Overall Rating: 8.050

Address: 1408 Market St.
Cross Street(s): Btwn Van Ness Ave. & Polk St.
City, State ZIP: San Francisco, CA 94102
Neighborhood: Civic Center
Phone: 415.626.8884
Hours: M-F 8am-12am; Sa 5pm-12am
Type of Establishment: Espresso Bar
Cafe Rating: 8.20
Barista: 8
Savvy: 9
Ambiance: 8
Presentation: 8
Consistency: Consistent
Espresso Machine: La Marzocco
Coffee Rating: 7.90
Aroma: 7
Body: 7
Brightness: 8
Crema: 8
Flavor: 8
Taster's Correction: 1.5
Size: M
Primary Taste: Smoky
Coffee Beans: Intelligentsia
Cup Manufacturer: ACF
Price: $2.50
Last Update: 04/05/2011
First Reviewed: 11/11/2010
Notes: Coffee Sales

Owner Phillip Ma is a self-fashioned coffee geek with high-end coffeemaking toys but no real prior training in a formal retail coffee environment. This spot is part night club, part wine bar, part coffee lounge. (A night-time coffee lounge??) They offer coffee brewed six ways: espresso machine, Hario V60 pour-overs, Chemex, French Press, a Japanese siphon bar, and a Kyoto slow-drip coffee maker. They also offer multiple coffees - Intelligentsia?s Black Cat, Ecco Caff� (many varieties), and Tim Wendelboe. Their espresso machine is the Musashi 4: a one-of-a-kind, custom four-group La Marzoccos. The interior is (sometimes) dark with artistic murals, a few red leather booths, painted black wood walls, a high ceiling, red acrylic chairs, and a short bar seating area at the front entrance. They have wine and cheese lists in addition to their "caffeine list." Sketchy passersby in the 'hood will lick the rear windows. Their pre-infusion-controlled espresso machine is now dialed-in for a handful of their available coffees. The Black Cat is their default espresso (rated here); our first shot was at a 199-degree brewing temperature with 4 bar of pre-infusion pressure: an even, lighter, medium-brown-colored crema. The flavor was primarily sweet tobacco, with a flavor profile that barely suggested "blend". There's also Black Cat made at a different profile: a 200.5-degree brewing temperature with 6 bar of pre-infusion pressure. This shot was a bit closer to the Black Cat "at origin" we?re used to: a much headier crema, more caramel flavors, and a more traditional, more rounded flavor and a slightly darker crema. Their machine was also tuned for the Ecco Caff� Guatemala El Tambor single origin shot, which came with a mellow aroma, a lighter crema, and served sweet and bright with just a touch of sourness - very much in the tropical fruit vein. Classic brown ACF cups