Founded in 2013, Andrew Barnett’s Linea Caffe brings Northern Italian roasting to San Francisco’s Mission District. And learn about the inaugural Peru offering.
Ray: Today we’re talking about Linea Caffe in San Francisco, founded in 2013 by Andrew Barnett.
Ray: Actually very excited to talk about this spot because, well first of all, like, Andrew Barnett is kind of like…a…
Kandace: A legend.
Ray: Yeah. A luminary. Yeah in specialty coffee, a lot of people know about him, and you know he’s one of those people that you hear, you know he’s a REALLY nice guy. It’s like, you know….
Kandace: I have heard multiple people refer to Andrew as the nicest guy in coffee. Now, that’s a heavy title.
Ray: Yeah, that’s a heavy title.
Ray: There’s a lot of nice people in specialty coffee but, he’s very nice!
Kandace: Yeah, okay so my biggest memory of Andrew is that, um, people talk about how nice he is and how much he enjoys being behind the counter and interacting with people. So we heard about Linea through our friend Scott Callender, at La Marzocco right?
Kandace: He told us about the cafe. We went to San Francisco. We were so excited to meet Andrew. He was so nice. And he introduced himself, and he started introducing us to other people in the cafe.
Ray: I think what he’s best known for is Echo Cafe, which he started in 2000, and was ultimately sold to intelligence yeah.
Kandace: This is exciting this is the first time we’ve been able to talk on the show about someone we’ve worked with.
Ray: Yeah that’s true.
Other Andrew stories: he judges Cup of Excellence and The World Barista championships. You’ve probably seen him at specialty coffee events. He’s an instantly recognizable character—tall lanky guy…
Kandace: Striped shirt, tall guy…
Ray: Often wears, striped shirts yeah.
Kandace: I thought we were gonna wear stripes for Andrew!
Ray: No that’s ah…we…
Kandace: Oh man, sorry Andrew.
Ray: I’ll do it in post.
Ray: Being the busy gentleman that Andrew Barnett is, we didn’t get him in time to record for the show, but we DID get Aleco Chignonis, who is one of the gentlemen who sells coffee and…
Kandace: Aleco is a green coffee buyer.
Ray: Andrew gets his coffee from more than one place, but some of his coffees have been coming from Red Fox Coffee Merchants, including this.
Kandace: Did you know that Andrew sources eighty-five percent of his coffees himself?
Ray: I Didn’t know that!
Kandace: When he’s not directly sourcing, ah, Red Fox is bringing some beautiful coffees.
Ray: Right. So, Aleco, tell us a little bit about this coffee.
Aleco Chignonis: So, this is Peru Saint Ignatius from, our friend Andrew Barnett at Linea. Andrew’s also one of our favorite roasters. I think he does things in a more classic sense. His roast style reminds me a lot of Stumptown back in the days, which are not as light and bright as what a lot of the roasters are doing these days but something that really accentuates sweetness. So I like what they’re doing. And this is a coffee that’s perfect for that approach.
It comes from Puno, ah, which is the southern most province of Peru. And this area, it’s ah, where the coffee comes from the San Ignacio. The greater area is called the Sandia Valley. It’s a HUGE huge valley. It takes ten hours to get from one end to the other. And it’s right up against the border of Bolivia really, like saddled right up against the border.
It’s, you know, obviously a flight down to Peru, and then a short flight into Juliaca, which is the capital of Puno, and then a good, depending on traffic cause it’s single lane really gnarly road, like, ten to twelve hours to get out TO the valley and then a few hours getting around. All of the farms are way up in the mountains with no roads. So, an hour, or two, or even three hour hike up to the farms themselves off of the main road.
It’s probably in some ways, our most detailed effort every year. We get a couple thousand samples, just from that valley alone between September and December. We approved about one in twenty samples. So it’s pretty intense tough but it’s also become something that I think, we’re known for, and when it tastes like this you know…
Aleco: And we get excited to do it all over again!
Ray: Yeah yeah. Do you have anything else Kandace?
I’m gonna talk briefly about this bag. So I actually really like the identity—the logo. It’s very comfortable and it seems very immediately familiar. Like the amount of detail they provide on these bags is thrilling to me as a coffee nerd. You know what country it came from the region, how many members the cooperative has, how long and how it was fermented. Ridiculous amounts of delightful detail.
Ray: We took all the beans out so we could drink it.
Kandace: Yeah. We drank all the coffee.
This reminds me so much of the cafe itself: simple, understated, and yet, just the right amount of information and love of coffee.
Ray: Uh, and we are drinking out of these excellent, uh, La Marzocco mugs.
Ray: Just gonna be honest, tastes…
Kandace: Just sort of fitting since we ah…we were introduced to this coffee, and people through…
Ray: There’s a little connection…a little affinity there. They make a machine called The Linea, and The Linea Mini, and they make a mini Linea Mini but that’s a story for another day. A mini Linea mini like you would put on your keychain.
Kandace: Does it work? Oh!
Ray: No it doesn’t work.
Kandace: Oh my god! The cafe!
Ray: Good company. Incredible baristas. I’ve never had a shot there that wasn’t like a perfect ten so…
Kandace: And friendly.
Ray: And friendly. Tiny!
Linea Caffe, San Francisco. Thumbs up. Up top!