Main Extractions

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CONSIDER YOURSELF A COFFEE connoisseur? If you haven’t visited San Francisco recently, you’re infor a perk. Inspired by the recent Slow Food movement, many city coffee houses have become tasting grounds for subtle and intricatelyprepared brews. Unlike electric-drip varieties served in most cafés andrestaurants, the following purveyors create perfection out of freshly roasted, handcrafted coffees and several well-honed extraction methods.

By serving only individually brewed cups, the Bay Area’s long-running local chain Philz Coffee (3101 24th Street, 415-875-9370, www.philzcoffee.com)converts loyal latte drinkers to drip-coffee drinkers. Baristas produce a finely textured brew by placing several tablespoons of one of 20 handmade blends into a cup-top paper filter and adding a steady streamof hot water. Mission District’s Ritual Coffee Roasters (1026 Valencia Street, 415-641-1024, www.ritualroasters.com) and Potrero Hill’s Coffee Bar (1890 Bryant Street, 415-551-8100, www.coffeebar-usa.com)use the Clover, a stainless-steel machine that combines the simplicity of a French-press infusion with the efficiency of a vacuum pump, resulting in a deep, sediment-free coffee. The Clover allows individually programmed filter size, water temperature, and brew time according to the coffee’s flavor profile and a customer’s tastes, whichcan be saved in a database for regular patrons. But San Francisco’smost alluring coffee contraption is at Blue Bottle Café (66 Mint Street, 415-495-3394, www.bluebottlecoffee.net).Consisting of two vertical glass globes and a siphon, the country’s only halogen-powered vacuum pot looks like something straight out of ascience lab. Also called a siphon bar, it produces a light brew by applying heat to the lower globe, which creates a vapor that forces water up the siphon and into the top globe where it mixes with coffeegrounds (with the aid of some stirring) before being pulled back downthrough a filter by a negative pressure vacuum. Like we said, straightout of a science lab. -- Laura Kiniry

Where to Find Brewed Coffee Outside of the Bay Area

Lamill Coffee Boutique
1636 Silver Lake Boulevard, Los Angeles
(323) 663-4441

Café Grumpy
224 West 20th Street, New York
(212) 255-5511

JP’s Java
2803 San Jacinto Boulevard, Austin
(512) 494-0015

Stumptown Annex
3352 Southeast Belmont Street, Portland
(503) 467-4123

To Brew Your Own Cup at Home, Use One (or All) of These

Aerobie’s AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker, $28. www.aerobie.com

Yama Vacuum Brewer HCA 5, $70. www.greenbeanery.ca/bean/home.php

Chemex Classic Series 6 cup, $34. www.thearomaticbean.com

Bodum Chambord 8-Cup Coffee Press, $40. www.bodumusa.com