I started this blog one year ago. In that time, I've reviewed 47 shops. I'm not going to attempt any kind of rank-ordering of them, but I am listing what I consider the top tier. These are the five (there simply happen to be five) best places I've visited, and they are all worth a visit, maybe even a pilgrimage.
Listed in Alphabetical order:
- Barefoot Coffee Roasters, 5237 Steven's Creek Blvd., Santa Clara
- Coffee Creek, 2601 Oakdale Rd., Modesto
- Pacific Bay Coffee Co., 1495 Newell Ave., Walnut Creek
- Ritual Coffee Roasters, 1026 Valencia St., San Francisco
- Temple Fine Coffee & Tea, 1014 10th St., Sacramento
There is also one place that I want to list as honorable mention:
- Eon Cafe, 24970 Hesperian Blvd., Hayward
Eon gets an HM because although they are capable of pulling a very good shot and have their technique down right (as evidenced by my original review), they seem to have certain consistency issues (and my sour-ish shot was served to me by their best barista).
So a total of 6 shops of the 47 I've reviewed appear to actually know good espresso. That's nearly 13%, a much higher percentage than I originally expected. Of course this is not a statistically random sample, and certain other caveats also apply, etc.
I should also mention that there are two other places to which I gave positive reviews that I'm not listing here at all. One of these, Global Blends, has been defunct for some time. The other, Plantation Coffee Co., has lost their best barista (who served me the day I reviewed), and I'm no longer certain that they are capable of producing top-notch espresso.