Bean Island

Overall Rating: 4.100

Address: 101 4th St.
Cross Street(s): Mission St., in the Metreon
City, State ZIP: San Francisco, CA 94103
Neighborhood: SOMA
Phone: 415.777.1224
Hours: M-Th 9am-8:30pm; F-Sa 9am-9:30pm
Type of Establishment: Espresso Bar
Cafe Rating: 3.80
Barista: 5
Savvy: 5
Ambiance: 3
Presentation: 2
Consistency: Inconsistent
Espresso Machine: Bravo
Coffee Rating: 4.40
Aroma: 5
Body: 5
Brightness: 5
Crema: 2
Flavor: 5
Taster's Correction: 0.0
Size: XL
Primary Taste: Smoky
Coffee Beans: The Bean Coffee Company
Cup Manufacturer: Paper
Price: $1.80
Last Update: 09/01/2009
First Reviewed: 08/28/2009
Notes: Kiosk; Coffee Sales; Coffee Accessory Sales

Replacing a former Starbucks kiosk next to Chronicle Books, this kiosk caf� opened in 2009 with the Metreon's post-recession switch. (To find desperate use for vacant retail space, the Metreon resorted to things like the lame Island Earth Farmers Market.) It's by no means comfortable, as any seating is limited to the "mall food court" in front of you. But what disturbed us most about this caf� was its over-the-top health marketing pitch. The coffee, from SoCal's The Bean Coffee Company, comes emblazoned with a snake-oil-like "100% organic antioxidant rich coffee" come on. And while we could possibly stomach coffee that's sold like a pharmaceutical, what we cannot tolerate is coffee of meager quality. The problems started with the single-group Astoria machine they first used - which they did at least replace with a two-group Bravo. But while the shot sizes got smaller with the machine switch, they still serve it out of 12 oz paper cups. The machine upgrade also seems to have completely obliterated what little crema that was once there. The body is still thin with the smaller pour size, and it has flavors of primarily smoke and tobacco (how ironic for coffee sold as a health elixir) - and no sweetness nor roundedness to the cup to speak of. The result is a place that's no better than the Starbucks kiosk it replaced, but with a lot more health claims. Coffee that is almost as annoying as the nearby electronic train whistle on a kid's ride.