Abbey Coffee, Art & Music Lounge, The

Overall Rating: 8.150

Address: 350 Mission St.
Cross Street(s): Highland Ave.
City, State ZIP: Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Phone: 831.429.1058
Hours: Tu-F 7am-6pm; Sa-Su 8:30am-10pm
Type of Establishment: Espresso Bar
Cafe Rating: 8.50
Barista: 8
Savvy: 9
Ambiance: 9
Presentation: 8
Consistency: Consistent
Espresso Machine: Nuova Simonelli
Coffee Rating: 7.80
Aroma: 8
Body: 6
Brightness: 8
Crema: 8
Flavor: 8
Taster's Correction: 1.0
Size: M
Primary Taste: Pungent
Coffee Beans: Verve Coffee Roasters
Cup Manufacturer: ACF
Price: $2.10
Last Update: 01/23/2011
First Reviewed: 03/15/2009
Notes: Coffee Sales; Coffee Accessory Sales

Santa Cruz finally has the student café scene it always wanted, though somewhat surprisingly in the form of a non-profit operated by the Vintage Faith Church next door. Open since mid-2008, their slogan is "made with love" - and it's hard to argue with that. The staff here, many volunteers, are incredibly friendly and coffee enthusiasts to boot. It's a packed scene of collegiate youth, with occasional jazz performances at night. Inside it is spacious and somewhat dark with an odd, edgy feel of someone's old antique store: it's a rather vast floorplan consisting of mismatched sofas, tables, chairs, church benches, hanging window panes, pianos, candles, light fixtures, and found art. Using a two-group Nuova Simonelli at the front bar, they serve Verve's Sermon blend (how appropriate) with a dark brown swirl of modest crema in traditional brown ACF cups. (Date-stamped Verve coffee is also available for retail sale.) The resulting shot is a little light on body, but it carries a lot of flavor in an appropriately sized shot: some dark caramel notes over a pungent flavor of cloves and herbs with a sharp brightness at the bottom of the cup. Served with a small cookie on the side. Their cappuccino is typically "traditional": lighter on the milk and volume (so you can taste the espresso) with thick and creamy milk just barely frothed in as a thinner layer. Maybe not the best Verve shot you've ever had, but you'll be hard-pressed to find a better place to enjoy one.