Café Lumiere

Overall Rating: 8.300

Address: 365 Calle Principal
Cross Street(s): Franklin St., at the Osio Cinema
City, State ZIP: Monterey, CA 93940
Phone: 831.920.2451
Hours: M-F 6:30am-10pm; Sa-Su 7am-10pm
Type of Establishment: Cafe
Cafe Rating: 8.00
Barista: 9
Savvy: 8
Ambiance: 8
Presentation: 7
Consistency: Consistent
Espresso Machine: Rancilio
Coffee Rating: 8.60
Aroma: 8
Body: 8
Brightness: 8
Crema: 9
Flavor: 9
Taster's Correction: 1.0
Size: L
Primary Taste: Pungent
Coffee Beans: Acme Coffee Roasting Company
Cup Manufacturer: Espresso Parts
Price: $1.75
Last Update: 03/15/2015
First Reviewed: 09/14/2008
Notes: Coffee Sales; Outdoor Seating

The Cafe Noir that previously existed at this location made one of the best espresso shots you could buy in the area until it closed down in early 2008. Fortunately, its replacement (opening April 2008) is more than worthy. It still has one of the best café scenes in the entire Monterey Peninsula, but now has trip-worthy espresso if you're in the region. Attached to the Osio Cinemas downtown, this location has two indoor levels and an outdoor patio designed for lounging. Like Cafe Noir, it has a rather Bohemian feel (but all in a good way). But here they have improved further upon the coffee quality standards that Cafe Noir had first set here in 2005. Free Wi-Fi and pastries, desserts, and basic panini and salads. They replaced Cafe Noir's Faema E-61 with a two-group La Marzocco GB/5. (Recently an old Rancilio Z8 two-group manual lever machine from Mr. Espresso has made appearances.) They pull shots of nearby Acme coffee, and the barista takes a good amount of time - which may not service the line very quickly, but the results are very positive in the cup. Here you will even find groups of middle-aged men speaking Italian over espresso on weekend mornings - giving you an almost Caffe Trieste-like feel (just at half the age). The shot is a bit generous - a doppio served tall in a black Espresso Parks cup (formerly classic brown Nuova Point cups). It comes with a richly textured, medium brown, even crema, and the flavor is potent and pungent: they clearly use freshly roasted and well-prepared beans. They are also notable with milk-frothing. What used to be a thick, dense microfoam that didn't fully blend in (i.e., a noticeable coffee-milk barrier) is now a smooth texture that supports great rosetta latte art on - get this - regulation 10-oz cappuccinos (as it should be). But some Sunday crews can be the B team. They have inexpensive vac pot coffee too (though currently not seen on the menu).