Overall Rating: 7.250

Address: 1110 Garden St.
Cross Street(s): Higuera St.
City, State ZIP: San Luis Obispo, CA 93405
Phone: 805.541.5888
Hours: M-Sa 6:30am-11pm; Su 6:30am-10pm
Type of Establishment: Espresso Bar
Cafe Rating: 7.50
Barista: 7
Savvy: 8
Ambiance: 7
Presentation: 8
Consistency: N/A
Espresso Machine: La Marzocco
Coffee Rating: 7.00
Aroma: 6
Body: 6
Brightness: 7
Crema: 8
Flavor: 7
Taster's Correction: 1.0
Size: M
Primary Taste: Pungent
Coffee Beans: Alta Organic Coffee & Tea Co.
Cup Manufacturer: Nuova Point
Price: $1.50
Last Update: 11/21/2009
First Reviewed: 11/21/2009
Notes: Coffee Accessory Sales

What a strange café. This has been an institution in downtown SLO for over 25 years. The place shows its age - with a lot of wood and furnishing wear by years of students (a few noisily from the bar across the street). When you enter, there's a room centered around the service area with a two-group La Marzocco Linea. But after 25 years, they don't seem to have bothered to figure out an efficient service system: waits are typically quite long even when the lines aren't. That exposes you to additional painful minutes of listening to some of their wretched folk singers in the back room. When we visited, even the payment process at the register was mathematically challenged: the prices listed on their extensive wall boards were not the amounts they actually charged. There's limited window-side stool seating along the street windows, which nicely open up to the occasional chaos outside. But most of the seating is in the back. They promote their organic Fair Tradeness and use Alta Coffee for espresso and a combination of Alta and local roaster Joebella for filter drip. But they certainly serve more than just espresso and coffee, as the extensive (and almost fabricated) beverage menu will attest: many frilly faux espresso drinks such as white mochas, flavored lattes, etc. Even so, to our relief they serve a properly short shot with a striped layer of medium and darker brown crema. It looks legit served in classic brown Nuova Point cups. The body is a little thinner than you'd expect with those looks, and there's a balanced flavor dominated mostly by a muted herbal pungency. This is espresso, unlike what they serve at Uptown nearby.