Mountain Grounds

Overall Rating: 7.400

Address: 3750 Alhambra Ave. #2
Cross Street(s): Btwn H & J Sts.
City, State ZIP: Martinez, CA 94553
Phone: 406.459.9206
Hours: M-F 5am-7pm; Sa-Su 6am-5pm
Type of Establishment: Espresso Bar
Cafe Rating: 6.50
Barista: 8
Savvy: 9
Ambiance: 7
Presentation: 2
Consistency: Consistent
Espresso Machine: Nuova Simonelli
Coffee Rating: 8.30
Aroma: 8
Body: 8
Brightness: 8
Crema: 8
Flavor: 8
Taster's Correction: 1.5
Size: M
Primary Taste: Turpeny
Coffee Beans: Revel Coffee Roasters
Cup Manufacturer: Paper
Price: $2.00
Last Update: 05/17/2015
First Reviewed: 01/11/2015
Notes: Coffee Sales; Coffee Accessory Sales; Outdoor Seating

Opening in the latter half of 2013, this coffeeshop is in the middle of nowhere but is unique enough, and has high enough quality standards, to make it well worth a stop. Located in a Martinez strip mall of four stores (what else are you going to find outside of old downtown Martinez?), it's a tight space inside with window counter seating in front and hardly a few seats next to the service counter. Outside there are a few café tables along the sidewalk under the strip mall porticos - along with a couple of lounging chairs and a heat lamp. Owner John Cassidy and his wife, Danielle, gregariously operate this shop. One of John's longtime friends is Gary Theisen of Revel Coffee in Billings, Montana, and Revel ships in the coffee from Montana every Monday. (The shop's phone number also betrays John's Montana roots.) The shop follows some creative small-town practices, such as accepting orders via SMS text in advance. They also offer a variety of specialty coffee drinks, including crème brûlée lattes (set aflame before being served for the crispy top) and the S'more. At one side of the cramped shop is a menu titled "A Taste of 3rd Wave Coffee Shops", which features a double ristretto, 1 'N 1, macchiato, cortado, cappuccino, and a con panna. They pull espresso shots from a newer two-group Nuova Simonelli with a modest layer of even, medium brown crema with good "coagulation". There's a fruity brightness in the cup of cherry and berry, but a lack of the apple-like acidity that you might find with typical coffee from newer Cali roasters (e.g., Sightglass). This makes it a unique and rather balanced cup. Milk-frothing here is pretty even. They offer weight-measured Chemex and pour-over coffee. The shop's loyal following includes those who also take home Revel beans, which are packaged in clear plastic drinking cups with lids. Coffees are all designated by their growing altitude (1900m, etc.) Paper only except for large ceramic logo cups for the bigger milk-based drinks.