Blue Bottle Cafe

Overall Rating: 8.500


Address: 66 Mint St.
Cross Street(s): Jessie St., in the Mint Plaza near 5th & Mission Sts.
City, State ZIP: San Francisco, CA 94103
Neighborhood: SOMA
Phone: 510.653.3394
Hours: M-F 7am-7pm; Sa 8am-6pm; Su 8am-4pm
Type of Establishment: Espresso Bar (Chain)
Cafe Rating: 8.50
Barista: 8
Savvy: 9
Ambiance: 9
Presentation: 8
Consistency: Consistent
Espresso Machine: La Marzocco
Coffee Rating: 8.50
Aroma: 8
Body: 7
Brightness: 9
Crema: 9
Flavor: 8
Taster's Correction: 1.5
Size: M
Primary Taste: Smoky
Coffee Beans: Blue Bottle Coffee Co.
Cup Manufacturer: Nuova Point
Price: $2.50
Last Update: 11/29/2011
First Reviewed: 01/23/2008
Notes: Coffee Sales; Coffee Accessory Sales; Outdoor Seating

Review
Located at a bend in Jesse St. in the Mint Plaza alleyway, it's a bright space with tall ceilings and tall windows that look out on Jesse and Mint Sts. Along the windows is a series of stools with counter seating. Inside there is limited seating at the siphon bar and one long, high table surrounded by stools. Of course the emphasis is coffee in all its various forms. But there are very worthy breakfast, brunch, and dessert menus here. For their 'routine' espresso blends (rated here), they use a three-group La Marzocco GB/5. As you would expect from Blue Bottle, the barista concentrates on timing a slow and deliberate shot, producing an espresso with a richly textured, medium brown patterned crema. A beautiful color and potent aroma, but a thinner body than you might expect. Classic robust Blue Bottle flavor of roasted tobacco with an edge of a sweeter honey. Served in a classic brown Nuova Point cup with a glass of water on the side. Weekly single origin espresso shots can even be more impressive ($3) - served from a dedicated manual, two-group Bosco machine - now available most of the day. The Brazilian Camocim Bourbon has an exquisite aroma. The crema is a rich, mottled, and frothy medium brown - a touch thinner in size, as you might expect from a single origin espresso, but it has texture for miles. A robust flavor of chocolate and some tobacco smokiness. The siphon bar (also after 10am) is also a nice touch for vacuum pot coffees - each paired with a sweet confection. The siphon bar represents an artist's worthy challenge to the push-button Clover machine for making superior brewed coffee. There's even Kyoto cold-brewed coffee - the first in SF. Milk-based drinks are also excellent: the cappuccino is modestly sized and comes with a detailed, textured, latte art heart. Slacker purists can sulk "sell out!" all they want at this coffee cathedral - this is a true coffee destination for the city. 2011 showed signs of quality fatigue in milk-frothing, etc., however.