This is the sixth post in the “An Unforgettable Anniversary Weekend In Sonoma” series highlighting Sonoma Valley and surrounding areas. Other posts in this series include Addendum, El Dorado Kitchen, Basque Boulangerie. A Cycling Wine Tour Through Sonoma Valley, and Pride Mountain Vineyards.
Their signs are very, very non-nondescript. In fact, you may almost miss the entrance to this Blue Bottle Coffee, evidenced only by a tiny little white sign with a picture of a blue bottle silhouette.
But really, who am I kidding.
You can sniff out a Blue Bottle Coffee location because of the long line out front. It's unavoidable. There always seems to be atleast a 10-15 minute long wait outside of Blue Bottle Coffee.
Or at least that's been my limited experience.
Or maybe I should say it's been Bryan's limited experience. After all - I must confess - up to this point I had never actually gone inside Blue Bottle Coffee Shop.
Though I've had their coffee.
Bryan - my trooper of a husband - used to get up ultra early the morning his last morning of his business trip in San Francisco. He would walk 30-40 minutes to the Ferry Building just to wait in line to pick up Blue Bottle Coffee beans and ACME bread (my favorite!) to take home.
What a guy.
So I'd heard stories from him about the lines. About how you have to set aside a block of time if you want access to their coffee. None of this "grab a cup of coffee before heading out" business.
Finally, the morning before we headed up to Sonoma Valley for our little weekend trip, we stopped by a Blue Bottle for breakfast - my first time.
Blue Bottle roasts its coffee in small batches and promises that coffee sold to customers is "less than 48 hours out of the roaster." At the coffee shops, they make each cup of coffee to order, using a series of ceramic gravity drip "funnels".
This is partly why the lines are long – each cup takes several minutes to make.
However, I was not going to be able to try that type of coffee today.
Bryan and I landed the best seats in the house, seats directly facing all the siphoning action. The equipment totally reminded me of the glassware that we used in lab when I was an organic chemist.
The coffee was interesting – less “chocolately”, more acidic. It was strong yet not that bitter. It was pleasant, yet it wasn't my favorite style of coffee either. Of course, so much goes into what defines a flavor profile of a cup of coffee - everything from the origin of the beans to the roasting conditions and also the extraction technique - that I'm still not quite sure what it was that I didn't love.
With just trying this one cup, it's hard to determine whether I like this technique or not.
We also got a normal cappuccino, which was great.
Blue Bottle also serves various breakfast items, such as baked goods, waffles, toast (using ACME bread, YUM), and eggs.
We shared a poached egg sandwich with our two types a coffee. I loved the ACME bread thick-cut toast that they used. The freshly poached eggs were quite good as well.
Overall it was a fun stop and I'm so glad I finally had a chance to visit a Blue Bottle Coffee.
Of course, coming here made me realize how little I really know or appreciate about coffee. I feel like I've just touched the tip of the iceberg when it comes to coffee. There's still so much to learn.
While sitting at counter at Blue Bottle, I overheard a conversation between one of the workers and a regular customer. The regular customer had tried many, many varieties of beans and coffee techniques through the years at Blue Bottle. You could tell from the way they were talking, this guy really knew his coffee and could taste incredibly subtle differences between various origins, roasts, and cupping methods.
Now I feel like I need to go back to at least try their normal, gravity drip coffee - the one that most of those people waiting in line are ordering!
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