America’s most charming radio program recently had a wonderful coffee-forward segment by way of Third Wave Toast. When reporter John Gravois set out to cover San Francisco’s latest toast trend it lead him to the reluctant architect of the movement – Giulietta Carrelli. Carrelli owns Trouble Coffee and Coconut Club, an unassuming coffee bar located at in the Outer Sunset with an outpost in Hunters Point.

Trouble Coffee espresso and toast. (Zack Pianko for
Trouble Coffee espresso and toast. (Zack Pianko for

The segment is adapted from an earlier work – Gravois wrote “A Toast Story” for Pacific Standard back in January.

At Trouble, you can order a “Build Your Own Damn House”, which is a combination of French roast coffee, a young coconut, and a thick slice of cinnamon toast. It’s a magical thing. Gravois wrote about it for his feature (emphasis ours):

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[Carrelli] called the shop Trouble, she says, in honor of all the people who helped her when she was in trouble. She called her drip coffee “guts” and her espresso “honor.” She put coconuts on the menu because of the years she had spent relying on them for easy sustenance, and because they truly did help her strike up conversations with strangers. She put toast on the menu because it reminded her of home: “I had lived so long with no comfort,” she says. And she put “Build Your Own Damn House” on the menu because she felt, with Trouble, that she had finally done so.

The story was picked up for an piece in National Public Radio’s This American Life program. The episode, No Place Like Home, covers stories about where individuals define where they’re from. It includes fake border crossings, telemarketers with American accents, and Trouble.

This American Life host Ira Glass (Photo:
This American Life host Ira Glass (Photo:

The coffee-focused segment is seventeen minutes and available below:

Listen to the full episode here.

The original Trouble Coconut Club is located at 4033 South Judah in San Francisco’s Outer Sunset neighborhood, with hours from 7am until 7pm daily. Trouble’s second location is at 1370 Yosemite Avenue in San Francisco’s Hunters Point neighborhood, with hours ibid.


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