|Opening around Thanksgiving of 2011, this downtown location of Verve clearly ups the design aesthetics and sends a signal across the street of the venerable Lulu Carpenters. If only the coffee service could live up to everything else promised by visual pageantry here. It's a beautiful, open space with a prime location. There's a lot of exposed, unfinished wood integrated in its interior design (though less wood than, say, Sightglass) and bare, decorative hanging lightbulbs. It's an airy space with seating concentrated at stools and window counters along Pacific Ave. and Front St. There's also larger wooden tables with affixed, movable seating that suggests a strange cross between a McDonald's and a German biergarten. There's a wall of merchandising, which includes a variety of freshly roasted coffees. Not that we're big fans of marketing literature, but they oddly offer little for consumers to discriminate their coffees - which becomes perplexing when they offer roasts from four different El Salvador farms (or more recently: four Geishas)). They replaced their original two gleaming three-group La Marzocco Strada machines for fancier Mistrals, each accompanied by Nuova Simonelli Mythos grinders (formerly Mazzer) featuring different bean stocks. It's not like their service counter doesn't take the appropriate time - waits for an espresso shot can be 5-10 minutes even at 3pm on a Saturday. But the resulting shot, using their Sermon blend, have had a tepid serving temperature, a thin medium brown crema with some limited texture, and a watered-down body that tastes of wet tobacco leaves. It is surprisingly disappointing, although not inconsistent with most places that opt to showcase modern pressure-control machines. It's unlikely to be an off barista, or one refusing to sink shot it, as we've reproduced this experience multiple times. Tepid, and even moreso with milk as a macchiato or one & one. Served in notNeutral cups with a side of sparkling water.