Peet's Coffee & Tea

Overall Rating: 6.750

Address: 22 Battery St.
Cross Street(s): Bush St.
City, State ZIP: San Francisco, CA 94111
Neighborhood: Financial District
Phone: 415.981.4550
Hours: M-F 5:30am-6pm
Type of Establishment: Espresso Bar (Chain)
Cafe Rating: 6.20
Barista: 7
Savvy: 8
Ambiance: 5
Presentation: 5
Consistency: Consistent
Espresso Machine: Faema
Coffee Rating: 7.30
Aroma: 7
Body: 7
Brightness: 7
Crema: 7
Flavor: 8
Taster's Correction: 0.5
Size: M
Primary Taste: Nut-like
Coffee Beans: Peet's Coffee & Tea
Cup Manufacturer: Japan Ceramic
Price: $1.55
Last Update: 05/18/2009
First Reviewed: 07/29/2003
Notes: Coffee Sales; Coffee Accessory Sales

Busy downtown corner outlet with long morning lines, heavy turnover, and no seating - unless you count the pigeon-infested park benches in the Mechanics sculpture plaza out front. Heavy on the "to go" culture with paper cups flying out the door. However, you can order an espresso in a Peet's ceramic cup (with no saucer for singles) - just that they don't even have much of a counter at which to drink it. (And they tend to be sloppy with the pour.) Hyper-efficient - to the point of annoying - register staff. Using a three-group E91 Diplomat (and a sizeable, dedicated milk-frothing machine), they pull shots with a full, lighter brown crema that can vary from a thick richness to a mottled mixture containing microbubbles (on the negative end). Good aroma (sometimes very good) that's not entirely dominated by coffee. Complex flavor of mild spices and a hint of sweetness is primarily nutty, almost almond-like, with an occasional grainy aftertaste. Could be brighter, but the body is good when the shot sizes aren't too large. Like many Peet's, they rotate their espresso blend daily: Espresso Forte, Major Dickason's, Garuda Blend, etc. - so the flavor profile can vary daily. Normally I don't trust many places that sell Bialetti Moka pots in monstrous 6-cup sizes (or, as the Italians call them, "American sized"), but they generally have a decent awareness of good coffee and it shows in the product. There have been better Peet's, but this one moved towards the head of the pack in 2007 and has remained there for the most part since. Staff rotation is always a big variable, but they seem to manage it well here.