You’ll often hear the term “hipster” when people are talking about San Francisco. To some, that term has a negative connotation, to others it’s positive. To us, it’s just an easy descriptor for a certain type of style that is common here, and a term we’d use to describe Four Barrel. The second you walk in this place and you feel hip and just a little bit cooler. Maybe it’s the fact that quality coffee has become very popular and Four Barrel is one of the leaders in the SF area. Maybe it’s the clientele, or the people working there. Personally we think it’s because they make some damn good coffee.
The space itself is split between the cafe area in front, and the roasting area in back. The design is that modern rustic feel of which we are big fans . A simple mixture of weathered wood and metal; sparse, but not soulless. Having the roasting done in back is a pretty awesome move in our opinion. Not only is it open so you can see everything going on, but the smell coming out of that place is like heaven in your nose.
They’ve actually split the service area into two bars, one that does espresso based drinks and has snacks, and a station that is solely poured-over drip coffee (which is all the rage these days, but also very good).
The combination of coffee and donuts used to be something different. It used to be a cup of black stuff accompanied by a doughy sugarbomb that covered you in icing. Somewhere in the last few years that combination expanded. While you can still get your gas station coffee and donuts (which is still pretty decent), there’s been a growing trend of gourmet coffee with gourmet donuts. We’ve seen maple bacon donuts, olive oil donuts (no thanks), Turkish coffee, mint coffee, and a plethora of other choices. We’re pretty happy about this trend, and this dish is a good example of why. The chocolate donut (actually made by Dynamo Donuts) is dense and moist, and has a very deep chocolate flavor. It’s sweet, but it’s more of a natural sweetness, not overly sugary. The coffee is very complex (at least to us). Rich, dark, and with a mix of different flavors, it’s quite different from what you would get from a Starbucks. This coffee wears big boy pants and it’s not afraid to show it. When you mix the donut in with the flavors of the coffee and you have yourself a great start to the day.
There are a lot worse ways you can spend your time than going to Four Barrel. If you’re a coffee nut, this is definitely one of the places you want to check out. If you’re not, it’s still pretty cool. We also suggest this place if you’re not in a hurry, because it’s definitely better to take your time and relax here. The only negative is a lack of wifi, which removes the possibility of it being a work space (maybe that’s the goal). Give us caffeine and we are happy, make it really really good, and we are even happier.
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