Jumpin’ Java

Jumpin’ Java – 139 Noe St, San Francisco, CA 94114

Apparently, I’ve been in San Francisco for eleven, and not ten years.  I was recently corrected, tho I still can’t make the math work in my head .. that being said, Jumpin’ Java was my first café in San Francisco.  I remember reading on yelp, or something like that, that JJ was the place to meet nerdy gay men. Sounded great, except that prying a nerdy anyone away from free wifi and a more than generous smattering of power strips is next to impossible.  Today, JJ has further embraced their status as coffee shop/office-space-for-telecommuters by mounting some serious commercial grade power-strips to the bench seating along the walls. I have, over the years, tried stopping back in, only to find that there is no real estate to be had. Not an empty seat, and not one barren outlet.  Nothing to hear but buttons tapping and coffee mugs clanking in the sink behind the counter.

Just outside the front door is a beautiful sidewalk garden, and a long, built-in bench situated next to a knee-high, Japanese Maple bonzi, and under the canopy of a large old eucalyptus tree.  Inside, JJ still looks exactly the same as it did ten (or eleven) years ago, everything in the place is beautifully distressed without looking or feeling dirty or neglected.  This place is one of the is one of very few establishments that have not painted over their 1990’s sponge painted walls – a craze that hit San Francisco HARD across its pretty face.  Don’t be mistaken, this is not a criticism – somehow, the sponge paint here is timeless, perfect, and well-played.  I only know of one other shop still dabbed in duo-tones; there it looks like the a student-run, middle school, general store, or a portable, flea market booth selling knit place mats, and hard to find Beanie Baby set (not the one-offs, the sets).

So, what about the coffee? (well, I’m still drinking >half decaf so adjust the weight of my words accordingly) Meh.  Standard. a little weak, luke warm – warming the mug first would have helped. There are a handful of sandwiches on the menu hovering around $6.95/per, a bunch of off-site, baked goods (all individually plastic-wrapped) including the famous ginger spiced cake, which I recall people lining up for on delivery days to ensure their weekly fix.

I still love this place, it sits in one of the most beautiful, two block stretches in the city. A wide sidwalked, residential street full of built-in, and resident maintained planters. There is a man, a neighborhood fixture usually donned in primary yellow from head to sneaker, who runs a pop-up sidewalk flower shop near the corner of Noe and Henry Streets, among the flowering bushes trees and shrubs.

This place is culturally a great standard for all standards to strive for. Sure the coffee could be better, but everything else is perfectly in place.

Free Wireless: Yes – No time limit
Refills: $1.00
Food: Bagels, pastries, cookies, sandwiches, standard fare
Price: $  of  $$$ (Small drip $1.55)
Coffee Method: (Filtered Drip by the pot)
Coffee Favor:

  • Douche Brew
  • Artisan Brew
    • Standard
  • Brown Water
  • Dirty Water
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