Over 50 years Serving Espresso in San Francisco

Our Story

Trieste Downtown, circa 1900

Our Story:
La Nostra Storia

Caffe Trieste is world-famous, impeccable quality coffee mixed with the best music—from the heart! It is this unique pairing and style that have made our coffee houses comfortable dens for artists of all types. A Google search reveals a staggering amount of listings, including a Wikipedia page!

Our historic caffe location at 601 Vallejo Street (North Beach-San Francisco) was the first espresso coffee house established on the West Coast (1956). “Papa Gianni” Giotta and his family single-handedly launched the Espresso movement as we know it. The Caffe has become famous across the world for its combination of essences: Old Italy, Bohemian poets, art and music, and excellent Espresso.

The Caffe has served as comfortable respite for actors such as Michael Douglas and a movie set for many feature films and television shows (starring Demi Moore and many others) and has been the subject of many articles, news stories and documentaries across the globe. The walls are adorned with pictures of famous celebrities who have visited the Caffe,  as well as of the hundreds of musical events in which the various members of the Giotta family have participated. Established in 1971, the Caffe Trieste Saturday Concert, is the longest running musical show in San Francisco, and certainly one of the oldest in the United States. All five members of the Giotta family (Papa Gianni, Mamma Ida, ***Gianfranco, Sonia and Fabio have been performing on stage, radio, television and in films since 1953; they have performed with and for many celebrities (Luciano Pavarotti, The Drifters, Frankie Laine, Claudio Villa, and Domenico “Volare” Modugno, to name a few) in front of thousands of local, national and international audiences. ***Gianfranco Giotta (1944-1999)

Papa Gianni and Marco Vinella, opening day, April 1, 1956

“Old Italy” Written by Andy Kaufman-1988 

In Rovigno and Trieste, they still talk about the Giotta family’s success in America.

Over a half a century ago, Giovanni Giotta brought his family to America. They found a new world where hard work and prudent decisions still spelled success. Remembering his fondness for the coffee houses of Trieste, Mr. Giotta, (dubbed “Papa Gianni” in the early 1990’s), decided to bring their charm and exquisite coffees to his new home.

Settling in California, he soon opened Caffe Trieste in San Francisco’s North Beach. A reputation for “…some of the best coffees in the city” soon followed.

Giovanni Giotta’s “old world” techniques proved essential in securing this reputation as well as the distinction of being called “the Espresso Pioneer of the West Coast.”

If asked how he does it, “No big deal,” Papa Gianni would say. “Buy the best beans, roast them yourself, and brew each cup like it’s
for you.”

Sure there’s technology involved, the best people-controlled technology, but that only makes the coffee “good.” The hands and heart of Giovanni Giotta make it great.

Naturally, anything great cannot stay confined for very long. Demand from other coffee houses and restaurants, as well as from patrons of the Caffe, soon made it necessary to open a retail/wholesale outlet and a second coffee house.

Papa Gianni has much to be proud of. His two children, Fabio and Sonia are helping to maintain the tradition of fine coffee making.

The right blend of love and tradition has resulted in a standard of quality previously unattained. For Caffe Trieste Superb Coffees it’s an old-fashioned way of doing things that still works.

“Brew each cup like it’s for you.”