A San Francisco Winter

A barista easily notices the sudden onset of an S.F. winter.

It begins with the holidays as The City empties out. Then, as people return from their holiday journeys, something changes. As the weather becomes a touch colder, maybe a little rainy, coworkers meetings last longer than expected, friends drink tea longer into the night. Within a few weeks of the new year winter can seem busier than the summer.

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Along with that busy feeling come familiar faces and an interesting observation. The neighbors return from their hometowns with stories of feet of snow and stinging wind – eyes wide open as they carry on about it – yet everyone takes note when the mornings are crisp or the rain lasts longer than a couple of days. We have an interesting definition of winter in our town that seems to ebb and flow with our various acclamations.

It seems the season isn’t much about the weather in SF, rather, it’s about the way we’re a little more relaxed and spend a little more time together. It’s about drinking coffee with a friend in a damp park, next to a tree that decided to lose its leaves in January instead of November, and how excited we are to wear our winter coats because its below sixty degrees.

The holidays are over and the rhythms of The City are slowly building again. Until they pick back up, your barista will be celebrating their special perspective on the quirky reality of winter in San Francisco.

Here’s hoping you celebrate too.


Everyone can check out even more of our winter perspective on Instagram @contrabandsf 

Ethipoia Kochere

If you’ve been into Contraband you’ll have noticed that we’re really into pour-overs. To start the new year we’ve debuted a new coffee and with it we’re doing something that we’ve never done before: had two coffees from the same country – at the same time – in our pour-over line up!

They are Ethiopia Yirgacheffe “Kochere” and Ethiopia Sidamo “Guji”.

Bring your coworker to Fifth Street or your partner to Larkin so that one of you can get a Guji and the other a Kochere – just hope the other person will share because these coffees are awesome! Don’t limit yourself to a pour-over either. These two coffees are also a part of our cold brew and single-origin espresso rotations.

We’re excited to start 2018 with two Ethiopias that are super on point and surprisingly different!

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Ethiopia “Kochere”

Flavor Profile: white wine, strawberries that are sort of white at the top, a hint of lemon.

Region: Gedeo Zone, Ethiopia

Altitude: 1800 – 2000 meters

Process: fully washed

Ethiopia “Guji” 

Flavor Profile: spiced graham, earthy blueberries, bit of vanilla.

Region: Guji Zone, Oromia Region, Ethiopia

Altitude: 1800 – 2200 meters

Process: natural process

Note the difference regarding how they’re processed – one is washed and one is natural processed. You’ll have fun tasting difference!

Illicit Espresso

What’s up with our Illicit Espresso?

Contraband is proud of it for a few reasons.

We’re proud that our neighborhood on Larkin St. has loved it for over seven years.

What makes us most proud, though, is that the Illicit reflects who we are: a Bay Area operation where the whole is greater than the sum of our diverse individual parts.  We’re sure you’ll know where our Espresso is from because it stands strong on its own and stands up to anything you throw at it!

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Whether you order a little Macchiato or a sweet, complex Iced Seperator you’ll know of the spro! And if you’re one of those customers who’s been drinking straight shots for years you’ll have noticed that- like Contraband, the Bay, and the neighborhood- some things have changed over time, but ever since we found this unique flavor we’ve been sure to keep it around! 

Here’s the run down on the Illicit Espresso blend: 

Flavor Profile: mesquite, dark chocolate, caramel sweetness 

Current Origins: Costa Rica, Colombia, Guatemala and Brazil 

Altitudes: ranging from 800 meters to 2100 meters 

Processing: Washed and Natural mix