Coffee Cat

Overall Rating: 8.200

Address: 255 Mount Herman Rd., Suite A
Cross Street(s): Kings Dr., in the Scotts Valley Shopping Center
City, State ZIP: Scotts Valley, CA 95066
Phone: 831.439.0700
Hours: Su-Th 5am-10pm; F-Sa 5am-11pm
Type of Establishment: Espresso Bar
Cafe Rating: 8.00
Barista: 8
Savvy: 8
Ambiance: 8
Presentation: 8
Consistency: Very consistent
Espresso Machine: La Marzocco
Coffee Rating: 8.40
Aroma: 7
Body: 9
Brightness: 9
Crema: 8
Flavor: 9
Taster's Correction: 0.0
Size: M
Primary Taste: Syrup-like
Coffee Beans: Coffee Cat
Cup Manufacturer: ACF
Price: $1.85
Last Update: 08/02/2009
First Reviewed: 08/01/2009
Notes: Coffee Sales; Outdoor Seating

Holy crap. This is one of those rare finds where a small town and a strip mall can produce some outstanding coffee and espresso that competes with the best. Located in a shopping strip mall next to a Safeway, the signage for the café won't even be visible if you approach it from Hwy 17 to the east (the signage faces west). It's a deep store with comfy leather chairs towards the back, a number of free Wi-Fi users, and an on-site roasting operation in front with a Diedrich roaster surrounded by lots of green beans. They date-stamp their roasts for sale here, and they keep the inventory fresh. (And at the nearby Scotts Valley Farmers' Market a couple blocks north on Saturdays, they offer some great Chemex and French press coffees.) They emphasize the use of organic foods, but it's primarily about the coffee here. They even offer drinks like the cortado. Using a two-group La Marzocco Linea, they pull espresso shots with an encouraging-looking, medium-to-dark-brown crema. While the short cup (a classic brown ACF demitasse) doesn't carry a lot of aroma, the shot comes with a whopping level of brightness, a syrupy flavor and texture, a dense body, and a potent sweetness mixed with herbal pungency and some spice. This is the classic North American brightness bomb that some espresso purists find a little overwhelming, but it's the sort of thing that's only achievable with solid quality-awareness throughout the entire delivery chain. This is some of the most potent, flavorful coffee we've had. Their "classic cappuccino" (a mere $2) is also quite good, with the coffee standing up strongly to the milk. While they do a little latte art here, it is simple if not primitive and minimalist. While their milk frothing is quite good, it's not quite to the standards of their coffee - but those are some pretty high standards. Worth a special trip.