Eileen Hassi | Ritual Coffee Roasters - Find. Eat. Drink.

Ritual Coffee Roasters, Eileen Hassi Rinaldi, San Francisco, CA, California, Napa, CA, Wine Country, California Wine Country, Best Coffee In San Francisco, Coffee Roasters, Where to drink coffee in San Francisco, Best Coffee Beans, How to Drink Coffee, How To Make Coffee, Best Coffee in NYC, Long Island City, Barista, Espresso, Cappuccino, Pour Over




San Francisco, CA & Napa, CA


Q. Describe Ritual Coffee Roasters:

A. We are a coffee roaster with four coffee bars and we source nearly all of our coffee directly from producers. As far as roast style, we are on the lighter end of the spectrum. When we first started sourcing coffee directly from coffee farmers in 2006, we were probably the smallest company doing that. Exporters really did not know what to do with us. And now, there are a lot of exporters who are realizing that there is a great market for that and it’s really the way they can ensure that producers are making money.

Q. How did you get into the coffee business?

A. I got into the coffee industry in 1999 when I graduated from college and I was trying to figure out what to do with my life. I just happened to take a job managing a coffee shop. I thought it would be a really good, mindless job where I could figure out what to do with my life. As soon as I started doing it, I knew it was what I wanted to do. Then I moved to Seattle where I got really into the espresso culture, started learning a lot about being a barista and working on my skills making coffee. I worked for a company called Torrefazione Italia, which was bought out by Starbucks.

Q. Are you a Starbucks fan?

A. Anybody who works in the coffee industry has to give Starbucks some credit. People in Marfa, TX know what a latte is because of Starbucks. They created a culture of people spending three, four, five dollars for a drink and not making coffee at home, which has benefitted everybody in the coffee industry.

Q. How has coffee in San Francisco changed since you first opened in 2005?

A. It’s funny because in 2007 we made a postcard that said ‘San Francisco ain’t known for good coffee yet’ and I am thrilled to say that people know that San Francisco is one of the best cities in the world for coffee right now. There has been an explosion of people opening cafes and roasteries and really taking quality seriously. The people in the Bay Area have definitely responded. They are really enthusiastic about good coffee. In 2005, it was kind of a niche culture of people who were living in Seattle or Portland who were into good coffee. It was people who happened to live near one of the good coffee places.  Now if you live in San Francisco, chances are you probably drink good coffee.

Q. Baristas have a reputation for being inflexible, even bordering on surliness.

A. I think you will see that disappearing in the next year or so. That is my prediction for the coffee scene. It started when good coffe was only available in a handful of places and the baristas had a great deal of power. ‘I have this amazing product and this is one of two places in the city where you can get it and we know you want it.’

I was in New York recently and the experiences I had were really different. The baristas and the shop owners were going out of their way to focus on customer service and be really accommodating and welcoming. I think it’s going to be a new trend changing from baristas who were wielding power and saying ‘No, I do not do that in low fat’ or ‘I don’t do that to-go’ to saying, ‘Yeah, whatever you want.’

Q. What’s your policy on making espresso to go?

A. It has been the same since day one which is we ask the customer, ‘Would you like it for here?’ We think it tastes better in a ceramic cup, but ultimately you never know why somebody is ordering something to go. You never know what is happening in their day. It only takes someone to say ‘I am bringing it to my wife in the hospital who just had chemo’ for you to shut up and never ask again.

Q. What do you order when you get coffee to go?

A.    It happen to me this morning because I normally drink a cappuccino. I always drink it in a for-here cup. But this morning my husband picked up coffee for me and so I’m drinking it from a paper cup. I get a latte and then I get more coffee in it. I do not feel that cappuccinos really travel well and it would never occur to me to order an espresso or macchiato to go.  I just wouldn’t bother.

Coffee Brewing Tips

Grind Fresh

I think most people know that grinding it fresh is better.

Water Temperature

What people do not know is the importance of the temperature of the water. Which is why most home brewers do a terrible job. The ideal water temperature should be around 202 to 203 degrees. We tested a bunch of home brewers and the average water temperature when they were brewing the coffee was about 160.

The lower temperature water is not hot enough to extract the right amount of coffee flavor. The flavors that get extracted first are also the more sour flavors. Which means when you are brewing coffee with the average home brewer, and especially using our coffee, it is going to taste weak and sour.

When you brew with coffee that is too hot, you can scald the coffee a little bit and you end up tasting more bitterness.

Brewing Method

I encourage people to use a brewing method where you have control over the temperature of the water. This means using either an individual pour-over, a Chemex or even a French press, which I don’t really love because it is hard to do it very consistently. The one I have been using is the AeroPress. It’s an individual dripper that is made by a Japanese company called Hario. The coffee brewer I use when I have people over is the Technivorm. It’s designed in a way that it actually brews with water that is the proper temperature.

