list.

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Photo of Jared B.

 

1

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Jared B.

San Francisco, CA

5 star rating
11/16/2009

Have been going here a few times a week for the past month. Hands down the best coffee Ive ever had.

I dont drink coffee black but their coffee is so good, I drink it black because putting anything in it would dilute the incredible flavors you get in their coffees. Yes the cups are small, but the coffee is very strong and this one size cup is all you need to get your morning going.

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Elite '10

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albion r.

Oakland, CA

4 star rating
10/13/2009

Delicious.
Lush and slightly sweet from the whole milk.
Short and strong.

Friendly counterstaff.

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Photo of theresa d.

 

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theresa d.

Daly City, CA

5 star rating
9/4/2009

The Hooker's* are a little bit pricey, but worth every penny! So grab a box to go along with you coffee.

*Sea salted Dark Chocolate Covered Caramels

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Photo of Lexi B.

 

6

5

Lexi B.

San Francisco, CA

4 star rating
12/29/2009

I love their coffee.  Their service is great.  Their location is interesting.  My biggest complaint is that their servings seem small to me, yet are the same price as other coffee places.  Maybe I am missing something?

They do have the BEST Mocha's in town.  Not too sweet with a smooth chocolate and coffee blend.

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Photo of Danielle W.

 

6

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Danielle W.

Seattle, WA

5 star rating
9/1/2009

As my boyfriend and I planned a trip to San Fransisco, he knew he wanted to try some of the coffee.

Well, upon a recommendation from a friend, we stumbled upon Sight Glass, which ended up being his absolute favorite coffee in the city! (Mine too!) Plus, they have a Slayer (which means nothing to me, but is super cool and awesome in the coffee/barista world)

Nothing short of perfect! I got a baby latte and my boyfriend got a macchiato and a couple espressos. All of our drinks were made to perfection.

And...What a lovely bunch of people running this place! Totally nice every time, and we visited 3 times during our 5-day trip.

I can't wait to come back!

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Photo of D. Heather H.

 

0

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D. Heather H.

San Francisco, CA

5 star rating
9/16/2009

First sip, and I was hooked!  
I walk by on my way to/from work, and have been quite curious, but never had cash on me.  Finally stopped in this morning (only to discover they take plastics- huzzah!), and it was an instant addiction.
Simple menu with an excellent base selection.  Simple decor (but VERY well thought out- it just works).  Guy at the counter was very nice, and made an excellent macchiato.  Plus- the giant machines are fun to look at!
I'll be back every morning that I can afford too.

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Photo of megan k.

 

1

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megan k.

San Francisco, CA

5 star rating
8/31/2009

Best cappuccino I've ever had, hands down... would definitely say they are better than blue bottle.

So glad to have this place right around the corner from work.

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Photo of Ambere S.

 

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Ambere S.

San Francisco, CA

5 star rating
8/31/2009

I find it interesting that I found this interesting coffee spot through one of my various SF Happenings email lists.  It's an interesting find because the spot is literally around the corner from where I have dwelled for the past three years.  Around a corner I hardly tread, but even so.

Currently SightGlass is merely a kiosk of coffee offerings here in SoMa with plans to expand into the currently storage filled space immediately next door.  They are roasting their beans at a "friend's" roastery in Santa Cruz and seem enthused, if understatedly so, about the expansion and ability to roast their own in house.

They serve their coffee in one size and one size only.  with no plans to offer any variety, at least when it comes to this aspect, in the future.  Their thimble sized cups left me quizzical, because I , like many, have grown accustomed to a hefty sized cup while wandering around the city in the early morning hours.  This cup is just, well, unimpressive.

But appearances can be deceiving.

I asked for an explanation of the different drip cup offerings and went with the one described by one of the owners as "blueberry Pancake" in flavor.  Subtle, fresh, aromatic.  Yum.

With Vega just opened about a block away and Wicked about to open in a week, I have to wonder at all this coffee brew-ha-ha here in SoMa. But SightGlass is definitely keeping the SoMa standard high.

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Elite '10

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Seong P.

San Francisco, CA

5 star rating
11/3/2009

The Guatemalan was fantastic.  I'm not sure I tasted all the undertones in the description but it was powerful and effective.

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Photo of Dave K.

