Tucked away in outer Sunset, a stone’s throw from the Pacific Ocean and that one epic brunch place, Trouble Coffee is where SF’s toast craze began – even ask Josey Baker of the famed Mill and he’ll agree. But that’s not why I like Trouble.
Trouble Coffee is far more than just a neighborhood coffeeshop. It’s a story, a saga of what it means to struggle and survive in the idea-churning machine that is San Francisco. Within its walls, you see tidbits of the owner Giulietta Carrelli’s world as she handpicks pieces of her past – the comforting cinnamon toast of her childhood, the coconuts that you can’t help but ask about. As her signature menu item connotes, when at Trouble, you devise a way to put your mind at ease and Build Your Own Damn House.
Everything about this place is quirky, from the soldier figurine on the interior shelf to the large plastic horse hanging over the barista. The coffee is smooth and effective; the toast thick and filling. There are no substitutions, nor do they need to be, because each piece of Trouble is as identifiable as Carrelli herself.
What fascinates me most about Trouble is its penchant to act as an outlet of self-recognition. Upon reading Carrelli’s story, I am fascinated by her ability to find herself through the identification from others. We are taught to be who we are no matter what others think or do, but there is value in discovering who you are based on an outsider’s observations as well. These surrounding outsiders exist not to judge, but to be curious, ask questions, and learn about what makes you tick. It’s a simple method of self-preservation, a method that as you stand in the line at Trouble looking at the “Thrash or die” sign on the sidewalk, you can’t help but find a small part of yourself there.
4033 Judah Street
San Francisco, CA 94122
Open 7am – 7 pm