@President_Mochi: $20 is indeed a little on the high side, but not out of line with other third-wave roasters. A single-origin coffee will run you $20 at Blue Bottle for a 12 oz bag. Remember, the paper bags Blue Bottle sells in the stores are smaller, around 8-10 oz I think.
I started going to Cognoscenti mostly because of Guerilla Tacos, but I’ve really come to appreciate their well curated selection of beans from around the country. They’ve turned me onto some great roasters, including Heart from Portland and Commonwealth from Denver.
I’m with you, though, Blue Bottle’s still my favorite, too. Their Three Africans is my go-to coffee. Between them, Bar Nine, and Cognoscenti, that area’s really become a murderers’ row of great coffee shops!
@ipsedixit: No need to wait! There’s a pic of the beans in my hopper below. I’m no roasting expert, but they look right around the first crack or just past. You can still see the remains of the skin on some of the beans, and they certainly aren’t nearly black or shiny with oil. As I say, they were very sweet.
@honkman: Have you tried Cafe Virtuoso in San Diego? I’m a big fan, personally.