The CIIS Conscious Café serves the Institute's community, offering fresh, healthy, and local food at reasonable prices. Located on the third floor of the main building at 1453 Mission Street, the café serves three meals a day and is open the following hours during the semester:

Monday-Friday:  8 am-8 pm
Saturday and Sunday: 8:30 am-3 pm
Open until 7 pm for weekend cohorts

Phone: (415) 575-6102


"We're very conscious about sustainability, fair trade, and the environment in everything we serve, including the wares," says café director Siobhan McCleary. All foods are local and organic wherever possible, delivered fresh several times a week. The coffee is ordered directly at fair trade from Costa Rica, where it is grown by workers making higher-than-average salaries, using organic farming practices. Even the milk is local and sustainably farmed. The chocolates and hot cocoa are fair trade as well.

The café features options for all diets, including a wide selection of vegetarian items, and many vegan and wheat-free choices.

Everything the food is served on is compostable, from the utensils to the plates to the cups. "The only exception is the lid for the hot drinks," says McCleary. "The compostable ones leak. But the ones we use are recyclable." The café also sells recyclable metal water bottles.

Favorite menu items include the Indian curries, made by a local Ayurvedic chef; and the tamales, from the same providers who sell them at the popular stand at the farmer's market in Civic Center.

If you bring your own mug, you get a 25 cent discount on any beverage, and you can keep your mug at the café.

The walls of the café feature a rotating show of art by CIIS students. The music reflects the crowd in the café at any given time. If there are a lot people studying, quieter music is the norm. If most customers are talking, the music rocks more. You can also bring in your own CD and request it.

Seating options are tables, or sofas for more comfort.

"This café is very community-oriented," says McCleary, "even more so than your neighborhood coffee shop."

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