I don't know if it's the side project of some infinitely wealthy dot com kid, or if they sell a bajillion dollars of coffee every day, but this is a cost-is-no-object shop. The ceiling soars 40 feet above the massive bar, criss-crossed with giant wooden beams. Enormous windows frame the front of the store and combine with expansive skylights to bathe the place in warm light. On the second floor there's what looks like a coffee tasting lab, a little steampunk and completely functional. There's taxidermied owls. There's a good size drum roaster. There are bags and bags of green coffee and roasted coffee, rows of tags on bakers twine, paper-bag brown bags and boxes. And it's not just that all these amazing details come together into a cohesive modern-rustic style - there's also a lot of open space - vast fields of hardwood floors on three levels, right there in the high-rent capital of the universe.
So, that's the first thing you notice when you walk in. Then you catch your breath, and set about ordering yourself some coffee. And mostly it's just about the coffee here. The pastries are delicious, but an afterthought - the teeny tiny pastry case is situated between the iPad/registers, easiest to peruse after you pay.
Guatemala Cubito, tried several different brewing methods and found the same simplicity relative to what I've been tasting from Counter Culture, Cuvee and Handsome over the last few months. A lovely cup, to be sure, just not dazzling.
So - is Sightglass one of the best on the planet? In some ways, absolutely. I have a hard time imagining a sexier location for coffee. But in other ways, it doesn't reach the etherial, constant perfection you see from the very best places that do this. It's a relatively new entrant, and they are very very good. I don't doubt that they may well evolve into something mind-blowing, but for now, the big draw is the view.