Linea Caffe purchases, roasts, and serves the world’s finest coffees. The company strongly supports the sustainable efforts of farmers and organic farming techniques, and the coffees that Linea purchases command a much higher premium than fair trade pricing.

Since opening in September 2013, Linea has grown a loyal and devoted following of coffee and espresso lovers. The company has grown to 6 full-time and 6 part-time employees today, all with a wide coffee expertise, and they expect to add 4 full-time jobs as well as 5 part-time positions over the next 12 months.

Linea coffees are renowned for their inherent balance, approachability and sweetness (hence Linea’s name: read on and learn more below). They were awarded Best Espresso by San Francisco Magazine. Here’s what they have to say:
You can’t pull a shot in this town without inciting skirmishes over who does it best, but Linea pulls no punches when it comes to delivering peerless espresso. Co-owner and coffee legend Andrew Barnett’s version sports a sweet, eminently drinkable flavor profile laced with notes of caramel. Made from the café’s own micro-batch-roasted beans, it goes down nice and smooth, as does the refreshingly unpretentious customer service.

You can find Linea coffees at their café in the Mission district as well as on their website. They are also available for wholesale: Linea is sold or served at Pinhole Coffee, Cala Restaurant, The Morris, Bi-Rite Markets, Robin’s Cafe, Sqirl LA, Sweetwater Café, Joe’s Taco Lounge… to name a few.

SFMade interviewed Linea Caffe’s Founder and Owner, Andrew Barnett, in July 2019.

COMPANY FACTSHEET Linea Caffe
Full-time employees 6
Part-time employees 6
Founded in 2013
Useful links Website, Instagram
Café info 3417 18th St, SF. Open 7am-6pm M-F, 8am-6pm Sa-Su

 

Andrew Barnett roasting coffee beans on his Probat roaster.

Andrew, what is your background, and how/when did you get the idea for Linea Caffe?
As a young man, I trained as a dinner chef. In 1977, I started a career in coffee, working as a barista at San Francisco’s Higher Grounds Cafe. I fell madly in love with coffee and espresso and serving the local community.

In 1999, I started roasting my own coffee out of a little 800 sq. ft. warehouse in Sonoma County and launched a coffee company, Ecco Caffe. The Ecco venture ended up being a vanguard for a lot of what is now commonly referred to as “third wave” coffee.

Because of my background as a dinner chef, I wanted to know about my ingredients and connect directly with the farmers who produced these great coffees. In 2002, I started traveling to origin. My first trip was to Brazil, and it was a game changer. At that time there were only a handful of coffee roasters to meet with these farmers. It enabled me to develop longtime friendships as well as business relationships with a number of the most quality focused and environmentally friendly farmers on the planet.

During this period, I spent a great deal of time serving as a sensory judge for the World Barista Championship and tasted an array of the most delicious coffees from the world’s most talented baristas and roasters. It was a great education and gave me a unique perspective on where Ecco’s coffees fit in to the global scene.
Also during those years, I was selected many times as a judge for the Cup of Excellence coffee program. This program, founded in 1999, was an answer to a crisis in which commodity market coffee prices had dropped so low that farmers could no longer make a living. The program brought in an international jury of experts to taste and rate the best coffees, and the winning coffees from these competitions were then sold on an international online auction. This enabled the farmers to receive dramatically higher prices than they had through commodity markets.

In 2009, I sold Ecco to Intelligentsia Coffee, met my wife, Cathy, and moved back to San Francisco. I’d always dreamed of roasting coffee in San Francisco, opening cafes and serving the local community, and in 2013, I launched Linea Caffe.

Where does the name Linea Caffe come from?
Ok, so… Coffee beans are actually the seeds from the coffee fruit. If you are able to eat a ripened coffee cherry they are quite delicious and very sweet. Coffee is a culinary product and like great cuisine, you need the best ingredients in order to make something extraordinary.

Linea is the Italian word for line. The intention of Linea is to be that line that brings the sweetness of the coffee cherry on the farm to your morning cup.

How would you describe your company’s core values?
I actually have a list of the values that we embrace! Here they are:
Excellence, Hospitality, Exemplary taste
Kindness, Hard work, Compassion
Beautiful things, cleanliness, design aesthetics
Joy, Love, Passion
Integrity, Knowledge
Preserving the environment, Recycling, Composting
Humility, Diversity, Mindfulness

Why manufacture locally?
It’s always been my dream to be a San Francisco manufacturer. I love this city and my vision is to build community where I live. I love the rich history of coffee roasting in San Francisco which dates back to the 1850s when Hills Brothers started roasting on the waterfront, and want to be a part of that.

What should we look forward to from you?
Linea started roasting in our new Potrero Hill location last month and we’re planning to add a cafe to the space later this fall, one with lots of indoor seating. We’ll also have a series of ongoing educational classes there, where people can learn to brew coffee and meet some of the world’s most visionary and quality-focused coffee producers.

 

Why did you join SFMade?
It’s really important to have great mentors and advisors in growing a business. I couldn’t think of a better and more diverse group of experts to be working with than the SFMade team. I wanted to become a member as soon as I had learned about it. A number of my favorite manufacturers and professional colleagues are SFMade Members.

~ An interview by Pierre @ SFMade.