You say siphon—I say Slayer. If the hype is to be believed, then the Fourth Wave of coffee has begun. In the life span of java, the four-wave theory is broken down thusly:
The post-WWII rise of instant coffee (first); Starbucks and Peet’s (second); obsessive, bean-sourcing micro-roasters like Blue Bottle and Four Barrel (third); and what I’ll deem the “machine age” (fourth).
The Slayer, a handcrafted espresso machine that hails from Seattle, is this movement’s de facto mascot. Only SoMa newcomer Sightglass Coffee has the $18,000 beauty—one of fewer than 20 in the country. (Four Barrel employs a $16,000 Italian-made La Marzocco, while Ritual opts for the Seattle-made Synesso, also $18,000. Ecco, slated to open in Potrero Hill this summer, is choosing between the two.) With its wooden handles and sleek lines, the Slayer is a looker, but more importantly, it gives baristas the kind of power coffee nerds can only dream of. The water pressure can be changed on a shot midpull; settings for specific beans can be customized. Co-owner Jerad Morrison acknowledges coffee cultishness, but hopes to make Sightglass approachable. “I know there’s a big part of the population that does not care,” he says. “There are geeks, then there are those who just want a cup of coffee.” But if you’re going for street cred, get to Sightglass while it’s still in start-up mode—set up in a garage, amid the construction that will become, by mid-month, the cafe and roastery.
270 Seventh St., 415-861-1313, sightglasscoffee.com