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Birthday cake latte from Home Coffee Roasters.
Birthday cake latte from Home Coffee Roasters.
Home Coffee Roasters

14 Iconic Lattes, Cold Brews, and Coffee Drinks in San Francisco Right Now

Inimitable coffee drinks throughout the city by the Bay

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Birthday cake latte from Home Coffee Roasters.
| Home Coffee Roasters

There are many coffee meccas in the world, and the Bay Area cements itself in that milieu with pride. Adam Goldberg, editor of Drift Magazine, says the innovative minds of the area coupled with the chilly fog created the “perfect backdrop” for lots of good coffee to be roasted here. This is the place where Mokhtar Alkhanshali put Yemeni coffee back on the market with his company Port of Mokha after a childhood in the Tenderloin. And Trish Rothgeb, co-owner of Berkeley’s Wrecking Ball Coffee, was the first to apply the framework of feminism’s “waves” to coffee.

Considering all of that, it’s only natural that outside of the purist’s black coffee and espressos, there’d be a bevy of singular coffee drinks in San Francisco. Cold brew and lattes are scattered through the city as high-minded and trend-setting coffee fans alike overlap in the pursuit of something delicious to drink. Here are 14 shops with lattes or cold brew that deserve a place in Bay Area coffee history.

Didn't see your favorite on the list? Let us know by emailing sf@eater.com.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Andytown – Snowy Plover

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Lauren Crabbe’s chain of coffee shops are a surfer’s delight, right up there with Java Beach and Trouble Coffee Co. The Snowy Plover, named after the endangered bird of Pixar fame, is a thick, creamy, and fizzy treat. With housemade whipped cream and rotating varieties for various holidays (yes, there’s a pumpkin spice latte version in the fall) the Plover has become, in many ways, the Outer Sunset’s signature coffee drink.

Not Latte – Avocado Fruit Latte

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This Irving Street shop is a welcome addition to the lineup of Sunset coffee shops, though it’s certainly more a takeaway spot. No matter, as what can be taken away is unlike anything else in the city: fruit lattes. The avocado option – we suggest ordering it “strong” with an extra shot of Caffe Umbria espresso – is a top tier pick (though co-owner Heng Qiu says he is partial to the pineapple rendition).

Breadbelly – Egg Coffee

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This James Beard Award-nominated outfit is known primarily for its baked goods (not to be slept on) but the coffee drinks are of the utmost craft, too. The egg coffee might be the top contender: Wrecking Ball espresso interspersed among egg custard. But why compete? Try the sparkling yuzu americano, the sesame horchata latte, or matcha cappuccino, too.

Ballast Coffee – Ube Latte

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This unsung West Portal business has fanciful drinks to spare. The signature ube drink comes as a latte or a cappuccino, but worth mentioning also is the Barako Crush — a cold brew shaken with calamansi and San Pellegrino.

Rise & Grind Coffee and Tea – The Richmond Chill

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The cold brew at this shop is worth a try (honorable nod to Flywheel’s cold coffee, too) but it’s the Richmond Chill, the businesses’ riff on a Vietnamese coffee, that folks will mention. The list of options and unique takes is staggering: a torched creme brulee latte, a malted milk chocolate Whopper latte, and even a mint cold brew that may just be a wink toward the iconic Philz option.

Yo También Cantina – Lavender Cold Brew

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This one is for the floral fans out there. The team at the Inner Sunset’s Yo Tambien Cantina, when they’re not hosting experimental vegan pop-ups, sell Verve coffee with a delightfully light lavender syrup and splash of oat milk.  

Wooden Coffeehouse – The Thing

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Jon Carpenter may shake his head at a lot of things in San Francisco, but something that might make the cut is this Cole Valley-born cinnamon caramel latte aptly named “The Thing.” The folks at Wooden Coffee House must be fans of movies, wheedling in a Candyman reference here and there.

Coffee Out There – Indigo Latte

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Coffee Out There owner and founder Erica Ash describes this latte’s taste as “fruity pebbles.” The shop is a window kiosk in Indigo Vintage on Haight Street and taking one of the eponymously named Indigo Lattes on a walk through the Haight, or into Golden Gate Park, is a wonderful way to spend any afternoon.

SPRO – Cold Fashioned

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If the Bay Area is home to pioneering minds in coffee, then SPRO must be the ones keeping the pioneers of the pioneers caffeinated. This “coffee lab” has a Spark Social outpost and one near Mission Dolores Park, both of which dish out truly wild coffee drinks. The Cold Fashioned, one of many mocktails and latte riffs, features cold brew, orange bitters, gum syrup, flamed orange twist, luxardo cherry – on the rocks, of course.

Saint Frank – Kaffe Tonic

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This Swedish drink, a simple pairing of espresso and tonic water, experienced a renaissance in the mid-2010s, but it was Saint Frank owner Kevin Bohlin who is credited with bringing the beverage to the Bay and, subsequently, the states. A spritely drink for one of those rare warm days.  

Steven B./Yelp

Dandelion Chocolate – Ecuador Cold Brew

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This Mission District chocolate company has always been clever at interlacing its cacao with a slew of drink options. The Ecuador cold brew – basically cold brew but a bit more chocolatey – might not get a mention if it wasn’t such a strong drink (in a good way). The iced chocolate chai and nibby horchata, while sans coffee, get shout outs, too.

Dandelion Chocolate

Home Coffee Roasters – Birthday Cake Latte

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If this coffee shop sounds familiar, it’s possible the Instagram algorithm has put their handiwork on your feed whether you realize it or not. Co-owner Annie Cheng’s lattes are visually stunning, and the birthday cake latte is a particularly bright choice amongst their vibrant offerings.

