Location: 644 Emerson Street, Palo Alto
Reviewed: November 16, 2008
Espresso: Fraiche uses Blue Bottle Coffee, and it resultantly shows. They have a separate barista for each shift (so not just any employee can work the machine and make drinks), and they've been obviously trained, grinding and tamping each shot; they also use a bottomless portafiler. They use the Hayes Valley blend here, and the results with it typically display a thick crema that can vary from an even medium brown to something a bit darker and flecked. It's full-bodied and complex, displaying a pungent spice that hides a sweeter, berrylike finish.
Atmosphere: Not a lot to speak of in this regard. The interior is small and perhaps typical. The shop is somewhat oblong with seating along one side (as well as a single table around a corner which is pretty unnoticeable unless you know it's there). It can get crowded.
Verdict: Good espresso from a yogurt shop. Who would have thought?