Four of us were packed into a rental car, heading North on the 101 Freeway. We were on our way to Sonoma for a weekend of wine tasting at one of our favorite vineyards. We were exhausted and dragging, so we were desperate for a cup of good coffee. I opened Google search on my iPhone, typed in a coffeeshop near me and then nearest coffeeshop to me and both times Weaver’s Coffee & Tea Cafe, in San Rafael, California popped up. The coffee shop was right off the Freeway exit so we decided to give it a shot. Talk about finding a gem in the most unlikely of places. This is way better than Starbucks, a true coffee roaster with a groovy coffee shop, and frankly, as far as I am concerned, one of the world’s best cup of coffee.
We emptied out of the rental car and into the coffeeshop. There was a small line so I could not see what espresso machine they used, which was unexpected at 1 pm on a Thursday, but the line moved quickly. Right away I noticed the La Marzocco Strada Espresso Machine and the energy, this coffee shop did not have an attitude, like a lot of the coffee shops on the West Coast. The barista was down to earth and was actually interested in speaking with us. She was answering questions about the coffee they served and was being really cool. The coffeeshop was small, but cozy, with a large community table and a few large comfy chairs. I ordered a double espresso and it had about a half-inch of crema and was delicious. I could not believe this place served great fair trade certified coffee. Things got even better when one of the owners happened to come downstairs from her office and start up a conversation. Within minutes we were offered a quick tour of the coffee roaster and manufacturing plant. The owner opened a door and we walked into a huge coffee roastery. She explained the entire process, from how they globally source green Arabica coffee beans, to how they hand roast the coffees. The head coffee roaster, named Weaver, worked at Peet's Coffee for twenty-seven years and left to start this place with a few people. There were these groovy packaging machines and three giant shipping tables with the last of the orders on their way out the door. The placed smelled awesome. This is a photo of a seriously cool San Francisco Bay Coffee Roaster.
Roastery Photo by Mike Johnson
Coffeeshop and Coffee Roastery
Once the coffee roastery tour was finished I decided to buy a pound of espresso coffee beans from inside the attached coffeeshop, and the nice Barista quickly put it through a huge coffee grinder while we waited. We left with one pound of the best coffee. The smell that filled our rental car was the most amazing smell, and we were really buzzed from drinking the coffee and smelling the coffee for the rest of our ride to Sonoma.
Well, it took one day for the four of us to burn through that one pound of coffee and to tell you the truth I was unable to drink any other coffee after drinking that coffee. If you want to know which coffee brand is the best? Well, it is Weaver's Coffee because everything else was hard to drink, and I found myself getting frustrated that I did not have Weaver’s Coffee, especially in the morning.
We left Sonoma early Saturday evening and drove into San Francisco. We were spending our last night in San Francisco and were scheduled to take the tour of Alcatraz the next day. We found a cheap hotel through Expedia located on Union Square and when we woke up we were dying for a cup of good coffee. The problem was we really wanted more of that Weaver’s Coffee we got in San Rafael. They were closed when we drove past Saturday night, so we were stuck with bad hotel coffee Sunday morning. It wasn’t working for me, so I opened Google search and typed in the best coffee nearme and coffee shop and Weaver’s Coffee, in the hope there might be a coffee shop serving Weaver's Coffee near our hotel. Yes! I found out that Weaver’s Coffee & Tea had a coffeeshop at 2301 Market Street in San Francisco.
Since we had already turned in our rental car we grabbed an uber and we were at the San Francisco coffeeshop in eight minutes. Now, this Weaver’s Coffee & Tea coffeeshop was slick, I mean super cool looking – all white with a huge video wall. (the video wall features a local artist each month for you artists looking for space to show your stuff) The coffee shop had another amazing espresso coffee machine. There was great music playing and some seriously ripped guys walking around. I found out later there is a gym next door, which now makes sense but at the time it made me feel self-conscious after all of the eating and drinking we had been doing in Sonoma. The Barista’s in the coffeeshop were heavily tattooed; one had a shaved head with bits of spiked purple hair. We expected attitude but they were just really nice. The spiked purple hair barista made a couple of amazing cappuccinos for my friends with beautiful latte art. I grabbed a turkey wrap from the grab and go, and ordered a double espresso. I went to sit on a stool at the counter by windows and watched people mosey up and down Market Street. Just as I finished chowing my turkey wrap, the barista called out my name for my double espresso. I walked over to the espresso machine, tossed back that double espresso, and then went back to my stool at the counter. It was absolutely the best coffee bean for espresso and crema I had ever tasted, and since I drink a lot of coffee, that is a serious statement. So, when it was time for us to go off in another uber to catch our ferry and tour of Alcatraz, I whipped out my credit card and bought four pounds of coffee beans, the Original Blend Coffee, to use as my espresso beans, which I carried around with me for the rest of the day.
Once we got in line to catch the ferry to Alcatraz, the people standing near me while we waited in line smelled the coffee in my backpack and asked me about the smell of the coffee. I told them about the Weaver’s Coffee & Tea and coffee roastery and where to buy the best coffee, and probably gave the company a few new customers in the process! It was great to get away and spend a long weekend with my friends in Sonoma wine tasting and eating delicious food, and a great tour of Alcatraz. However, I have to say, the best part about the trip was finding the best coffee shops and finding out I could buy the best coffee online and this company has the best coffee ever! Mike Johnson