LaCoppa Coffee

Overall Rating: 6.800

NOTE: This location is CLOSED (no longer in business).

Address: 2 Miller Ave.
Cross Street(s): Throckmorton Ave. on Lytton Square
City, State ZIP: Mill Valley, CA 94941
Phone: 415.383.2912
Hours: M-W 6am-7pm; Th-Sa 6am-8pm; Su 6:30am-7pm
Type of Establishment: Espresso Bar (Chain)
Cafe Rating: 6.80
Barista: 7
Savvy: 6
Ambiance: 7
Presentation: 7
Consistency: N/A
Espresso Machine: Pasquini
Coffee Rating: 6.80
Aroma: 7
Body: 7
Brightness: 7
Crema: 6
Flavor: 7
Taster's Correction: 0.0
Size: XL
Primary Taste: Smoky
Coffee Beans: LaCoppa Coffee
Cup Manufacturer: ACF
Price: $1.75
Last Update: 01/21/2013
First Reviewed: 01/21/2013
Notes: Coffee Sales; Outdoor Seating

LaCoppa has had a strange history for such a relatively "young" espresso roaster and café chain. Owner/founder Arnold V. Spinelli is the one constant -- as he developed this endeavor after selling off his 14-store Spinelli Coffee chain (founded in 1986 San Francisco) to Tully's back in 1998. He had a period where he collaborated with Sal Bonavita and where the enterprise shared Sal's last name. But now LaCoppa Coffee sits proudly on Mill Valley's main Lytton Square off on a corner -- roasting their own but also serving retail coffee drinks. They sport outdoor bench and French café chair seating along the Throckmorton Ave. sidewalk for maximum people-watching. There's also covered outdoor seating overlooking Lytton Square along Miller Ave. Inside it's a small space with mostly bench seating and a couple of tiny, zinc-topped café tables. There's a dessert counter and bean sales for their many blends (they use their Espresso Speciale for their espresso drinks). They also offer a true Melitta bar service, reminiscient of a time a decade ago when th few pour-over bars in the Bay Area were decidedly German and not Japanese as current trends dictate. Their four-group Pasquini machine at the entrance shows its age, and the staff show their unawareness by leaving the portafilters cooling outside of the machine's group heads. Espresso shots are served as gargantuan doubles by default: with a thin, paltry layer of crema on a huge surface of a wide-mouthed, classic brown ACF cup. It tastes of tobacco smoke and some of that old-style dark SF-style roasting (i.e., Spinelli) with a touch of ash. The milk-frothing is generally decent, even microfoam. In any case, it's not your best coffee shop but it's a likeable one -- even if it's a complete throwback to espresso in 1980s San Francisco. [CLOSED: as of Sep '13; after 13 years, bought by Equator Estates.]