Third wave Bay Area coffee darling Sightglass Coffee is joining forces with Portland's beloved small-batch Salt & Straw ice creamery to make the after dinner dessert and coffee experience a transformative one. On May 1, Sightglass will debut a totally unique concept called Affogato Bar, located on the mezzanine level of its flagship SOMA roasting facility in San Francisco. And it’s exactly as its name suggests: a cafe that specializes in ice cream topped with espresso for serious coffee aficionados, dessert freaks, and people who proudly identify as both.
"The affogato originated in Italy, where the word affogare means ‘to drown’ which, in this case, means to douse a scoop of ice cream with a shot or two of espresso," explains co-founder Jerad Morrison, who, along with his brother, Justin, launched Sightglass back in 2009.
In Affogato Bar’s version, the duo will pair several Sightglass single-origin espressos with three seasonal Salt & Straw ice creams. Which is especially noteworthy considering Sightglass overlooked local ice cream stalwarts like Bi-Rite and Humphry Slocombe. "We wanted to work with people and a business possessing a similar ethos to Sightglass—a simple approach, high quality ingredients," Jerad explains. It also helps that Salt & Straw’s ice creams can stand up to Sightglass' steaming hot espresso.
What made the decision even easier is that Salt & Straw co-owner Kim Malek is an old friend. And their meeting, not surprisingly, happened over coffee and dessert. Years ago, the brothers lived in Seattle, and Malek would buy coffee from the bakery where Jerad worked. Now, a decade later, they’ve fostered the ideal partnership through the convergence of two delicious products.
As one would expect, Salt & Straw will service Affogato Bar with three rotating ice cream flavors made from local ingredients. Up first: Sea Salt with Caramel Ribbons, Blood Orange with Olive Oil, and Single-Origin Chocolate.
Similarly, Sightglass' espressos will change with the season, allowing for a constant rotation of unexpected flavor combinations. Not sure where to start? For something that "creates a deeply sweet, caramelized goodness with soft honey and floral notes," Jerad recommends Colombia La Siberia espresso over Sea Salt with Caramel Ribbons ice cream. For those feeling something "sweet, viscous, and subtly earthy," try the Blood Orange Olive Oil ice cream with the Rwanda Mwasa espresso. And on opening day, drop by from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. for affogatos on the house.
"We wanted to do a project that was playful, lighthearted, and accessible to all who love coffee and ice cream," Jerad says of Affogato Bar. Mission accomplished.