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Trouble Coffee, Bayview's Anti Coffee Shop

Trouble Coffee owner Giulietta Carrelli

Trouble Coffee owner Giulietta Carrelli, photo by Erin Kunkel

“Fuck coffee. This is not about coffee,” says Giulietta Carrelli, 33, inside her new 110-square-foot Bayview clubhouse nevertheless known as Trouble Coffee & Coconut Club. Everything that stands still—including the La Marzocco Linea espresso machine—is plastered with rock-and-roll stickers, eclectic memorabilia, and mix tapes and vinyl from Carrelli’s collection. Aside from the proprietor’s tattoos (including Pippy-style freckles), Trouble has little in common with its industry kin, focusing less on erecting another temple to caffeine and more on building community.

Carrelli, a single mother of 4-year-old twins, opened her original location in the Outer Sunset in 2007, around the time that Blue Bottle, Ritual Coffee Roasters, and Four Barrel set up shop in trendier neighborhoods. Then a regular couch surfer, Carelli’s only bed was one tattooed on her foot—wherever she walked was where she was going to sleep—and she couldn’t hold a job, so she created her own. Dedicated to the people who helped her during a rough time, Carrelli sold her dog and records, called in favors and contributions from family and friends, and got Trouble off the ground for $1,000.

“The shop got me on my feet,” says Carrelli, who lived at the store for a year before moving into a stable home near Ocean Beach. Today, she’s able to offer profit-sharing opportunities to her staffers, who are hired not for their die-hard knowledge of the subtleties of an Ethiopian roast but for their fit within Trouble’s family framework. “They’re working at a community space. They might as well be running a hostel,” Carrelli says of her employees, who will just as soon walk your dog or restring your guitar as they will make you a latte.

Like the owner herself, Trouble is about speed, survival, and comfort. These come in the form of java—Guts (drip coffee) and Honor (espresso), custom blends roasted by Intelligentsia—Thai coconuts and fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice (which Carrelli lived on while destitute), and hefty slabs of cinnamon-sugar toast like her mom used to make. As you sit and sip, Carrelli might just pull up a chair and read your fortune. // Trouble Coffee & Coconut Club, 1730 Yosemite Avenue (Bayview)

This article was published in 7x7's July/August issue. Click here to subscribe.