Thursday, April 23, 2009

Cafe Sportivo

Location: 965 Brewster Ave., Redwood City

Reviewed: April 22, 2009

Espresso: Sportivo serves the Northern Italian Espresso from Ecco Caffe. They grind to order, pour directly into the cup, and tamp properly, yet somehow the result is off, quite probably due to either the rather large pour volume (~2.5oz.) or perhaps too low a temperature (but I speculate on this). In any case, the end result is a completely full espresso cup with a nice-looking mottled medium-brown crema that dissipates rapidly. The shot is mostly sharp and sour, but it does have some interesting notes of nutmeg.

Atmosphere: Sportivo is a moderately sized shop with rather nice couches and glass-topped tables. It could almost be called elegant. Large picture windows cover the two sides of the building that look out to either street. Free wifi.

Verdict: Potential, unrealized.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Old Soul Co.

Location: 1716 L Street, Sacramento

Reviewed: April 5, 2009

Espresso: My shot was ground-to-order but that didn't seem to help matters much. The crema was pale, although not particularly thin, and the shot had primarily a sour lemon flavour and not much body. It was probably about 2.25 oz. and served in a properly-sized demitasse with matching saucer.

Atmosphere: The entrance to Old Soul is located in an alleyway in the back of their building. It's not particularly easy to find. Once you do get inside, the shop is large and open with a high wooden ceiling with exposed rafters. Both roasting and baking operations take place here, to the extent that the retail aspect seems an add-on. I saw no evidence of any climate control systems (which they must have in Sacramento or they'd melt in the summer).

Verdict: You can do better in Sacramento.