Saturday, April 29, 2006

Dana Street Roasting Co.

Location: 744 West Dana Street, Mountain View.

Reviewed: April 29, 2006

Espresso: My shot had a pale, albeit persistent crema. The barista tamped, but did not grind to order. In the cup, it had a very strange mix of both sour and bitter, and left an astringent aftertaste.

Atmosphere: Dana Street is a small, squarish shop with a curved serving counter running alongside the wall furthest from the entrance. The roaster sits in the corner of the main seating area, which takes up valuable space in the small facility. There are a couple of tables outside. Free wifi (although they won't let you plug your laptop in) and concerts on weekends.

Verdict: Decent jazz doesn't really make up for the bad coffee and the crowded and cramped location.

Cocola Bakery

Location: 333 Santana Row Suite 1045, San Jose.

Reviewed: April 29, 2006

Espresso: My shot was not ground to order, although it was tamped heavily. It had a long-lasting thick crema of medium-brown tone with just a small dot that was lighter in shade. There was an overwhelming chocolatey aroma that mixed with a primarily smoky flavour. It was full-bodied and slightly acidic. This was presumably one of the Mr. Espresso blends, as they use a Mr. Espresso branded machine.

Atmosphere: Cocola is more a bakery than a coffeeshop; the pastry counter is filled with very good looking goodies that tempt the customer in the often long line. The shop is narrow and deep, with ample seating outside. Frequently, it is quite crowded. The tables and chairs are metal and not very comfortable.

Verdict: Quite a pleasant suprise. Definitely stop in if you're on the Row.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Coffee & More

Location: 100 S. Murphy Ave., Sunnyvale

Reviewed: April 26, 2006

Espresso: My single shot was served as a lungo (pushing 2oz). The barista tamped heavily with a little plastic tamper, although she did not grind to order. The resultant beverage had a pale, albeit somewhat persistent crema. It was hot, sour, and somewhat bitter; the primary taste was dark and fruity.

Atmosphere: Coffee & More is a small shop in downtown Sunnyvale. A 'water feature' greets customers shortly after they enter. Of note, they have counter seating available. The walls and the high ceiling (a nice touch) are painted warm colors. The prices are statospheric ($2.35 for a double).

Verdict: Not a very good shot, no matter the price.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Cafe Siena

Location: 26 E. Main St., Los Gatos

Reviewed: April 21, 2006

Espresso: My shot was served as a proper single (~1.25oz) in a ceramic cup. When the person taking my order responded to my request "for here" with the word "excellent" I had some degree of hope; unfortunately, it didn't quite live up to expectation. The crema was pale and thin; the primary tastes were dark fruit and milk chocolate. Body was medium, and acidity was high. Overall, it was slightly bittersweet.

Atmosphere: Siena is a pretty cool place. There is a concrete floor, high open ceiling, large picture windows along the two sides of the shop that face the street. A collection of what appear to possibly be copies of Italian family coats of arms hang scattered throughout the facility.

Verdict: Cool place, coffee could be better, but it wasn't bad.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Kern Street Coffee Co.

Location: 2134 Kern Street, Fresno

Reviewed: April 19, 2006

Espresso: My request was for a single, and I'm pretty sure I was served a double (~2.5oz). The shot was medium-bodied and fairly bright. The crema was pale-to-medium and quite thin; it dissipated very rapidly. It had some fruity tones (tending toward berry-like or licorice), and wasn't particularly bitter. It was extremely hot. The barista did not grind to order as such. He appeared to be grinding the next shot upon dosing the one he was about to brew. Of note, the barista seemed to be either complaining about the way a customer defined their drink or debating about it with one of the other employees.

Kern Street is a smallish shop in downtown Fresno. The ordering counter is immediately inside the door, causing the line to snarl. Across the squarish room is a nice couch and a piano. There's a large pillar and some counters next to it in the middle of the floor, adding to the traffic confusion. The shop contains lighter tones and has a high, open ceiling.

Verdict: Coffee wasn't all that great, and the place needs a serious dose of feng shui.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Satura Cakes

Location: 200 Main St., Los Altos

Reviewed: April 1, 2006

Espresso: Satura Cakes uses the famed Paladino blend from Seattle's Zoka Coffee. The shot I ordered was tamped (apparently somewhat heavily), although it was not ground to order. Still, it was quite pleasant: heavy bodied with caramelly flavours and a hint of citrus, orange-like acidity in the finish. No bitterness at all.

Atmosphere: Satura is not strictly a coffeeshop; their primary focus is on Japanese-style pastries (and other baked goods). It's a small location, located on the corner of the building in which it is located. Squarish in shape, the store contains a curved counter along two sides of the room. The location is open and light and contains light-toned woods throughout, including the floor.

Verdict: Considering the espresso was not ground to order, it was amazingly good. With just a little work and training, this non-coffeeshop could become the coffee hotspot for the lower penninsula.