Ritual Coffee (Flora Grubb Gardens): Alfresco Espresso

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Coffee San Francisco

San Francisco's esteemed Ritual Coffee Roasters opened inside a stylish garden store.

Since 2005, Ritual Coffee has built a reputation for being one of San Francisco’s top roasters, and my experiences have all been fairly positive, well, at least when it comes to what’s in the cup. One thing the Mission District original has not been is welcoming, with blaring music and consistently long lines leading to generally blasé baristas, one of which debated my friend about the definition of “ristretto,” as it related to his unsatisfying espresso shot. The shop is still worth visiting, but with more and more coffee options in San Francisco, less so. However, Ritual does offer an alternative, a casual cafe at flower store southeast of the Mission District, at the Flora Grubb Gardens store.

Garden Store San Francisco

Roll up garage doors welcome people to peruse tables topped with pottery, plants and succulents.

White walls are stenciled with red butterflies and dragonflies. Six finches appear on another wall, on a “limb.” The granite bar accommodates four stools, which overlook. a single barista. During my visit with Matthew “Mattatouille” Kang, the barista was Linda, a gracious host who worked in churn-and-turn Financial District cafes before catching on with Ritual in the early fall of 2010.

Coffee San Francisco

The bar houses a red three-group La Marzocco espresso machine and a five-ring pourover bar crafted from copper piping. Glass coffee jars fronted with laminated placards double as the menu, which was a nice touch.

Coffee San Francisco

Kang opted for a cup of Colombian Miraflores ($4.50) prepared via pourover.

Coffee San Francisco

Ritual’s Double Rainbow espresso blend formed the basis for my Gibraltar, featuring Costa Rican and Colombian coffee, to name two components.

Both cups were satisfying, but the most inviting aspect of the Flora Grubb cafe was the bucolic setting.

Garden Store San Francisco

Pass through a door and find a patio with tables and a framework of corrugated metal and what appeared to be refurbished wood. A flashing arrow points, toward what is unclear.

Garden Store San Francisco

Looking for a more interesting seating area? Consider the top of a vintage truck in the garden.

The neighborhood that houses Flora Grubb Gardens is set apart from most of the city’s destinations, cultural, culinary or otherwise, so it’s hard to imagine returning very often, but it is easy to picture sitting in the gardens on a warm summer day, reading and sipping coffee.


Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

Blog Comments

[…] Foodgps […]

I’m currently enjoying some beans from Ritual that I bought a week or two ago when I was in SF. While Sightglass was my favorite of the weekend, Ritual brews a very solid cup of coffee.


Sightglass seems promising. It’s certainly the best looking coffeehouse in San Francisco, or it will be, once the brothers expand inside. They also have some good pastries, way better than Ritual. How’d you like Four Barrel?

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