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July 13, 2017

Cage Review – Red Whale Coffee

I had the pleasure of meeting Sean Boyd, owner of Red Whale Coffee, San Rafael, a few years back in Seattle at the SCAA show. Straight away I liked this guy, for his enthusiasm for his coffee business and that he gave me a handful of colourful stickers promoting Red Whale Coffee. Those stickers were quickly scooped up by my kids on my return and stuck all over their (and my) laptops – so every day for three years I remembered Sean’s coffee company.

This little gesture prompted me to make the visit to San Rafael to check out Sean’s digs whilst I was in nearby San Francisco. Red Whale Coffee has a busy espresso bar at the front of the roasting business in an active industrial estate a few miles up the valley from San Rafael. This is also the roasting site for Red Whale Coffee, which is equipped with an impressive bright red, painted Dietrich Roaster at the back of the building.

Sean started his career working in the family hospitality business and spent time in the kitchen, bar and front of house. He moved to Canada over ten years ago and started his coffee venture there. After some lifestyle changes, he decided to escape the bitter winters and move his business back to the states, close to his hometown of San Rafael.

The espresso bar at Red Whale has a full Mod Bar setup, which also includes the extra brew bar system. He offers over 10 daily single origins and coffee blends through the brew bar, as well as a few espresso creations. His baristas are super friendly and also have great knowledge of what’s happening with the daily coffee menu. Sean’s behind the scenes passion shows in the cup, and we were thrilled at what we were served.

Red Whale Coffee is a fun business, which the café reflects,  with a lounge area for customers set up with classic pinball machines and some rare “Les Paul” guitars hanging from the walls. I must say Sean also has a pretty eclectic record collection and a mighty fine turntable in this lounge area.

The Red Whale Coffee brand is well known around San Francisco and the Bay Area, as the team spreads the coffee love by attending local farmers’ markets and special events, communicating the word of great coffee.
We had a fun time during the visit and loved getting behind the Mod Bar and playing with Sean’s toys. Congratulations on a great brand and being a real character in this mighty industry.


Red Whale Coffee
169 Paul Dr, San Rafael, CA 94903, USA






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