Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Ugly Mug

Location: 4640 Soquel Dr., Soquel

Reviewed: April 28, 2007

Espresso: My request for a single likely resulted in a double, as a nearly-full ~2.5oz. cup was produced. Thankfully, the shot was ground to order, albeit with a Swift (nothing against the Swift as a machine per se, but I've never had truly great coffee from a shop that uses one). The crema was a pale-to-medium brownish tone, with a couple of white-ish dots. It was of moderate body and tasted smoky and spicy.

Atmosphere: The Ugly Mug is a large shop on a street corner in what could be optimistically referred to as downtown Soquel. It is mostly dark-toned throughout, has large windowpanes facing the street, a high ceiling, free wifi, and a number of rentable iMac computer terminals. The tables and chairs show signs of wear. There is a large fishtank randomly placed jutting into the center of the room and acting as a logical if not literal divider of sorts.

Verdict: If they lost the Swift and trained their baristas...

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Canela Espresso & Pastries

Location: 10631 S. Foothill Blvd., Cupertino

Reviewed: April 25, 2007

Espresso: Canela uses espresso from Barefoot, but I had trouble discerning which blend they were using. Perhaps this was due to the staleness caused by lack of grinding to order (thankfully, it was tamped hard). Oddly, the shot, even though pre-ground, was laden with a thick crema of a light-to-medium brown color. In the cup, it displayed a moderate body and not much real character with an aftertaste that couldn't decide whether it wanted to be sour or bitter but was decidedly unpleasant.

Atmosphere: Canela is a small shop in a small stripmall in a random street in Cupertino. That should tell you most of what you need to know. The layout is fairly squarish overall, although a portion of that is taken up by the counter and the space therebehind. There are a few small round cafe tables.

Verdict: Perhaps some consolation can be gathered from the inexpensive price (at only $1 for a single).