Verve Coffee Roasters, Market Street

The piccolo part of my one-and-one at Verve Coffee Roasters, Market Street, San Francisco.Verve Coffee Roasters, the international coffee shop/roaster chain, is primarily California-based. Starting in Santa Cruz, where it has four outlets, including its flagship Pacific Avenue store, it’s spread to Los Angeles (three, soon to be four¸  locations), San Francisco, and across the Pacific to Japan, where there are now three outposts. Having visited its Omotesando store in Tokyo last year, and its Spring Street location in Los Angeles earlier during this trip, calling in on today’s Coffee Spot, Verve’s solitary San Francisco location, meant that I’d visited all four cities where Verve has stores. Except that Verve is also in Kamakura in Japan. Bugger. Oh well, I’ll be in Japan later this year…

You’ll find the usual coffee options, the Streetlevel seasonal blend joined by the featured espresso (another blend, Sermon, during my visit) and decaf, all the shots pulled on a custom four-group Kees van der Westen. Meanwhile, the batch-brew option is joined by three single-origin pour-overs through Kalita Wave filters using the Modbar modular system. If you’re hungry, there’s a small brunch menu until two o’clock, with cake/pastries served all day. All the coffee’s available in retail bags, along with a selection of merchandising and coffee equipment.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • On the corner of Market (right) and Church (left), stands this interesting building.
  • This is the view along the right-hand side, which runs down Market Street...
  • The sign on the third window down gives the game away. There's also a door down here.
  • However, the main door is here, right on the corner.
  • Meanwhile, this is the view down the left-hand side, along Church Street...
  • I loved the solitary column right on the corner...
  • I was particularly fond of the Corinthian capital at the top. And the balcony above.
  • The door leads into a broad, open, porch-like structure with windows on both sides.
  • Beyond the bench on the right, two broad steps lead up to the coffee shop...
  • ... where you'll find the counter dead ahead.
  • Meanwhile, on the left-hand side, between the two windows, is the retail secton...
  • ... with more retail/merchandising below the till on the counter.
  • The counter stretches off along Market Street, with the seating on the right.
  • The view back to the door. The seating is in two areas, the first right by the door.
  • There's a standing bar at the end nearest the door...
  • ... and another beyond that in the window.
  • At the other end is another standiing bar, with a smaller/lower one in the window.
  • Finally, there's a narrow four-person table in middle of the space.
  • There's a second door (the one on Market Street)  between the two seating areas.
  • This offers step-free access into Verve.
  • Beyond this is a broad C-shaped seating area with a padded bench around the edges.
  • Wooden tables double as stools. Or wooden stools double as tables. One of the two.
  • The window is good for people watching...
  • ... but is even better for streetcar watching. The F Line runs down Market Street...
  • ... and the stop is conveniently right on the corner.
  • Meanwhile, out on Church Street, you'll find the J Line, which also runs vintage...
  • ... streetcars, seen here turning onto Market Street.
  • The J Line has more modern streetcars as well.
  • Back inside, Verve is a very green coffee shop, with plants galore, including this one.
  • Most of them, however, hang from the ceiling, like this one...
  • ... and this one.
  • Then there's this one, which just grows all over the ceiling!
  • The retail shelves have the usual mix of retail coffee, coffee kit and merchandising.
  • Verve sells these single-cup drippers which I've only ever seen before in Japan/China.
  • To business. The counter is dead ahead as you enter...
  • ... with more coffee kit on a pair of shelves on the counter-front.
  • There are two tills flanking the glass cake/pastry display case...
  • ... although when I got there, mid-afternoon, there weren't many cakes left!
  • Neat till, by the way, with its own customer-facing tablet. No flipping screens here!
  • There's a handy drinks and food menu on a clip board off to the right...
  • ... with the same menus on the wall above the batch-brewers.
  • The rest of the coffee operation is to the right, along the counter.
  • The three Mythos One espresso grinders come first...
  • ... followed by the custom Kees van der Westen Spirit espresso machine.
  • Finally there are three Modbar pour-over modules, the choices of bean laid out in front.
  • A view of the coffee end of the counter, as seen from the right-hand end.
  • You collect your coffee from between the espresso machine/pour-over.
  • This is mine, a one-and-one. And how's that for a well-balanced coffee?
  • My piccolo and espresso in a less precarious arrangement.
  • I'll leave you with solo shots of my piccolo...
  • ... and my espresso.
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Verve Coffee Roasters’ only San Francisco location to date opened in 2017 on the corner of Market and Church Streets in the southern part of Lower Haight. Frequent streetcars run along both Market and Church Streets, making Verve an easy destination on public transport.

