So often, a company’s initial surroundings help frame perception. For instance, Ritual Coffee Roasters initially got branded as a hipster hangout because the company debuted in San Francisco’s Mission District. However, when owner Eileen Hassi expanded to Flora Grubb Gardens, a completely different environment, she helped to expand understanding. Ritual also opened an outpost in Napa’s Oxbow Public Market in 2008, taking yet another left turn.
Oxbow Public Market is a high-profile culinary destination, along the lines of the Ferry Building, that resides in the shadow of short-lived COPIA: The American Center for Wine, Food and the Arts. Oxbow provides a forum for Bay Area bakers, butchers, cheesemakers, and plenty of other food and drink artisans. Ritual Coffee occupies a caffeinated island on the main building’s north end. As always, expect to find premium equipment, including a shiny silver La Marzocco espresso machine, Mazzer grinders, and the now-obligatory pourover bar.
Our Ritual experiences were more of the sip and dash variety, though customers can also choose from plenty of seats at Oxbow. On Tuesday nights, this outpost also allows people to try three different coffees side by side for $10 as part of the Ritual Coffee Flights Program. When it comes to Ritual, we say take flight, and don’t always believe the hipster stigma hype.