How to Beat Our Mint Plaza Line in 5 Easy Steps

As far as café conundrums go, the line at our Mint Plaza location in San Francisco has always been a bit of a Rubik’s Cube. We’ve essentially been asking ourselves the same questions since it opened in January of 2008: How can we help guests faster while still making them feel welcome? How can we make the most of the limited space behind bar? And, perhaps most philosophically: How can we crank out drinks that are inherently time consuming in the least time-consuming way possible?

Our Mint crew, ever the industrious bunch, has begun to crack the code. Here’s what they dreamed up. 

1. Add Another Register

Much like drumsticks, eyeballs and ice cream, cash registers are more effective when paired. Adding another one has helped us take nearly twice as many drink orders in an hour, all without causing too much craziness behind the espresso machine. 

2. Add A Brand-Spanking New Espresso Machine

Though our 1979 San Marco was a charming addition to the space, it behaved about exactly the way you’d imagine a 35 year-old espresso machine to behave. Our new guy is a Kees van der Westen Spirit, with two groupheads and an adorable little bottle emblazoned on the front. Here, we offer all espresso drinks with either our 17ft Ceiling blend or a rotating single origin selection.

3. Squeeze in Another Barista

Yes, things are getting snug back there. But these folks are pros, and they’ve gotten quite good at working in close quarters. Adding one more has helped smooth things out. And, as an unexpected benefit, the crew has almost reached the point of telepathy. Almost.

4. And Speaking of the Crew, Make Sure You’ve Got an Amazing One

This one’s pretty self-explanatory, but definitely worth mentioning.

5. When All Else Fails, Check the Zaarly Cam

How dedicated are the good folks at the nearby startup Zaarly? Consider this: A couple years ago, they rigged up a web cam to keep an eye on our line. Shortly thereafter, they made it available for public viewing. It’s not a bad way to stay informed.    


What Should Online Guests Expect Over the Next 24 Hours?

Friends,

We’re in the home stretch of migrating all Tonx subscribers over to the Blue Bottle web site – and sprucing up the experience for everyone who’s already been ordering coffee from us online. Without going into too much detail about 1s and 0s (we’ve now got a whole digital team for that), here’s an idea of what you’ll experience over the next 24 hours.

At 7 p.m. PST tonight, tonx.org and bluebottlecoffee.com will shut down temporarily for maintenance. During this time, both sites will be inaccessible for normal use. You’ll see a message like this one if you try to visit us:

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We’ll miss you too! But here’s the good news: By 6 a.m. PST tomorrow (Sept. 18), our site will be back up and running as normal. Tonx’s site, meanwhile, will begin redirecting to bluebottlecoffee.com.

What will you behold on the other side of all this? Plenty.

Updated packaging – We’ve been hard at work developing a new look and feel for our Blue Bottle at Home packaging – something that combines Tonx’s elegant accessibility with our own ideas about a delightful at-home experience. Starting tomorrow, each new order (except for current Blue Bottle subscribers’ one pound bags) will arrive like this:

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Beauty, ain’t it? Now from the back:

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Now once more, as a happy brewing family:

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Sizes - For existing Blue Bottle guests, we’ve added more flexible size options. Starting tomorrow, you’ll be able to subscribe to coffee in 6-oz, 12-oz, 24-oz, and 36-oz increments (Tonx guests have always had these options.) Blue Bottle guests who’d been receiving coffee in one-pound bags will still be able to receive those, too.

Offerings – We’ve broken subscription offerings into three main categories.

  • Origin Subscription: Changes bi-weekly (just like Tonx’s subscription did) and includes a different single origin coffee sourced, roasted and delivered by our combined teams.
  • Blend Subscription: A rotating shipment of our drip coffee blends, including favorites like Three Africans, Bella Donovan, and Giant Steps.
  • Espresso Subscription: A rotating shipment of your favorite espressi - blends like Hayes Valley and 17ft Ceiling, along with the occasional single origin standout.

Changing, Skipping and Pausing – Adjusting your subscription will be easier than ever. That might mean tweaking your delivery cadence – to every week, every two weeks, every three weeks, or every month – or skipping a delivery when you’re away. You can also pause your subscription with ease.

Finally, Service – Our fully integrated customer support team is ready to answer all of your questions. Just reach out to support@bluebottlecoffee.com, or write us on social media (Facebook, Twitter or Instagram). Serah and Kristina, our customer support extraordinaires, are standing by and ready to get you squared away.

We remain excited as ever to serve you coffee, and we’re thankful for your patience as we put the final polish on this.

Thanks as always,

Blue Bottle


Friday Office Soundtrack: Jessie Ware - “Say You Love Me”

"Say You Love Me," from Jessie Ware’s sophomore album Tough Love, polishes elements of 90’s-era R&B with a contemporary self-awareness. It’s also a seemingly simple creation: Ware’s distinctive vocals, for the most part, lead the charge. They’re powerful not for extraordinary prowess or range, but for their sincerity and expert emotional delivery. Soft guitars and bass, barely audible beneath Ware’s lyrics at the track’s start, grow as a choir bursts in and Ware reaches her heartbreaking conclusion. “Say You Love Me” is a beautifully written song sure to ease broken hearts for years to come. 




