The Best Coffee Shops In SF

It’s easy to find a cup of coffee in the city. But for the absolute best, head to these spots.
The espresso counter at The Coffee Movement

photo credit: Brit Finnegan

San Francisco is a city that loves coffee. Just ask anyone who spends their Sunday mornings hunting down perfect cappuccinos or bean-obsessed nerds who collect state-of-the-art burr grinders. And although you can typically find a pretty solid cup of coffee on every other block, you deserve better than pretty solid. These 17 places define the caffeine scene in SF, from tiny takeout-only counters and old-school espresso institutions to places serving standout food, too. 

Looking for a coffee shop where you can hunker down and get work done? We have a guide for that, too. 


photo credit: Brit Finnegan



$$$$Perfect For:Coffee & A Light Bite
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At The Coffee Movement, your baristas are a team of extroverts who are hell-bent on asking you about your plans for the day—so if you’re in the mood to socialize, come here for caffeine with a side of small talk. It’s a pleasant way to start a morning, especially when coupled with their seasonal lattes spiked with vanilla lavender or ginger spice syrup. The original location in Nob Hill is also great, but we like the more spacious Richmond one with actual seating. 

Russian Hill’s sleekest place to get hopped up on espresso is Saint Frank. The minimalist cafe, with its shiny white counter and light wood accents, looks straight out of a Scandi design magazine. And you should hop in line and make your way down that counter, because their coffee and housemade almond macadamia milk are wonderful. There are a bunch of tables if you want to kick back and hang out for a while, as well as free wifi during the week—though there aren’t any outlets, so come fully charged if you want to get anything done. 

Compton’s is a small-ish coffee shop in Lower Pacific Heights (they also have a newer location in North Beach) with velvety espresso and housemade seasonal syrups we’d genuinely guzzle by the barrel. Until that’s feasible, we’ll settle for sipping their frequently changing, extremely creamy lattes—the lavender one is subtly floral without tasting like a bar of soap, and anything with peppermint in the winter always hits. Split a pastry on a weekend coffee date, or just perch on one of the sidewalk tables and debate spending $94 on a candle down the street. 

This Oakland-based coffee shop now has a couple of locations in the city, and these 49 square miles are better for it. Not only are their own house roasts superb, it’s also one of the only places in town where you can get a super creamy charcoal latte to kick off your day. There’s a more takeout-oriented outpost in Cow Hollow, but the bigger Ferry Building location is complete with views of the bay, a loaded pastry case, and fully stocked shelves of beans to snag on your way out. 

Pinhole Coffee is a bright spot in Bernal Heights—literally. The espresso-centric coffee shop has cheery rainbow walls to match their cheery rainbow logo, and it’s always filled with families, couples, and neighbors stopping in for a ridiculously smooth flat white. You can settle in on the benches lining the wall and sip slowly among the colorful wall art and retail shelves, or take your cup to go and admire the views from nearby Holly Park.  

Andytown’s Great Highway outpost hit the jackpot in the beachside real estate market—the Richmond cafe is just steps away from the beach, and the floor-to-ceiling windows flood the space with natural light (they also have locations in SoMa and the Sunset). The welcoming spot is home to strong espresso, plants hanging everywhere, and a TV playing surfing competitions or otter live streams overhead. We like to spend a slow morning here with a brown sugar latte and one of their excellent pastries before heading down to Ocean Beach to play fetch with an overexcited dog or take a windy seaside stroll. 

This family-run coffee shop opened its doors in 2019, but it already feels like a neighborhood staple that’s been going strong for decades. This friendly yet usually quiet caffeine stop brings standout espresso drinks—and ube brownies, donuts, and other pastries from Ube Area—to the Excelsior. As a neighborhood fixture, they also host latte art throwdowns, local food pop-ups, and the occasional block party.

Kopiku is the only coffee shop in SF specializing in Indonesian coffee. The drinks at this casual Marina cafe range from regular espresso drinks to just-sweet-enough pandan lattes (all made with lactose-free milk). Also on hand are pastries and savory snacks, like pineapple tarts or a sticky rice ball with chicken. It makes for great pre-walk caffeine on your way to wander around Fort Mason, or if you need some quick sustenance before showing visitors around Fisherman’s Wharf

$$$$Perfect For:Coffee & A Light Bite

The reason to head to Snowbird is simple—you love strong and mind-bendingly good coffee. This quiet cafe in the Inner Sunset serves knockout cortados, affogatos, and cafe bomboms (two espresso shots over condensed milk) in a dark, cave-like space with low ceilings. Seating-wise, there's a standing bar and a bench out front, so your best bet is to take an espresso drink to go, especially if you’re about to walk in nearby Golden Gate Park.

