A Jebena is a pot used to brew coffee in the Ethiopian, Eritrean, and Eastern Sudanese traditional coffee ceremony (pictured here with some Cezve to make Turkish coffee). But Jebena is also one of the coffee shops we like to frequent in the neighborhood, located at the corner of Geary and Polk, and of course one that offers coffee brewed in a jebena (if I’m not mistaken, it’s the only place in San Francisco that has it) as well as in a cezve Turkish-style.
Seeing how hot it was today, I decided to have lunch outdoors while getting a bit of color on my indoorsy pasty legs. And since Jebena has plenty of outdoor seating on top of serving Barefoot coffee, that’s where I headed with a book and camera in tow (people watching is also a big perk of outdoor seating in the TL). Once there, I ordered a chicken and pesto sandwich which comes with a side salad (pictured here) and couldn’t resist the calling of the gelato bar.
Although I’ve been to Jebena few times, it was the first time I met owner Ahmed and so I was able to catch up with him on his grand plans for the two-in-one space. Although Jebena’s gelato extension has been in the works and more or less functioning for several months now, Ahmed has made it nicer for the spring, for example adding an art exhibit by beloved mural artist Dray. And he has hired a French crêpe master to manage the gelato space (which is next door to the coffeeshop proper, connected through a passageway in the back).
Unfortunately, Jebena’s gelato signs keep getting stolen, so it’s not immediately visible from the street that there’s a gelateria in the back of the coffeeshop. Since there aren’t really any places to enjoy gelato or ice-cream for that matter in the Tenderloin (Joey’s on O’Farrell is the only one that comes to mind), I’m sure word of mouth will take its course.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, their most popular item in the menu are the free-range hard-boiled eggs from the HOC Farmers’ Market that they sell for $.85 a piece. But their food offerings are much more extensive. In case you haven’t been to Jebena yet, here’s a quick reminder of what they have: bagels, eggs, salads healthy sandwiches on different types of bread (whole wheat, sourdough or baguette) such as Reuben and tuna champagne, crêpes such as a Norwegian one with smoked salmon and an Andalusian one with avocado, spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms and cheese. And in the sweet department: more crêpe options such as lemon butter, banana caramel, strawberries and cream, as well as a whole bunch of cakes and cookies (including some Middle Eastern ones they get from a friend of the family). And of course, gelato!
For the coffee geeks it’s worth noting that they now have a rewards program (similar to that at farm:table). Oh, and they close at 9pm! So if you’re in need of some breeze while enjoying some gelato and an espresso, people-watching, and not seeing the 19 bus pass the whole time you’re there, head to Jebena.