Location: 375 Valencia Street, San Francisco
Reviewed: September 7, 2008
Espresso: Four Barrel has some relation to Portland's famed Stumptown Coffee Roasters. My understanding is that they roast (or will be roasting shortly) Hairbender under license. In any case, it's the classic stuff here. Light-bodied by design, bright, honey and citrus. It almost goes without saying that they grind/tamp to order and pull short shots.
Atmosphere: Four Barrel is a large shop with the back half cordoned off for use by the roasting operations. It has a tall, open, wooden-plank ceiling, tables attached to the walls, and various other devices to make it trendy. What's more interesting here is the setup. Two Mistrals, six groups in total, very open bar area so you can watch the baristas at work. I spotted a Clover back in the roasting area too.
Verdict: It's really a must-visit.