Americans have long loved a delicious cup of freshly brewed coffee. But in more recent years, interest amongst coffee lovers has grown from the ubiquitous large chain coffeehouses to independently owned businesses using sustainable methods. More than ever, coffee businesses are purchasing coffee beans certified as organic, fair trade and Rainforest Alliance, then roasted and brewed in-house to produce the freshest and tastiest varieties of the nation's largest imported good. The number of Bay Area "Third Wave Roasters" has soared, giving quality-conscious consumers far more choices to enjoy a brew that's globally sourced, but locally roasted and brewed. The following are five of the best North Bay places for locally roasted coffee.
21 4th St.
Petaluma, CA 94952
In business for less than two years, Acre Coffee has become one of the best Bay Area places for single-source, direct-trade coffee. Like most high-quality coffee establishments, baristas must undergo an extensive six-month training program before working at any of Acre's three locations in Petaluma, San Francisco and its newest store in Santa Rosa. The independently owned business prides itself in serving handcrafted coffees and organic tea. Among the coffees served by friendly and knowledgable staff at all stores are Healdsburg's Flying Goat Coffee and Verve in Santa Cruz, who both source only the finest quality green coffees from all over the world.
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Flying Goat Coffee
324 Center St.
Healdsburg, CA 95448
Fresh-roasted coffee is made daily in this locally owned coffee shop that prides itself as a local business with sustainable methods in purchasing quality coffee. Earlier this year, Flying Goat Coffee was selected as a Good Food Award winner amongst 200 roasters nationwide, in addition to receiving a Special Gold Seal Award for sustainability. More recently, Flying Goat Coffee was named the Best of the North Bay Café/Coffee House. Sourcing only sustainably farmed coffee from organic and shade-grown properties, some of the favorite brews include Panama Esmeralda Geisha, Ethiopia Yukro and certified organic Wottuna Boltuma. Flying Goat Coffee has three North Bay locations, with the original store, normally filled with locals, near Healdsburg Plaza.
Equator Coffees and Teas
244 Shoreline Highway
Mill Valley, CA 94941
While Equator coffee can be found at a number of Bay Area locations, such as Bouchon Bakery in Yountville and Reverie Coffee Café in San Francisco, its first ever coffee bar recently opened in Mill Valley. Located inside local favorite Proof Lab Surf Shop, the Bay Area's largest surf and skate shop, Equator Coffee sources its own coffee primarily from a 45-acre farm in Panama and single sources in Central America, South America and Africa. The San Rafael-based business has long held a strong commitment to sustainability and more than half of its coffees are certified organic, fair trade and Rainforest Alliance. As part of its social responsibility, Equator's coffee roasting is performed locally using an energy efficient Loring Smart Roaster and delivery trucks are powered by locally produced biodiesel fuel.
610 First St.
Napa, CA 94559
Established in 2005, San Francisco-based Ritual Coffee is widely considered a pioneer in the Third Wave Coffee revolution, with a far more meticulous approach to the entire process of coffee making, from maintaining a personal connection with eco-farmers to advanced methods of roasting. In just a short time, Ritual gained national recognition, winning awards ranging from the Nation's Top 17 Roasters by CNN and Fortune Online to Top Rated by Food and Wine Magazine. With a strong focus on single-origin coffee, Ritual's sourcing team works directly with environmentally friendly farmers in Central America, South America and Africa by making frequent trips to their farms. Of the four popular Bay Area locations, three are in San Francisco with frequent long lines and a fourth is located at Oxbow Public Market, featuring artisnal and local foods and wines in downtown Napa.
Taylor Maid Farms Roasting Facility and Café
6790 McKinley Ave., Suite 170
Sebastopol, CA 95472
Since 1993, Taylor Maid Farms has specialized in producing 100-percent, quality organic fair trade coffees and teas. Featuring single-origin coffees and premium blends, the locally owned farm based in Occidental recently opened its first full-size coffee bar at The Barlow, a former cannery building in Sebastopol, with an assortment of local food, wine and art businesses. A second coffee bar is expected before the end of the year in an independent bookstore in San Rafael. Visitors to the Roasting Facility and Café can visit the roasterie during scheduled events and arranged tours. Taylor Maid locally sources its milk products from Strauss Family Creamery, based in Petaluma.
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