Cutely situated in SOMA between the Design and Folsom Districts lies the adorable and irresistable new Telescope Coffee. Considerably a hidden gem, this fully POC female-run shop has been rising up on all the must-visit San Francisco coffee shop lists, and for delicious, refreshing reasons.
Brewed out of a childhood friendship between co-owners Jenny Ngo and Annie Ko, Telescope coffee incredibly serves up unique coffee concoctions which are not only perfectly balanced, but also sources fair-trade coffee beans from sustainable roaster Cosmic Dust Coffee, based out of San Jose.
Using custom-made and exclusive blends just for Telescope Coffee, the 9th street community anchor has been able to consistently provide popular drinks such as their signature Iced Rose Latte, and Marshall Farm's Honeycomb Latte.
The owners' Asian culture and upbringing truly plays a vital factor in not only in their beverages' inspirations, but also for the store's mission overall, as Jenny emphasizes, "one thing we want to highlight at Telescope is nostalgia."
By playing off on classic childhood favorites from various cultures, Telescope Coffee is able to powerfully provide a relatable coffee and snack experience that is playful, inventive, and puts customers in a comforting mood.
One of Ngo's favorites growing up is the traditional Vietnamese phin drip cofee, as she fondly remembers "just watching it drip as you're enjoying your meal," while being treated to pho with her parents.
Today she has ingeniously reimagined its ingredients while still remaining true to the cultural flavors and preparation, utilizing condensed oat or coconut milk sourced from a Thai woman-owned small business for dairy-free options.
Coffee isn't their only specialty here, though, as they have a stunning display case that greets you with gorgeous handmade pastries as soon as you enter their delightful shop.
Ngo is a pro at both coffee and baking, having trained as a pastry chef at The Art Institute of San Francisco and worked at restaurants such as Michael Mina, Eleven Madison Park, and Crown Shy.
Each confection is made in-house, with our recommendations being their Filipino-inspired Ube Flan Cake, and their Pumpkin Almond Tart with Toasted Merinque.
This year's AAPI month was also pivotal for the charming cafe, as they began being open for all seven days, and had POC local mom-and-pop Ocean Malasada Co partner with them to sell their delectable Malasadas in limited tropical flavors such as passionfruit coconut & Dulce de Leche.
Ngo admires that all the support from their nearby SOMA community "has been spectacular.” Telescope Coffee offers a scope not only into the co-owners' heartfelt passions, but also into their cultural upbringings and worldly inspirations, inviting you to step inside to admire their delicate coffee craftsmanship and even warmly say hi!
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Telescope Coffee is located on 451 9th Street and is open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Artistic apparel and other delightful merchandise are also available for sale on their website.
Photography by: Noah Buscher/Unsplash