3 POC-Owned Cafés to Check Out in San Francisco

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We explore three noteworthy coffeehouses in the Golden City: Telescope Coffee, Pinhole Coffee, and Sextant Coffee Roasters.

BY EMILY JOY MENESES
BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE

Though the city has changed a lot over the years, one thing that has always been intrinsic to San Francisco is its vibrant coffee culture—a movement powered by people from all over the world and their desire to infuse their unique backgrounds and histories into the drinks they offer. Today, we’re showcasing the Golden City and three of its most notable POC-owned cafés: Telescope Coffee, Pinhole Coffee, and Sextant Coffee Roasters.

A honeycomb latte at Telescope Coffee. Photo courtesy of Telescope Coffee.

Telescope Coffee

Operating since 2021, Telescope Coffee is a partnership between Jenny Ngo and Jenny Huynh, and the café recently moved into their new location on Sixth Street. Jenny Ngo serves as the coffeehouse’s pastry chef, whipping up specials like strawberry jasmine almond tarts, s’mores cakes, and citrus meringue puffs, while Jenny Huynh runs the coffee program, serving beans from her San Jose, Calif.-based roastery Cosmic Dust Coffee.

Born and raised in San Francisco, Jenny Ngo serves as Telescope Coffee’s pastry chef. Photo courtesy of Telescope Coffee.

Notably, the shop’s menu features Vietnamese coffee, made with coffee beans that Jenny Huynh sources directly from Vietnam. Other customer favorites include the honeycomb latte and the mandarin clementine caramel latte—a drink the café recently added to their seasonal menu.

Jenny Huynh, Telescope’s coffee roaster, is also the founder of San Jose-based roastery Cosmic Dust Coffee. Photo courtesy of Telescope Coffee.

Pinhole Coffee

Located in San Francisco’s Bernal Heights, Pinhole was founded in 2014 by JoEllen Depakakibo, who got her start working at Intelligentsia Coffee in Chicago and Blue Bottle Coffee in California and New York. She brings her background into a variety of her cafe’s offerings—like the Masarap Blend (masarap meaning “delicious” in Tagalog) or the Cup of José Blend, named after her father.

One of Pinhole Coffee’s offerings is the Masarap Blend; masarap means “delicious“ in Tagalog.

The coffeehouse is also known for its creative seasonal and signature drinks, like the June Bug, infused with a house-made syrup of juniper berry, orange peel, rosemary, and orange blossom water, or blueberry pancake-inspired lattes infused with blueberry, lavender, and maple syrup. The café is also proudly queer-owned, showing support for other local queer-owned businesses like Modern Coffee, Kokak Chocolates, and Out and About Bookshop.

Sextant Coffee Roasters

Founded by first-generation Ethiopian Kinani Ahmed, Sextant Coffee Roasters specializes in direct-trade Ethiopian coffee—a reflection of Ahmed’s desire to share his country’s rich coffee culture with his home in San Francisco. One notable coffee offering is the Black Lion, an organic Yirgacheffe heirloom coffee with notes of honeywine, blueberry, and jasmine.

Sextant Coffee Roasters is located on San Francisco’s Folsom Street. Photo courtesy of Sextant Coffee Roasters.

On the menu, you’ll also find creative drinks like hibiscus lavender tea. Or check out the Espresso Collins: a Tom-Collins inspired drink made with espresso, sparkling water, lemon, and simple syrup.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Emily Joy Meneses (she/they) is a writer and musician based in Los Angeles. Her hobbies include foraging, cortados, vintage synths, and connecting with her Filipino roots through music, art, food, and beverage.

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