Location: 185 Berry St., San Francisco
There are multiple other locations also in SF.
Reviewed: November 22, 2005
Espresso: Specialty's has recently started using the Black Cat espresso blend from the justly famed Intelligentsia Coffee Roasters in Chicago. They have also been given initial training in the proper methods of making espresso. As such, I had high hopes for my shot. The disappointment started when I saw the superauto machine (the other locations do not have superautos). The shot was poured too long, had a paler-than-it-should-have-been crema, and some bitter notes covered up what was obviously a very good espresso blend. It was spicy and full-bodied.
Atmosphere: The Berry Street location is located in the courtyard of an office building, which makes for a somewhat awkward (to say nothing of difficult to find) spot. It was of moderate size and had the "bonus" of counter seating (so that you can watch that superauto in action?). Fairly loud but fairly boring jazz was being played when I was there early in the morning.
Verdict: Stick with one of the other locations, and you'll probably do better. Nonetheless, they provide better than average espresso.