Staff Writer Madeleine Forbes Checks Out the New Craze on Four-dollar Toast
More independent coffee shops are opening around the city, trying to make their mark with different coffee roasts, fancy baked goods, and more recently— toast. Toast is the latest artisanal food craze that has taken over SF. Cafés are using bread from local bakers and putting their own twist to the standard breakfast toast.
The Mill is a coffee shop that I like to come to quite often, especially when I have free time in my afternoons to meet up with a friend or to get some work done. Located close to campus, the Mill is a huge space with high ceilings and several seating areas, with both community and individual tables. I’ve had quite a few things from here, but my favorite items are their daily toasts and iced coffee with almond milk. Their daily toasts and toppings include: a cinnamon-sugar toast, a rosemary and olive toast with butter and sea salt, and a sourdough toast with almond butter, honey, and flaked sea salt. Every time I order their toast, made with Josey Baker Bread, it is excellent in both texture and rich in flavor. They serve other items such as brownies, cookies, and breads all made by local bakers, and you can also buy the bread that they make their toast with, located on the metal racks next to the register. Made with Four Barrel Coffee, their drinks, especially their mochas, are worth every $3 to $4 spent. If you are looking for something more refreshing, they also have their housemade lemonade that you can get with strawberry compote.
The staff is quite helpful, with their employees being friendly most of the time and making sure that customers orders are sent out soon after they are ordered. The Mill is a great place for students to study, with their large, open space, many seating options, and their quiet ambiance that allows for real work to get done.
Stepping into Trouble Coffee early in the morning is the perfect way for anyone to start their day—with coffee, toast, the fresh smell of the sea, and the sun peaking out of the thick fog that always hovers over the Outer Sunset. Outside the shop is a chalkboard sign on the sidewalk that says “See the Sea,” noting that this place is for both coffee and beach lovers alike.
Trouble Coffee is a small space, but full of character. The shop is filled with antiques, including a plastic pony hanging from the ceiling, a pair of worn leather boots that props the door open, a cloth mannequin with a string of pearls hanging around it, and a dried blowfish sitting on one of their many shelves. Their coffee roasts have names like “Elbow Grease” and “The Hammer” that perfectly suit the shop’s eccentric atmosphere.
As I stepped up to the cluttered counter, I asked the guy working at the register for a simple drip coffee and if they still had some of their cinnamon sugar toast. With a genuine smile he said “Of course,” knowing that this item is something that they always have on hand. I took my coffee and toast with excitement and sat in the sweet little parklet right outside the shop, decorated with precious succulents and a huge tree branch swooping right through it. I immediately dived into my toast. It was fluffier than other toasts I’ve had, and thickly sliced, with butter oozing through its pores and doused with a cinnamon-sugar blend on top. It was simply mouth-watering and very complementary to the rich, acidic coffee I had.
I must say that I was very pleased with Trouble Coffee’s presentation in both food and customer service. The staff was very friendly, serving guests with enthusiasm while inquiring about their day. The quirky shop played music that was eclectic, with a rock-alternative feel to it, their overall aesthetic was very vintage and a bit edgy, and lastly, their coffee and toast were fantastic. They also had other pastries such as scones and breads, and they offer other drinks such as coconut water, which they serve from the coconut itself. Before you go, don’t forget to grab one of their many free stickers with their logo and cool sayings such as “Be flexible, I am.” Whether you go alone or with a friend, try to head to the beach to enjoy your delicious treats and escape the chaos of the city for a refreshing breeze and beautiful view of the ocean.