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Ranking San Francisco Baristas on a Scale of Liberal to Downright ‘Portlandia’

It's not hard to be left of Dunkin’.


Bay Area coffeeshops like Blue Bottle and Philz all have their partisans, but what about the partisanship of the baristas serving it up? The data whizzes at civic tech startup Crowdpac have taken a break from their busy, money-stalking schedules to shed light on the politics of the people who bring us our daily cup. Using campaign donation data going back to 1980, Crowdpac’s wonks selected for occupation and employer data to isolate out baristas (a stretchy term in this case, given that McDonald’s is on the map). 

The results show not the stated politics of Blue Bottlers and Ritualites, but the politics of the people and campaigns they’ve donated to over the years. The graph blends national donation data with local deets, explains Crowdpac’s Mason Harrison. So where national chains like Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts are shown, the data reflect donations by employees all over the U.S. But donations by employees at Bay Area–only chains do point specifically to local political habits.

So it’s possible to say that Peet’s employees are more liberal than Philz’s—shocker!—and that Blue Bottle is the least liberal of the third-wavers. Given their penchant for expansion, not to mention the ubiquity of those little New Orleans coffee cartons, that sounds about right. 

San Francisco Starbucks employees remain a bit of a black hole, though, since their data is lumped in with that of their compatriots nationwide. Next to baristas from across the country, says Harrison, “it’s no surprise that the smaller, more independent chains with large employee bases in deep-blue SF show a much more liberal pattern of political giving.”

Portland-based Stumptown is the sole coffeeshop to earn a perfect score of 10L—the Bernie Sanders end of the scale—proving that only Portland’s baristas are pinko enough to leave San Francisco’s in the dust.  


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