This SF coffee pop-up sells beans out of their garage

On a lazy Saturday afternoon bike ride up Cole Street, I smelled the unmistakable aroma

On a lazy Saturday afternoon bike ride up Cole Street, I smelled the unmistakable aroma of coffee in the air. There was no café in sight, but rather an open garage filled with bags of coffee and a tiny roasting machine in the corner.

The mom-and-pop company is called Bird and Bear, an upstart coffee operation from former Sightglass employee Dan Streetman. During the beginning of the pandemic, the city’s coffee shops pivoted to to-go only to account for the closure of indoor dining, and many employees like Streetman faced layoffs. With over a decade of history in the specialty coffee industry working for pioneering roasters like Austin’s Cuvee and New York’s Irving Farm, Streetman seized the moment as an opportunity to launch a new project sourcing beans from farms he’d visited throughout his career.


With the support of his wife Ella, a start-up consultant, he founded the company last spring and called it Bird and Bear, referencing the nicknames of their daughters, whom Ella and Dan juggle back and forth during our interview at their garage.

“First Dan was roasting upstairs on our deck while I was on meetings, and just selling basically through email,” says Ella Streetman. “At some point, I was just like, ‘This is not working.’ We had to do all these things so that I could be on meetings while he’s roasting and not be totally disrupted, so I was like, ‘I think you need to go downstairs.’”

Dan and Ella Streetman operate Bird and Bear Coffee out of their garage at 726 Cole St.

Mariah Tiffany/ Special to SFGATE

That led him to roasting in the corner of his garage, just a few feet away from their car. Once Streetman opened the doors for ventilation, the neighbors started coming by asking questions. Soon, he added a wooden table as a makeshift retail counter, decorated with coffee bean sacks and lined with one-pound bags of beans. And during the holidays, he added a small display with watercolor greeting cards painted by one of the neighbors.


Since much of the country’s supply of specialty coffee arrives in the Port of Oakland, driving across the Bay Bridge to pick up unroasted green beans in his car saves on the air transportation that would make this type of company more costly in other parts of the country. This is part of an overall lower overhead that has allowed him to sell at a significantly cheaper price than the average specialty coffee shop ($15 per pound, as opposed the $20-plus one might spend for 12 ounces of single-origin beans from his former employer, Sightglass).

As business has grown, he’s expanded from the garage and now roasts 300 pounds a week at Pulley Collective in Oakland, a private label co-op for smaller coffee companies.

Dan and Ella Streetman operate Bird and Bear Coffee out of their garage at 726 Cole St.

Dan and Ella Streetman operate Bird and Bear Coffee out of their garage at 726 Cole St.

Mariah Tiffany/ Special to SFGATE

Bird and Bear doesn’t sell brewed coffee or offer samples due to food safety rules, but their menu makes choosing simple, essentially offering light, medium and dark roasts, as well as decaf (a favorite of Ella’s). The light roast is from the Republic of Congo (floral, tangy, notes of cherry and pomegranate), the medium-roasted Java is richer and creamier. For the dark roast, they blend Sumatran and Guatemalan beans for a chocolatey finish that pairs great with milk.


They’re currently sold out of their most popular coffee, which has a special significance to the Streetman’s. Sourced from an El Salvadoran farm coincidentally named Finca San Francisco, it was one of the first places that Streetman visited as a coffee buyer back in 2007. He’s since become close with the Salaverria family who owns the farm, developing a bond that led Streetman to attend one of their sons’ weddings. That global connection is what Streetman has come to appreciate most about his time working in the coffee industry.

“The thing that I love about coffee now is that it’s an amazing way to ‘think global, act local’ in a very small tangible way,” says Streetman, while wearing a mask with a coffee bean design, which was a gift from one of his neighbors. “It connects all these unique places and you can have a connection to a person through a very simple thing you do every day, whether it’s a person in the Democratic Republic of Congo or Honduras or China.”

“Or across the street,” adds Ella Streetman.

Dan and Ella Streetman operate Bird and Bear Coffee out of their garage at 726 Cole St.

Dan and Ella Streetman operate Bird and Bear Coffee out of their garage at 726 Cole St.

Mariah Tiffany/ Special to SFGATE

As if on cue, a neighbor walks up to their garage to buy a bag of their dark roast. Edward Donlin, a retired gardener who has lived across the street his entire life, has become a regular customer.

“This is the greatest, we’re so happy,” he says. “It fills the neighborhood with the beautiful aroma of coffee, and the coffee is absolutely fantastic.”

Bird and Bear Coffee is open for retail sales at 726 Cole St. in San Francisco, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Thursday, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Dan and Ella Streetman operate Bird and Bear Coffee out of their garage at 726 Cole St.

Dan and Ella Streetman operate Bird and Bear Coffee out of their garage at 726 Cole St.

Mariah Tiffany/ Special to SFGATE