When I lived in East Coast, I loved the microbrew beers. When I moved to San Francisco, I quickly realized that I almost gave up alcohol entirely in favor of coffee. Not only did I give up coffee but I became as snobby about coffee as I did with microbrews. How much did I love my new coffee culture? Apparently a lot. In SF, it’s easy to run into a neo-performance-enhancement product or service. Whether it’s the sweat yoga-class, productivity app or a new set of miracle greens that will detox your blood stream, I consistently retreated to the comforts of deep rich coffee. I think I have always rejected caffeine pills, Redbull and Monster drinks because I never wanted “caffeine”. Instead, I wanted the experience, aroma, and flavor of coffee.

If you’re traveling to San Francisco, I highly recommend you check out these 5 cafes. They’re all quite different from each other in function and selection.

Sightglass Coffee

On Google Maps / Company Website

Sightglass Coffee has a massive 70s industrial coffee bean grinder in the middle of their venue which is a retrofitted warehouse. Theres a small assortment of baked goods but their focus is clearly around extremely rich and flavorful coffee. There’s no WiFi and the interior layout is aimed specifically towards a small social setting. Tables in their upper deck are surrounded by comfortable seats that allow you to relax with a few friends. This isn’t the best place to get work done but to enjoy a cup of joe with 1 or 2 friends.

❤️ My favorite: Their Kenyan roast and their Standard latte. Both are absolutely spectacular.

Philz Coffee

On Google Maps / Company Website

Philz Coffee has a massive selection of drinks both hot and iced. Philz is geared more towards a recreational dessert-styled coffee. This can be intimidating for the newbie but it gets really fun to switch your brew each day. Philz is mostly filled with Tech workers and students. It doesn’t have the fastest wifi, but it’s a pretty decent place to get work done. By default, the baristas will ask you if you want cream or sugar. I typically reject sugar and go for the half & half. Unlike most places you don’t have a station to add additional milk, spices, or sugar. The entire process is handled by the barista. You’ll enjoy the fact that every barista will ask you to try it and let them know if they should make it differently.

❤️ My favorites: Mint Mojito Iced Coffee & Turkish. No sugar and whole milk.

Coffee Cultures

On Google Maps / Company Website

I was introduced to Coffee Cultures by my childhood friend @minglu. Situated near SOMA and the Financial District, Coffee Cultures is a great getaway from work. With small tables and booths, the venue is primarily aimed a quick break. It’s dark woody interior is a pretty soothing place to take a seat in the middle of a hectic day. Most of the roasts are incredibly rich and flavorful with a strong kick of caffeine. If you ever are feeling groggy, Coffee Cultures offers an excellent pick me up.

❤️ My favorites: Dark Roast Coffees without any milk or sugar. Drink it as they make it!

The Mill

On Google Maps / Company Website

The mill has some excellent coffee but it’s actually a full out bakery. Baked goods at The Mill go pretty well with coffee albeit the overall snacks are quite heavy. The Mill sports an awesome cozy atmosphere best gone by yourself with some good reading material. The tables aren’t big enough to get work done but it’s an excellent environment for an hour of reading with a friend.

❤️ My favorite : Egg Salad with Bacon on Rye with their Coffee

Blue Bottle

On Google Maps / Company Website

A guy from Google New York once bragged to me about the Brooklyn coffee scene and cited that his favorite local cafe was Blue Bottle Coffee. I was kind of a jerk when I asked him to “Google Blue Bottle” on his phone and to his surprise he quickly found out that it was a SF brand. Blue bottle is a really great place to pick up coffee and go. There’s minimal seating and usually a long line but is worth the wait if you need high quality on your way to the next destination. The brews are very good and they love to show off how they brew.

❤️ My favorite : I simply prefer their standard coffee black without cream or sugar.