Mazarine Coffee – Nitro Cold Brew

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In addition to its very good cold brew, Mazarine has a very excellent nitro coffee on tap, a smooth, creamy-textured coffee that’s been infused with nitrogen and pulled from a tap. For something a little different, try the “raf,” an iced combo of espresso, half-and-half, and cinnamon. (And always order one of the cafe’s very hefty sweet or savory toasts.)

Philz Coffee – Iced Mint Mojito

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It's a chain, but it's OUR chain, San Francisco. Plus, who can deny the surprisingly refreshing minty indulgence of an iced mint mojito? Philz ever-expanding stable of locations (and trucks) can satisfy your sweet coffee beverage craving better than a frappuccino ever could.

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Andytown – Snowy Plover

Lauren Crabbe’s chain of coffee shops are a surfer’s delight, right up there with Java Beach and Trouble Coffee Co. The Snowy Plover, named after the endangered bird of Pixar fame, is a thick, creamy, and fizzy treat. With housemade whipped cream and rotating varieties for various holidays (yes, there’s a pumpkin spice latte version in the fall) the Plover has become, in many ways, the Outer Sunset’s signature coffee drink.

Not Latte – Avocado Fruit Latte

This Irving Street shop is a welcome addition to the lineup of Sunset coffee shops, though it’s certainly more a takeaway spot. No matter, as what can be taken away is unlike anything else in the city: fruit lattes. The avocado option – we suggest ordering it “strong” with an extra shot of Caffe Umbria espresso – is a top tier pick (though co-owner Heng Qiu says he is partial to the pineapple rendition).

Breadbelly – Egg Coffee

This James Beard Award-nominated outfit is known primarily for its baked goods (not to be slept on) but the coffee drinks are of the utmost craft, too. The egg coffee might be the top contender: Wrecking Ball espresso interspersed among egg custard. But why compete? Try the sparkling yuzu americano, the sesame horchata latte, or matcha cappuccino, too.

Ballast Coffee – Ube Latte

This unsung West Portal business has fanciful drinks to spare. The signature ube drink comes as a latte or a cappuccino, but worth mentioning also is the Barako Crush — a cold brew shaken with calamansi and San Pellegrino.

Rise & Grind Coffee and Tea – The Richmond Chill

The cold brew at this shop is worth a try (honorable nod to Flywheel’s cold coffee, too) but it’s the Richmond Chill, the businesses’ riff on a Vietnamese coffee, that folks will mention. The list of options and unique takes is staggering: a torched creme brulee latte, a malted milk chocolate Whopper latte, and even a mint cold brew that may just be a wink toward the iconic Philz option.

Yo También Cantina – Lavender Cold Brew

This one is for the floral fans out there. The team at the Inner Sunset’s Yo Tambien Cantina, when they’re not hosting experimental vegan pop-ups, sell Verve coffee with a delightfully light lavender syrup and splash of oat milk.  

Wooden Coffeehouse – The Thing

Jon Carpenter may shake his head at a lot of things in San Francisco, but something that might make the cut is this Cole Valley-born cinnamon caramel latte aptly named “The Thing.” The folks at Wooden Coffee House must be fans of movies, wheedling in a Candyman reference here and there.

Coffee Out There – Indigo Latte

Coffee Out There owner and founder Erica Ash describes this latte’s taste as “fruity pebbles.” The shop is a window kiosk in Indigo Vintage on Haight Street and taking one of the eponymously named Indigo Lattes on a walk through the Haight, or into Golden Gate Park, is a wonderful way to spend any afternoon.

SPRO – Cold Fashioned

If the Bay Area is home to pioneering minds in coffee, then SPRO must be the ones keeping the pioneers of the pioneers caffeinated. This “coffee lab” has a Spark Social outpost and one near Mission Dolores Park, both of which dish out truly wild coffee drinks. The Cold Fashioned, one of many mocktails and latte riffs, features cold brew, orange bitters, gum syrup, flamed orange twist, luxardo cherry – on the rocks, of course.

Saint Frank – Kaffe Tonic

Steven B./Yelp

This Swedish drink, a simple pairing of espresso and tonic water, experienced a renaissance in the mid-2010s, but it was Saint Frank owner Kevin Bohlin who is credited with bringing the beverage to the Bay and, subsequently, the states. A spritely drink for one of those rare warm days.  

Steven B./Yelp

Dandelion Chocolate – Ecuador Cold Brew

Dandelion Chocolate

This Mission District chocolate company has always been clever at interlacing its cacao with a slew of drink options. The Ecuador cold brew – basically cold brew but a bit more chocolatey – might not get a mention if it wasn’t such a strong drink (in a good way). The iced chocolate chai and nibby horchata, while sans coffee, get shout outs, too.

Dandelion Chocolate

Home Coffee Roasters – Birthday Cake Latte

If this coffee shop sounds familiar, it’s possible the Instagram algorithm has put their handiwork on your feed whether you realize it or not. Co-owner Annie Cheng’s lattes are visually stunning, and the birthday cake latte is a particularly bright choice amongst their vibrant offerings.

Mazarine Coffee – Nitro Cold Brew

In addition to its very good cold brew, Mazarine has a very excellent nitro coffee on tap, a smooth, creamy-textured coffee that’s been infused with nitrogen and pulled from a tap. For something a little different, try the “raf,” an iced combo of espresso, half-and-half, and cinnamon. (And always order one of the cafe’s very hefty sweet or savory toasts.)

Philz Coffee – Iced Mint Mojito

It's a chain, but it's OUR chain, San Francisco. Plus, who can deny the surprisingly refreshing minty indulgence of an iced mint mojito? Philz ever-expanding stable of locations (and trucks) can satisfy your sweet coffee beverage craving better than a frappuccino ever could.

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