Friday Office Soundtrack: Jenny Lewis - “She’s Not Me”

It’s been six years since we’ve gotten a solo album from Jenny Lewis. Although she’s collaborated with artists like Brandon Flowers and Vampire Weekend - and released an under-appreciated album titled Are We Having Fun Now? with her boyfriend Johnathan Rice - she’s flown relatively under-the-radar. Thankfully, this month saw the release of The Voyager, a brief and intimate 90’s-influenced album that her fans have been hungering after for nigh on a decade.

“She’s Not Me,” is a poppy, glittering ode to regret and moving on. Lewis’ vocals have grown up from her Rilo Kiley days, yet retain the casual, unaffected tone that first defined her. They’re histrionic at times, but they take pains not to overdose on the heartbreak that plagues so many artists who attempt the level of honesty Lewis nails here.

“Bet you tell her I’m crazy,” she croons. “Remember the night I destroyed it all, when I told you I cheated, and you punched through the drywall, I took you for granted…but she’s not me.”

How could we forget?


The #messageinabluebottle Hunt Is On!

Calling all Angelenos, from Ontario to Burbank! You’re cordially invited to join our inaugural #messageinabluebottle treasure hunt. We’re so excited we can barely tamp our shots evenly.

Here’s how it works: From Aug. 1-20, we Blue Bottlers (along with a small collection of our friends and partners) will hide a series of literal blue bottles across Los Angeles. Each weekday, we’ll Instagram the bottle in one of L.A.’s more recognizable nooks, then drop a hint or two to our followers.

From there, the hunt is on. The first person to find the bottle, Instagram it (be sure to tag @bluebottlela and hashtag #messageinabluebottle) wins whichever prize is inside. Easy-peasy.

What are these prizes, you ask? Let’s break them down for you.

All 20 bottles contain a coupon for one free half pound of coffee, to be picked up at our Aug. 20 launch party. Each scroll also doubles as your admission ticket to the party.

10 out of 20 bottles contain a gift certificate for a month of free drinks at our Arts District coffee bar! One. Month. Free. Note: Because these gift certificates will be distributed at the party in August, the offer actually runs from Aug. 21-Sept. 21

Still with us? Splendid!
  
2 out of 20 bottles contain a voucher for a roasting, cupping and green coffee lesson with Charlie Habegger, Blue Bottle’s Green Coffee Apprentice.

 2 out of 20 bottles contain a voucher for a private espresso training session with Mike Phillips, 2010’s World Barista Champion / Handsome Coffee’s co-founder /Blue Bottle’s brandy-new Director of Training. 

                  

Finally, just 1 out of the 20 bottles houses a certificate for dinner out at Bestia in L.A. with Michael Phillips, Charlie Habegger and Blue Bottle’s founder and CEO, James Freeman. You pick their brains; we’ll pick up the tab.

Here’s what the scrolls look like, once unravelled.

               

So whose Instagram feed ought you to be following to better your chances of snagging a bottle? We’ve compiled a handy list of folks, along with their handles, right below. We’re not telling who will post when – mostly because that would ruin the fun. We will admit, though, that @bluebottlela will be posting more than once.

Blue Bottle Coffee - @bluebottlela

Michael Phillips - @1shot4theroad

Matthew Kang, Eater L.A. - @mattatouille

Julie Wolfson, Sprudge - @juliewolfson

Sonja Rasula, Unique L.A. - @theuniquespace

Antonio Diaz, Life and Thyme - @lifeandthyme

Nudie Jeans - @nudiejeans

Bonnie Tsang, photographer - @bonnietsang

John Kingston, photographer - @kingstonphoto

Shea Parton, Apolis - @apolis

Ready? Steady? Let the hunt begin!


Welcoming Bacon Bacon to Oakland

We’re thrilled to announce that this Saturday, Aug. 2, we’ll be hosting a food truck from San Francisco’s Bacon Bacon at our Webster Street coffee bar. They’ll be setting up shop at 11 a.m. and serving near our cafe’s southern corner until 3 p.m. 

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For the past couple of years, we’ve been enjoying Bacon Bacon’s mouthwatering wares - their crisp, yolk-drenched breakfast sandwich; their meat-flecked Porky Fries - at events like Off the Grid and Outside Lands. As such, we were eager to tuck in our napkins and get going with a collaboration. But first, we thought we’d catch up with the company’s founder, Jim Angelus.

Angelus started Bacon Bacon almost exactly three years ago, after stints as a general manager at a handful of San Francisco restaurants, including E&O Trading Company and Kuleto’s. The company’s name, he says, came from a desire for simplicity in city awash with complexly labeled foodie treats.

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"You didn’t always know what kind of food a truck was selling," he says of the genre’s often baroque selections. So he made a vow: "I’m going to make it super obvious - something everyone can really identify with." Thus: the name.

It’s worked well for him. Three years on, Bacon Bacon operates two trucks (with plans for a third this fall) and a cozy cafe at 205 Frederick St., near Golden Gate Park.

And in case you were curious, we’re happy to report that their menu pairs quite nicely with coffee.