Occupying a narrow rectangular space, long side running along Market Street, its front, left-hand corner is cut off by Church Street, resulting in a small wedge that terminates with a wide, glass door at the junction of the two streets. If you don’t make it any further, there’s an open space here, with a bench to the right, beyond which a couple of broad steps lead up into the coffee shop.

The counter is set back on the left, running maybe half the length of Verve, with an enclosed kitchen beyond the far end. The seating, meanwhile, occupies the right-hand side (Market Street). There are two broad, arched windows on the left and four on the right, making for a very bright space (the shop used to be an optometrist before Verve opened).

On the left, a large retail selection occupies the space between the two windows, the second window behind the counter, which has a fairly unorthodox shape. The left-hand end faces the door, perpendicular to the wall, twin tills flanking the display case for the cakes. It then takes a 45° turn to run parallel to Market Street, where you’ll find the three espresso grinders and custom four-group Kees van der Westen Spirit espresso machine, with three Modbar pour-over modules at the far end.

The seating, on the Market Street side, is split into two distinct areas, both occupying two of the broad, arched windows, separated by a second door which provides step-free access from Market Street. It’s also conveniently located opposite the collection point, which is by the pour-over modules, so you can enter at the far end, order at the till, collect in the middle and leave via the second door.

Alternatively grab a seat if you can, with the first seating area, opposite the counter, proving particularly popular. There’s a standing bar at either end, with another in the right-hand window, while the left-hand window has a single-person table. Finally, running parallel to the windows down the centre is a low, four-person table.

The second seating area, opposite the kitchen, has a single, wide C-shaped bay of padded benches, its back to Market Street, with eleven small, square wooden coffee tables which double as additional stools if required.

Having had a pour-over and the Sermon blend (as a one-and-one) the previous weekend at Spring Street in Los Angeles, I tried the Streetlevel blend, also as a one-and-one. I’d had it before, most recently at Fourtillfour in Phoenix, but that was over a year ago.

As an espresso, it was smooth and well-balanced, developing more acidic notes on the second and third sips. Meanwhile, in milk, it was excellent, a single-shot topped up with milk in an espresso cup being pretty much the perfect ratio (my taste has definitely developed over the last six years: there was a time I’d have said the flat white was the perfect ratio!). Together, espresso and milk combined to produce a rich, smooth, creamy drink, a very welcome introduction to both Verve and San Francisco.

2101 MARKET STREET • SAN FRANCISCO • CA 94114 • USA +1 415-780-0867
Monday 06:00 – 20:00 Roaster Verve (espresso + filter)
Tuesday 06:00 – 20:00 Seating Tables, Benches, Window-bars
Wednesday 06:00 – 20:00 Food Breakfast, Lunch, Cake
Thursday 06:00 – 20:00 Service Counter
Friday 06:00 – 20:00 Payment Cards + Cash
Saturday 06:00 – 20:00 Wifi Free (with code)
Sunday 06:00 – 20:00 Power Limited
Chain International Visits 19th April 2019, 26th July 2022

You can also see what I made of all the other Verve Coffee Roasters locations that I’ve visited.

Liked this? Then don’t forget to check out the Coffee Spot Guide to San Francisco for more great Coffee Spots.

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6 thoughts on “Verve Coffee Roasters, Market Street

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