If you’re the kind of person who can consume caffeine after sunset and still sleep at night, congratulations, you’re stronger than us. Delah Coffee in SoMa is the city’s late-night coffee destination. The Yemeni coffee spot is open until 10:30pm or 11pm every night, with more seating than one of those extra-long MUNI buses and, of course, free wifi. Go for the Yemeni latte, which is richly spiced with cinnamon and cardamom, and just enough sweetness to make your day 25% less monotonous. They also have great pastries, like the bee bites drizzled in honey and rose milk cakes by the slice.

You could easily walk by Golden Goat Coffee and miss it—the tiny coffee shop is tucked away in a SoMa alley. But once you wander up to the minimalist goat outlined on the window, you’ll be rewarded with some of the most inventive espresso drinks in town. Seasonal drinks are on deck, like ube lattes or an orange cinnamon cappuccino that tastes like gulping back a winter candle from Le Labo. Or you can go for the eponymous Golden Goat latte with goat milk and turmeric. It’s an in-and-out operation, so take your espresso to South Park or swing by on your way to a high-rise downtown. Heads up: they’re closed weekends.

On a stretch of Market Street that’s not quite the Mission and not quite Hayes Valley is Kantine. This Scandinavian-style cafe makes excellent trout bowls that can power you through a day, crispy breakfast sandwiches made on a flaky pastry with sprouted grains, and an array of sweet treats—it all makes the perfect accompaniment to a great cup of coffee. Crowds flock to this well-lit and airy space on weekends, but during the week it gets calm enough that you’re able to read a book with a cortado in peace at one of the many tables inside.  

In the plot twist of the century, it turns out that CoffeeShop is—surprise—a coffee shop. And it’s a damn good one. This Bernal Heights takeout counter (they also have a location in the Mission) is an early morning haven of fantastic coffee and housemade pastries. Whether you want your caffeine in pour-over form or as something a little more splashy, like the well-spiced dirty chai, it’ll consistently function as your much-needed pick-me-up. We also love this place because they use coffee ice cubes, so you’ll never have to worry about a watered-down latte again. 

Caffe Trieste is a San Francisco institution—it’s the first espresso-based coffee shop on the West Coast and has been open since 1956. This place is less your typical coffee shop and more of a local late-night haunt for the literary-inclined (it’s open until 10pm). The chairs are crickety, the floor looks like it hasn’t been redone in decades, and the murals on the wall could use some retouching—but it all adds to the charm as you yearn to join the people reading Nietzsche over a doppio. The extensive drink menu can be a bit overwhelming, but just grab a dark roast espresso or a cup of Italian drip, cozy up with a book, and see where the night takes you. 

A trip to the Chinatown location of this SF coffee roastery (also in the Richmond and Sunset) is a great shake-up to your normal latte routine. Their focus is on creative espresso drinks, like red velvet, lavender, and sprinkle- or cookie-topped lattes that aren’t overly sweet—and they all look ready for prime time on your social feed. Also head to this minimalist spot to exploit the free wifi, or get a quick energy kick before a walk through Chinatown. This place is right near the Dragon Gate.  

At Simple Pleasures Cafe, you wouldn’t blink twice if you saw a neighborhood book club plopping down on the back couches or staff greeting long-time regulars by name. The coffee shop is a feel-good, all-day gathering spot in the Richmond—even if you just come in for a quick cappuccino, don’t be surprised if you end up staying for hours with a good book by the big windows. In terms of the actual menu, there are hearty cafe staples like bagels and paninis, and a straightforward list of espresso drinks served in to-go cups. 

Grand Coffee is the preeminent coffee roaster in the Mission. You’ll find their coffee at a bunch of other coffee shops and plenty of grocery stores across the city. But come to their small operation on Mission St. to get an affordable and tasty shot of espresso inside a space that’s always bursting with communal energy. Despite only having a few seats, there’s always someone here crocheting, chatting it up with the barista, or creating an elaborate drawing on a to-go cup to be added to their small wall of artful cups. 

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31 SF Coffee Shops For Getting Work Done image

31 SF Coffee Shops For Getting Work Done

Is your roommate a pain? Are you over your couch? Do you work from your laptop? Sounds like you need a coffee shop with wifi.

An iced latte on the counter at The Coffee Movement

Come to The Coffee Movement in Nob Hill for fantastic seasonal lattes served in a tiny space.

Pinhole Coffee image

Pinhole Coffee is a cheery Bernal Heights cafe for excellent coffee and pastries.

The view of Ocean Beach from inside Andytown

Andytown’s Great Highway outpost is a coffee shop with excellent espresso drinks and beach views.

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