6. Four Barrel
Location: San Francisco, Calif.
Where to get it: Four Barrel cafes in San Francisco; select coffee shops nationwide, including Marlow & Sons and Cafe Pedlar in New York, Giant Coffee in Phoenix, and The Rose Establishment in Salt Lake City; online at fourbarrelcoffee.com
Roaster recommends: Ethiopia Bulga. It's sourced from a cooperative that just started washing its coffee this year and described as "super floral" with the acidity of pink lemonade and notes of raspberry, currant, and cane sugar. It's best brewed as Aeropress or drip.
To aggravated Bay Area techies, Four Barrel is sometimes seen as a hipster outpost due to the no Wi-Fi policy in its cafes, but its focus on providing a great product and experience has made it the darling of the coffee community (a few of whom have borrowed that same policy). Started by Ritual co-founder Jeremy Tookers, it's quickly become a staple and trendsetter in the San Francisco coffee scene.
Although it doesn't actively seek out many wholesale customers, according to green buyer and roaster Tal Mor, coffee shops around the country come to Four Barrel because of its reputation and dedication to partner education. A recently opened training center features a full-time staff of four, and the roaster directly sources 100 percent of the approximately 60 different coffees it brings each yearâ€”major commitments for a company of its size.
And the grand plan behind it all, according to Mor? "To continue to explore coffee and roasting, having cafes [and] giving good service." Four Barrel is like the kid in school who gets straight A's but who you still can't help but like.