A viral video is going around these days on “The Coffee Wars of San Francisco”. It’s a bit tongue-in-cheek with its Ken-Burns-documentary-style humor — though that largely reminds us of how much Ken Burns can lull us to sleep like a bottle of brandy.
While the mockumentary oscillates between the mildly funny and the painfully overwrought (and sorry, 7×7, we don’t see the connection to BlueBottleGate), we have to bite our tongue when it comes to its historical inaccuracies. Such as suggesting Ritual Coffee Roasters was the start of a new era of SF coffee snobbery. In fact, it was the touristy Ferry Building Marketplace‘s Frog Hollow Farm — then under heavy influence of Blue Bottle‘s James Freeman — that arguably first kick-started a coffee revival in this town.
Even this ignores that CoffeeRatings.com‘s #1-ranked coffee shop during that era was the defunct Café Organica, located North of the Panhandle. And that even today, on the basis of the actual coffee alone, our favorite Bay Area purveyor is based in a very hipster-unfriendly strip mall in Santa Clara, conveniently located next to various mattress shops that you’ll never need after all that caffeine.
But even if San Francisco is already so abruptly short on its memory of its recent coffee history, mockumentary or not, we’re happy that there are even jokes of a “coffee war” — i.e., that there is good enough coffee in this town to at least have a war of words over. This was a vision that still seemed well out of reach as recently as 2003.
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