Epicenter Cafe

Overall Rating: 7.900

Address: 764 Harrison St.
Cross Street(s): Btwn 3rd & 4th Sts.
City, State ZIP: San Francisco, CA 94107
Neighborhood: SOMA
Phone: 415.543.5436
Hours: M-F 7:30am-8pm; Sa-Su 8am-7pm
Type of Establishment: Cafe
Cafe Rating: 8.00
Barista: 8
Savvy: 8
Ambiance: 8
Presentation: 8
Consistency: Inconsistent
Espresso Machine: Elektra
Coffee Rating: 7.80
Aroma: 8
Body: 7
Brightness: 8
Crema: 8
Flavor: 8
Taster's Correction: 0.0
Size: M
Primary Taste: Pungent
Coffee Beans: Chromatic Coffee Co.
Cup Manufacturer: ACF
Price: $2.50
Last Update: 05/14/2015
First Reviewed: 02/12/2009
Notes: Coffee Sales; Outdoor Seating

Opening up in the latter half of 2008, this café may have served salads, soups, wine, and even light dinner plates -- and became a regular hangout for dot-com disrupters holding ad hoc interviews -- but much of that would be a distraction. Because this was once a serious coffee destination (not surprising, since we were personally given an original heads-up about this place by then-Barefoot Coffee's Andy Newbom). It's a relatively long, recessed space with leather sofas and tables in the back, small wooden tables and chairs throughout, and large windows in front with some stool/counter seating. Outside along the sidewalk there are also some wooden patio café tables. All espresso shots are served as doubles -- formerly from a four-group La Marzocco Linea, and more recently from a three-group Elektra machine. But with their switch from Barefoot (The Boss and their rotation of single origin shots) to the equally-worthy Chromatic Coffee (Burundi Kirema at last check) around 2013, it seems that the quality has not been the same. No longer are the baristas unafraid to toss shots that don't meet their high standards. Instead of a good, albeit not stellar, textured medium brown crema of decent thickness, it's now very bubbly and thin. The potency and richness is gone, replaced with a more watery balanced flavor of herbal pungency, spices, and a hint of molasses sweetness. Still served in classic brown, thick-walled ACF cups. Variances have often occured in their shot sizes -- from proper doubles to potently strong 1.5oz doubles -- so it's possible you could catch a good barista on a better day. Where they can be weaker is in their milk-frothing: good, but not stellar.