A friend of mine, David, realized I had become a coffee-geek even before I did. I had been bringing my own beans, and a filter cone into the office, and he called me out. He asked if I'd tried Bird Rock Coffee. At that time, nope.
The geek-thing was actually my father-in-law's 'fault' originally. Cool winter holidays at his home in Canada, the day starts at the coffee station. Fresh (burr) ground, single origin, aromatics! Oh man! Cone filtered. Not quite boiling water. Black.
His Starbucks cappuccino machine sits idol now until we arrive each year? Couple of things of note, he's smart, rigorous, and loves quality. So I know there must be something here. He ignores me, doing Sudoku, so there's no push, it's just sitting there...evident. Ha. I experimented, and changed....forever.
...back to David. He tells me, Bird Rock is doing things differently. It stuck, but I didn't do anything about it for a year (time wasted). Blue Bottle came first.
Blue Bottle seemed to 'get it' early. They took a rigorous approach to sourcing and roasting. Experimenting, optimizing, recording, standardizing. They left behind the compulsive need for the consistency of a dark roast, and embraced the potential for infinite variation nature provides. Coffee beans, it turns out, are a bit like grapes to wine. Go Blue Bottle...until alas, like so many things SF - a different compulsion arrived - tech $s & scale...
Anyway...I needed a new supply. Tried a shop in Portland. Did Stumptown. Then met a guy in La Jolla and happened to remember David's recommendation, and the rest is history. Bird Rock is different. They may have coined the term 'Direct Trade' meaning they work with the growers to optimize for the end consumer. (see video) Single origins, blends, sure they check all the boxes.
What is different is the zeal. The profound dedication to quality for quality's sake...for our sakes. :) Their beans and roasts are exceptionally good. When you grind a lighter roast, it fills the room with insanely gorgeous aromatics. The cup itself becomes an absolute delight each day....and the buzz...it's lighter, without that little crispy edge of angst you might get from over roasted beans.
Do yourself a favor, and try it. Their prices are fair, their place is fun, and if you dig a good cup of coffee, you'll have discovered a gem. Thanks David!