Location: 1683 Branham Ln., San Jose
Reviewed: December 4, 2005
Espresso: My "single" was served in a nearly full cup of ~2-2.5oz. The crema was pale and thin. The cup was thin-bodied and slightly bitter. Beyond that, the taste was somewhat intriguing: there was a distinct anise flavor sitting on top of a caramelly base. It is interesting to note here that the barista actually did most things correctly, preheating the cup (and the shot pitchers, which were unfortunately used) and tamping firmly (with an Espro click tamp, the first I've ever seen). I didn't notice if the shot was actually ground to order, but I did take note that the pull took about the right length of time.
Atmosphere: St. James is a small shop located at the corner of a strip mall. There are but a few tables and two armchairs. Free wifi is offered, and the yellow/orange coloring scheme makes the place feel warm and inviting, particularly on a cold December day.
Verdict: An interesting flavor profile, and perhaps a better barista could eliminate some of the issues with the shot. If that were to occur, it would be a great place to sit and study or read for pleasure.