Special Xtra

Overall Rating: 7.550

Address: 46 Minna St.
Cross Street(s): Shaw Alley, btwn 1st & 2nd Sts.
City, State ZIP: San Francisco, CA 94105
Neighborhood: SOMA
Phone: None
Hours: M-F 7:30am-4pm
Type of Establishment: Espresso Bar (Chain)
Cafe Rating: 6.80
Barista: 9
Savvy: 8
Ambiance: 2
Presentation: 8
Consistency: Consistent
Espresso Machine: La Marzocco
Coffee Rating: 8.30
Aroma: 8
Body: 8
Brightness: 8
Crema: 8
Flavor: 8
Taster's Correction: 1.5
Size: S
Primary Taste: Pungent
Coffee Beans: Blue Bottle Coffee Co.
Cup Manufacturer: Nuova Point
Price: $2.00
Last Update: 05/21/2010
First Reviewed: 03/08/2010
Notes: Kiosk; Coffee Sales

More alley coffee requiring patrons to walk through a drug deal from Kirk Harper and John Quintos, the people who also brought us Vega and Cento. This kiosk took over the glassed-in smokers' lounge at the rear of the Harlot bar and sits near the 555 Mission St. rear loading docks and the smell of nearby garbage pickup - with the Transbay Terminal parking lot across Minna St. Unlike the other kiosks in the chain, there is no seating here - not even a fire hydrant - showing that the prioprietors are serious about their amenity-free chain concept. Using Blue Bottle's Hayes Valley Espresso blend in a two-group La Marzocco Linea, they pull very short, potent shots with a textured, medium brown crema of good consistency and relative size. The flavor is mostly an earthy pungency, but there's a good balance between sweetness, some brightness, and richer body earthiness: this is no overwhelming brightness bomb here, and it works quite well. On the other taste extreme, it doesn't taste like dirt either. Served in classic brown Nuova Point cups. Milk-frothing is decent but not great: a bit on the wet side with an ok attempt at latte art.