Sunday, September 16, 2007

Velo Rouge Cafe

Location: 798 Arguello Blvd., San Francisco

Reviewed: September 16, 2007

Espresso: Velo Rouge is a purveyor of coffee from Blue Bottle. Rumour has it that they use the Bella Donovan blend for espresso. My shot was a full-bodied, sweet shot finishing with a pungent bitterness. A bit different from the other Blue Bottle coffees I've had and quite good. Crema here is thick and dark (the way it should be!).

Atmosphere: Velo Rouge is a very small shop, almost square in shape. It has a bicycle motif to the decor and sells branded-items (drinkware, wearables), in addition to coffee and food. They had live jazz playing when I was there. Crowded with a line almost out of the door.

Verdict: A very solid effort.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Guerilla Cafe

Location: 1620 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley

Reviewed: August 31, 2007

Espresso: Guerilla uses coffee from Blue Bottle. Unfortunately, they pre-grind it; despite this, however, the crema was surprisingly quite thick. The barista didn't pay much attention to the pour, and what resulted was about 1.5oz. of espresso with the aforementioned thick crema. The crema was of a moderate brownish color and didn't look at all bad. It was full-bodied, sweet, and fairly bright.

Atmosphere: Something between a coffee bar and a full restaurant, Guerilla features table service but also has counter seating. It's a long narrow space of moderate size with large chiaroscuro portraits of Che Guevara (or someone else maybe) on the walls.

Verdict: Not bad, but the weakest Blue Bottle coffee I've experienced.

Nomad Cafe

Location: 6500 Shattuck Ave., Oakland

Reviewed: August 31, 2007

Espresso: My simple request for a single espresso inexplicably took two or three employees and nearly 10 minutes to process. What eventually resulted was about 1.5oz. of overly hot, slightly astringent espresso with a mild spice flavour. The crema was thin and pale. The shot was not ground to order, and they didn't add very much coffee to the portafilter.

Atmosphere: Small and crowded with slow-moving employees.

Verdict: Not very good, but at least it's fair-trade.