Sunday, June 28, 2009

Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea

Location: 1331 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice

Reviewed: June 13, 2009

Espresso: Intelligentsia serves their famous Black Cat in addition to a seasonally-rotating succession of single origins. Shots are ground-to-order, and poured on Synessos. Temperature is adjusted periodically along with grind. My shot (I selected Black Cat), was poured to about 1.75oz. in a white ceramic demi. It had a thick dark brown crema, along with a chocolate-milk-like sweetness.

Atmosphere: The concept of the Venice location of Intelligentsia is a rather unusal departure for a coffeebar. It features a few benches along the walls, giving limited seating, and no tables whatsoever. There are no fewer than five separate barista workstations at which customers may be served. When a customer is not being served, they are held at the front desk. Apparently the point is to better facilitate barista-customer interaction, but I don't know how well it will work for anyone other than the afficionados, who probably manage to have a high level of interaction with their barista anyway.

Verdict: Strange concept, but excellent espresso.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Barista Brew Cafe

Location: 431 G Street, Davis

Reviewed: June 11, 2009

Espresso: My single was served on the tall end for volume, at perhaps 1.5oz. It was ground to order and tamped. The medium-to-light brown crema was of moderate thickness but dissipated rapidly. The shot contained notes of caramel and a hint of lemony-acidity, with a nutty aftertaste. It was, however, slightly sour.

Atmosphere: Barista Brew is a small shop near the edge of downtown Davis. It has limited seating due to the size but also has a couple of tables on the sidewalk. Other than being on the small side, there isn't much of note to comment on.

Verdict: Solid but not outstanding.