6/11/2013

The Ferrari of Coffee

Blue Bottle: The best coffee you may ever drink

As it does every day, a line trails out of the door at Blue Bottle Coffee Co. in Mint Plaza, a formerly grubby intersection of small streets and walkways in the center of San Francisco. Architects in chunky plastic-framed glasses, bike messengers in plaid shirts and skinny jeans, and a trio of older women with clanky jewelry all wait patiently in an alleyway for their turn to taste what many believe is the best coffee on the planet.

Inside Blue Bottle, customers sit at a sunny hickory-topped counter to pour "siphon" coffee from glass containers that look as if they were borrowed from a biotech lab, or sip happily from an off-the-menu latte called the Gibraltar, after the faceted glass it is served in. Hungry patrons demolish poached eggs on thick slabs of toast and nibble on beautiful pastries while they read about the diverse origins of the coffees they are drinking: Yirgacheffe Koke from Ethiopia or Fazenda Sertaozinho from Brazil.

Joining the queue, like everyone else, is James Freeman, the CEO and founder of Blue Bottle. He dresses like his architect clientele, sporting black jeans, a muted gray shirt, and funky black shoes he picked up from a cobbler in northern Michigan. He is unfailingly polite, greeting all the staff and many of the customers by name. Unlike the rest of the people in line, Freeman scans the room looking for anything out of place. He checks his iPhone and notices that the list of single-origin coffees on the counter doesn't match current information on the website. An e-mail is sent. Freeman, 45, lets out an understated cheer when he sees a man buying a copy of R Is for Rosetta: A Blue Bottle Coffee Coloring Alphabet, a newly printed book that Freeman and his staff agonized over, in typical fashion...more at CNN Money