Equator Coffees at Proof Lab Surf Shop

Overall Rating: 8.100

Address: 244 Shoreline Hwy.
Cross Street(s): Almonte Blvd.
City, State ZIP: Mill Valley, CA 94941
Phone: 415.209.3733
Hours: M-F 6am-6pm; Sa-Su 7am-6pm
Type of Establishment: Espresso Bar
Cafe Rating: 8.00
Barista: 8
Savvy: 8
Ambiance: 8
Presentation: 8
Consistency: N/A
Espresso Machine: La Marzocco
Coffee Rating: 8.20
Aroma: 8
Body: 8
Brightness: 8
Crema: 9
Flavor: 8
Taster's Correction: 0.0
Size: M
Primary Taste: Pungent
Coffee Beans: Equator Estate Coffees
Cup Manufacturer: Espresso Parts
Price: $2.50
Last Update: 04/12/2014
First Reviewed: 04/12/2014
Notes: Coffee Sales; Coffee Accessory Sales; Outdoor Seating

Equator Estates Coffees long needed a reference quality retail coffee bar to showcase their wares, and this is it: opening in June 2013. Located at one of the main divides in Mill Valley between traffic into "downtown" and traffic towards Muir Woods and the Hwy 1 beaches, this red-painted wooden shack at the head of a part-gravel parking lot beckons surfers and coffee lovers alike. It seems like an odd place for a surf shop (Proof Lab, in back): sandwiched between the Bothin Marsh and Coyote Creek with no sign of sand for miles. But the surfers (and boarders) come. There's a cement patio in front, enclosed from the highway by standing surfboards and a surf-board-inspired outdoor table. The rear entrance to the building has seating among white-painted metal café tables and chairs - and a surfboard table. Inside there are several small wooden café tables set against a wall of Hurley surf advertising. (With surfboards in the rear.) One wall is dedicated to retail sale of various coffees and home brewing equipment. Using a red, two-group Strada machine, they pull shots with a mottled, textured crema of a medium and darker brown. It looks robust and organic, has a decent body, a full aroma, and a well-blended flavor of herbal pungency mixed with some spices, heavy cherry-like fruit (perhaps just a touch too much fruit for my tastes), and some honey-like edges. Served in white logo Espresso Parts cups with very necessary sparkling water on the side. It's a solid cup. It has great visual appeal and seems like it has all the ingredients for excellence, but it just falls just a touch short at managing "just" very good.