Coffee : Water Ratio

I recommend weighing everything with a gram scale. The ratio depends on the brewing method. Using the AeroPress and making very small cups of coffee, I do 15 grams of coffee to 230 grams of water. If I were doing a full-sized coffee, I’d use 25 grams of coffee and 380 grams of water.


Boil the water and let it sit for a few seconds, it is going to be at a hot enough temperature to actually extract the coffee flavor from the coffee grounds.

Iced Coffee

I have two methods of iced coffee that I like. There is an intensity to cold brew that I really like. I like the intensity, as far as strength, but then I also like the mellowness as far as acidity. There is something really crisp and refreshing about it. But I also do not think it really does most coffees a justice. When I drink cold brewed iced coffee, you don’t get to taste the nuances of the coffee itself.

The other method that I like is the V60 recipe. We use the same amount of coffee, much less water and we change the extraction time. You get a really concentrated coffee and then you can pour the hot coffee over ice. Once the ice melts and becomes water, you end up with the right ratio to taste good. This method creates a really bright coffee with a lot of acidity and you get to enjoy whatever flavors that make the particular coffee special. This method is lighter and almost in some ways tea-like, because you get more of the acidity and it is almost tannic.


For espresso at home, the one I would recommend is the La Marzocco GS3, but it’s barely a home machine since the retail price is close to $7,000. Another home espresso machine I like is the Alex Duetto. It has a dual boiler system, which is the most important thing because you are not trying to steam milk and brew espresso with the same temperature water.

San Francisco | Where To Drink Coffee

Cappuccino at Four Barrel Coffee

Photo Credit: land_camera [flickr]

Four Barrel + Sightglasss

The usual suspects in San Francisco are us, Four Barrel, and Sightglass as far as roasters. I really like their spaces. They both have such beautiful cafes that I enjoy going to.

Four Barrel | fourbarrelcoffee.com

Valencia: 375 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94103 | T: 415.896.4289

Valencia: 736 Divisadero Street, San Francisco, CA 94117 | T: 415.345.1953

Sightglasss | www.sightglasscoffee.com

270 Seventh Street, San Francisco, CA 94103 | T: 415.861.1313

The Coffee Bar at Sightglass

Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink.

Saint Frank Coffee

Kevin Bohlin used to work for us and left to start his own shop. It's kind of the most exciting thing happening in San Francisco right now. It’s a a new model where he sources his own coffee, but we roast it. I don’t think anybody has done that before, where he figured out how to start relationships with farmers, but not with a roaster. He is a super charismatic person, who really loves coffee and loves the people behind it. He has done a lot of traveling to Honduras and El Salvador and his face lights up when he talks about being on the farm and making coffee for the producers. I’m excited about it.


Public Bikes Pop-up | 123 South Park Street, San Francisco, CA 94107

Russian Hill Opening Late Summer | 2340 Polk Street, San Francisco, CA 94109

Coffee by Saint Frank

Photograph courtesy of Saint Frank Coffee

NYC | Where To Drink Coffee

Cappuccino at La Colombe

Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink.

La Colombe

I love the La Colombe at 4th and Lafayette. As far as the designer cafes, it’s such an awesome experience.

400 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10003

T: 212.677.5834 | www.lacolombe.com

Macchiato at Everyman Espresso

Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink.

Everyman Espresso

It'a a great coffee experience here, they use Counter Culture coffee. Barista Sam Lewontin just won 3rd place at the National Barista Competition. He made me his signature beverage for the competition that was super creative.

301 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

T: 212.533.0524 | everymanespresso.com


Photograph courtesy of Sweetleaf


A wonderful place to hang out and drink great espresso and coffee. It’s a bit of a coffee-nerdy destination, but not in a way that it hits you over the head. It’s one of those places that if you really care about coffee in New York that's where you end up working. The baristas are really passionate. It also has a really cool, old beautiful aesthetic, almost like an old bar with dark wood and great lighting.


Long Island City | 10-93 Jackson Avenue, LIC, NY 11101 | T: 917.832.6726

Williamsburg | 135 Kent Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11211

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General Information

Ritual Coffee Roasters


1026 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
T: 415.641.1011


Flora Grubb Gardens
1634 Jerrold Avenue

San Francisco, CA 94124
T: 415.694.6448

Hayes Valley

432b Octavia Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
T: 415.865.0989


Oxbow Public Market
610 First Street
Napa, CA 94559
T: 707.253.1190




Recommended By

- Sommelier Etheliya Hanaova




Photograph courtesy of Ritual Coffee Roasters

Photograph courtesy of Ritual Coffee Roasters