Located on an unassuming side street off of Third Street, Trouble Coffee was a spot where only those from the neighborhood were likely to know. You could see the cafe from the main street; it’s the spot with the very elaborate-looking parklet out front.
Yelp, User: A.P.
One might describe Trouble Coffee in Bayview as a tiny coffeehouse with their punk rock aesthetics still intact: stickers and scrawled signs, talking points and hidden messages, for those who might care to tune into that wavelength. Others might have dissenting opinions; detractors see it as a “hipster” coffee shop that overcharges for a cup. It really just depends on who you ask.
If you don’t live in this part of San Francisco, you might not have even known it was there. Recently, you may have stopped by and said to yourself, “Oh shit. They’re gone.” There is minimal information from the Trouble Coffee’s website which reads more like a page on a typewriter than the Internet. There is no phone number listed, and the closure is not yet reflected on their Yelp page.
With no wifi available at any of the three Trouble Coffee locations, plus a strict no electronics policy at the West Oakland location, Trouble Coffee’s survival seems unusual. But Trouble is known to have some fight and tenacity at their core. The owner Giulietta Carrelli has openly discussed her struggles with schizoaffective disorder, a condition that combines symptoms of schizophrenia and bipolarity. She has coped with seemingly many unavoidable ups and downs, this closing being par for the course.
Even with Yelp reviews dating as far back as 2013, there are only about 15% as many reviews as their Outer Sunset location. With a 4.5 out of 5 star Yelp rating this location surpasses the reviews of both their Outer Sunset (3.5 stars) and Oakland (3 star) locations.
The West Oakland location was written about in Eater SF back in 2015, in an article cheekily titled “Trouble Coffee Opens in Oakland, Is Very White.” The white comment was about the glaringly stark-white interior, yet one wonders if the title alluded to more than just the decor.
Trouble’s other two locations remain intact despite love/hate reviews. Irate customers question just how good artisanal toast really can be, and complain of long lines, no wifi, and surly baristas.
Perhaps their mixed reception is why the closing was announced so under the radar. The news was shared via a small stack of printouts strewn across the counter.
Fourth of July was officially the last day for the Bayview cafe. Written cryptically, personally, and poetically, the notice read:
July 4th will be the last day of the Trouble Coffee Clubhouse on Yosemite.
The years have been beautiful with all of your support.
We have built a family here.
Thank you for being a part of an art installation supporting us as living artists.
We have met all the makers of our city right here in the heart of the Bayview.
I will miss this gem. I will miss you.
But I will find you.
With love, from Trouble Herself, giulietta [sic]”
Or perhaps the closing signified a new found freedom. A day off of work. A day to go work on art or simply relax. In any case, we wish them all the best with their other locations.
Trouble Coffee is hosting a ten year anniversary party for the company at Bayview Boat Club, 3pm, on Sunday, July 30th. Tommy Guerrero, the local skating legend and musician, will be playing alongside his band at 6pm for the occasion. RSVP: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Cover Photograph by Yelp User Daria B.