In case you’re wondering where exactly San Francisco can fit another third-wave coffee place, the answer is Rainbow Grocery, everyone’s favorite meatless, worked-owned, specialty shop underneath an elevated freeway.
[jump] They’re serving Stumptown, along with pastries from Starter Bakery and Tier One and Tier Two teas. (Hello, Ben Shan oolong and rooibos!). The milk is from Straus, the non-dairy alternative is Califia almond milk, and the espresso vessel is by La Marzocco, so you know this is a legit operation, as if there were any doubt.
Aside from the sign that’s high enough to be visible to the Central Freeway traffic, the cafe forgoes much of a hippie vibe for the usual post-industrial look. One thing that’s certainly conspicuous is the price point. It’s cheap! Two dollars for an eight-oz. coffee and $2.25 for an organic turmeric ginger tea sound more like recession specials than what you'd pay in a standard San Francisco coffee temple. (You even get a nickel rebate for toting your own mug.)
While you’re sipping your $3.75 cappuccino, feel free to be tempted by the cart of organic plant starts (six for $3.59), helpfully situated on a rack and adding some much needed greenery to the hyper-urban setting. This is definitely a win for an already coffee-saturated city. And Rainbow Grocery’s website ends in .coop, which is just awesome.
Rainbow Grocery Café, 1745 Folsom.