Stanza Coffee is expanding past its Haight Street, hole-in-the-wall roots and into the competitive SF coffee scene, with a badass, Bay Area exclusive espresso machine and a new location in the caffeinated-cool Mission district opening next month.
Part-owner and general manager of Stanza, young Aaron Caddel approached the vacant Haight Street building almost a year ago. Stanza Coffee opened in April, serving Redlands-based roaster Augie’s Coffee to a less-than-frenzied reception. A new coffee place in San Francisco isn't exactly anything to write home about, after all. However, the quickly increasing business developments indicates good news for the little coffee bar that could.
While the shop’s decor has a unique dose of rustic glam more akin to a wine bar, featuring heavy red curtains, burnt red walls, wood floors, and a series of wine barrel cafe tables positioned next to the window, Caddel envisions a battalion of interior, exterior, and branding changes for a more comfortable environment. He foresees a lighter, more cohesive color scheme for the dark walls, tables that are more conducive to laptop work, a brighter outside sign, window art with Stanza's new logo, and maybe even some couches for meandering coffee shop chit-chat.
Perhaps the most dramatic of developments is Stanza’s upcoming addition of a new, Mission district location at 3126 16th Street by early October. While Stanza's Haight location stocks both roasts and a wine tasting room, Caddel assures me that the store is really "a coffee shop, not a wine bar." Indeed, it seems that the rack of locally-sourced MJ Lord’s wines lining the back wall of the shop is merely a pleasant afterthought. The coffee bar menu, including a steaming cup of Ethiopian pour-over accompanied by a Mission Beach Cafe golden raisin-stuffed, vegan bran muffin, or the sweet, slow-drip-cold-brew iced coffee is enough. Luckily for self-proclaimed “coffee purist” Caddel, the Mission front will be more concentrated on the caffeine.
In fact, the Stanza team recently purchased the sole Bay Area distribution rights to the infamous Slayer espresso machine, a hulking, expensive, and wholly badass piece of coffee instrumentation manufactured in Seattle. Caddel tells me this new location will be much more focused on hosting a comfortable (think couches and a back patio) and community-oriented environment: while Haight Ashbury's combination of hippie-punks and tourists make for a fairly transient customer base, the excited manager can barely contain his enthusiasm when describing the steady clientele he anticipates at the new location.
Caddel recently closed down a potentially lucrative Union Square pop-up cart due to the fast-paced business’ quick turnover time and ensuing lack in presentation and quality, a product degradation that he says simply "hurt [his] soul." The vision for the new storefront focuses equally on product and presentation in order to give coffee the contemplation and appreciation the Stanza team believes it's due.
Stanza Coffee and Wine Bar
Open Mon.-Fri 6:30am-9pm; Sat.-Sun. 7:30am-9pm
1673 Haight, SF