 

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Dave K.

Sausalito, CA

5 star rating
7/1/2009

Damn, I got beat to the punch.

While this place is still a work in progress, it is nothing short of amazing for what is to come. I stumbled upon the joint while walking in SoMA, and so happens it is owned by brothers.

Justin and Jerad are working there butts off  down there to make this the ultimate coffee roaster house, with a refined, and educated setting. They don't want you to come just to buy there coffee, they want you to learn, and understand it.

More to come, as it comes, but till then, stop in and have an amazing cup of joe!

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5

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Stephen R.

San Francisco, CA

5 star rating
7/29/2009

I'm moving to this neighborhood and heard that the Four Barrel brothers of Blue Bottle roasting fame were onto their next project, Sightglass coffee on 7th St.  What a welcome addition to the hood!

I had an Ethiopian drip coffee made in a Chemex, and despite the small serving size, it was a deliciously tangy cup.  My loud and boisterous friend had an elegantly pulled cappuccino which he enjoyed while the owners humored his wild diatribes.   They were polite and courteous and seemed like they hoped to build a friendly atmosphere.  

Right now the space is just an open garage door with a fashionable bar that fits a 70s-retro espresso machine.  But a peek around the curtain to their roast machine unveils a lofty wooden space into which they plan to expand.

For now you can take your coffee "for here" and use a bench or shelf to relax against.  For later, I can only hope that Sight Glass expands with the same quality, friendliness and nonchalant attitude missing from the other micro-roast-houses in The City.

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David G.

San Francisco, CA

5 star rating
10/15/2009

Stopped into look at some paint across the street and noticed two lads making coffee in a rather industrial looking space. Intrigued, across the street I walked and had one of the best lattes I've ever tried. Yummy!

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Jonathan H.

San Francisco, CA

5 star rating
8/1/2009

Another reviewer nailed it in saying this place epitomizes the SOMA vibe... Chill and understated but with an undercurrent of absolute awesomeness.

The place is still under renovations so when you walk through the "front door" you are going to see a bare bones set up carved out of a front corner of the actual space, which is tarped off...

But that basically makes it all the much cooler because it speaks to the fact that it's really the coffee that matters, and it is indeed the best I've had in the city.

The place is gonna be HUGE! It will definitely be a go-to spot for weekend wifi work sessions and the like.

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b s.

San Francisco, CA

5 star rating
7/31/2009

This is the best coffee hands down I've had. I'm going to have to go back and downgrade all my other coffee reviews based on the delicious treats handed out here. Justin was working the counter and answered all of my annoying questions with a smile- and then rewarded me with a latte from heaven.

Can't wait until they can do their own roasting...

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Photo of Ari M.

 

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Ari M.

San Francisco, CA

4 star rating
9/28/2009

My first Slayer experience. ;-)  I thought the espresso was very good, but not as great as most Yelpers seemed to think -- slight bit too burnt/ashy for my taste.  I spoke with the (very friendly) barista, asking her about how the Slayer functions.  She explained all the benefits I read about, and also how complex it is to fine tune.  To mitigate the complexity, she said that the owners set up the pressure profiles, etc. each morning (adjusting for the beans/roast), and she simply pulls the shots the same way each time.  This may explain why I was a bit disappointed with the resulting shot.

According to the Slayer site (http://www.slayerespre...): "It gives you control over pressure in an entirely new and intuitive way.  You can intercede in your shot at any point by changing pressure... It's a machine to prepare artisanal coffee BY HAND. You set those pressure deltas quickly and easily, and you use the machine by watching your shots."  So it seems that Sightglass' configure-once/pull-all-day model is not what the Slayer guys had in mind.  But it's obvious that these guys are serious about their coffee, and I'm hopeful they'll perfect their Slayer pulls in due time.

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Catherine B.

San Francisco, CA

5 star rating
7/6/2009 1 photo

Ahh, fantastic so far! Great coffee, friendly service and amazing future plans. I am a fan already. Way to go, guys!!

Justin and Jerad are true coffee roaster who will be delivering more than a three minute store experience, if you catch my drift.

This will be updated as they build out their space.

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Sightglass Coffee

4_half star rating
based on 57 reviews
270 7th Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
Neighborhood: SOMA