Success can be as bittersweet as a single-origin mocha, as James Freeman, founder of Blue Bottle Coffee, will be the first to attest: his company is growing by leaps and bounds (see: opening in Tokyo and merging with Tartine Bakery), but that also means he's outgrown the place where he got his start: the Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market. In a lovely essay, Freeman explains that given Blue Bottle's rise, he's decided to step down from the farmers' market after 11 years to give another upstart a chance:
I was shopping at the market with my family several months ago when I realized that Blue Bottle today was neither scrappy nor under-capitalized. It’s a great feeling, actually. To have a plan and be able to execute it with plenty of long range thinking and no compromises feels luxurious. But the incubator nature of the farmers market is not really about the luxury of ever-increasing preparation standards. It's not about scaling excellence. It's about taking a chance on an unknown doing great work and giving that person the opportunity to succeed (or fail) in front of some of the most astute and demanding customers in the country. Even though our drinks have never been more carefully prepared, and our coffee has never been more carefully sourced and roasted, we are at the point in our trajectory where our ambitions just don't fit outside the Ferry Building on Saturdays.
And so, Blue Bottle's last day at the market will be Saturday, May 30, with Freeman himself working behind the register and donating all of the proceeds to CUESA. (The closure won't affect the company's brick-and-mortar location inside the Ferry Building, which recently underwent a significant renovation to cut down on wait times.) A rep for CUESA says that they're currently "talking to a few small local coffee businesses" to replace Blue Bottle beginning in June, but haven't settled on one as of yet. Parting ways with Ferry Plaza is the second big blow to the "old Blue Bottle" in recent months: the company also lost its bid to return to the revamped SFMOMA, with fellow Bay Area roaster Sightglass winning the contract in its place. But don't feel too badly for Blue Bottle—they've got locations in the FiDi, the Twitter building, and possibly Pacific Heights on the way.