Location: 4117 19th St., San Francisco
Reviewed: October 8, 2006
Espresso: My request was for a single, and it yielded what was probably a ~1.5-2oz. shot in a wide-brimmed cup (with matching saucer) of ~3.5-4oz. total volume. The crema was a medium brown color and even in tone except for a smallish lighter colored dot in the center; it was of moderate thickness and persisted well throughout the cup. The taste was primarily smoky and chocolatey. Although I couldn't quite tell if the barista ground my shot specially to order, he did run the grinder during the process, and so at least a portion of the coffee was freshly ground. He also spent a good deal of time tamping, and it seemed like he was using a lot of force to hit the portafilter to prevent clumping of grounds. He also preheated the cup, and although I couldn't tell if he brewed directly into it, I suspect (based on the relative thickness of the crema, among other things) that he did.
Atmosphere: Spike's is a long and narrow shop with the ordering and serving counter at the far end. There are three or four small tables inside and a patio seating area out front. Hardwood flooring is present. Crowded with dogs and their owners.
Verdict: I wouldn't call it top-tier, but it's not at all bad for a trendy neighbourhood with lots of disposable income.