Torrefazione Italia

Overall Rating: 6.950

NOTE: This location is CLOSED (no longer in business).

Address: 295 California St.
Cross Street(s): Battery St.
City, State ZIP: San Francisco, CA 94111
Neighborhood: Financial District
Phone: 415.274.1634
Hours: M-F 5:30am-6pm; Sa 8am-3pm; Su 7am-9pm
Type of Establishment: Espresso Bar (Chain)
Cafe Rating: 7.00
Barista: 6
Savvy: 6
Ambiance: 8
Presentation: 8
Consistency: Consistent
Espresso Machine: Elektra
Coffee Rating: 6.90
Aroma: 7
Body: 7
Brightness: 7
Crema: 7
Flavor: 7
Taster's Correction: -0.5
Size: M
Primary Taste: Smoky
Coffee Beans: Torrefazione Italia
Cup Manufacturer: Le Porcellane d'ANCAP
Price: $1.45
Last Update: 08/04/2005
First Reviewed: 05/09/2003
Notes: Coffee Sales; Coffee Accessory Sales; Outdoor Seating

Coffee snobs long ruled out this chain of Italian cafés years ago - once it exchanged private ownership for part of a larger corporation. However, it wasn't until 2004 - with the demise of their once-great barista training and standards - that Torrefazione Italia went from serving some of the finest espresso in the City to something just this side of "pretty good". By 2005, with an ownership turnover to Starbucks, the transformation was complete when it became just another coffee shop: the Deruta ceramics were gone as was the latte art. This location has a great, busy ambiance inside - with many hand-painted café tables and dark wood chairs. Outdoor sidewalk seating. Their espresso once excelled on many levels: crema, acidity, aroma, flavor. Now they serve espresso with a crema, varying from medium to darker brown, that is more often a little bare. The aroma has slacked off, and the body still generally runs thinner than you'd expect. The flavor of their Brazilian-based blends used to finish with a syrup-like sweetness of honey and vanilla, but now they taste of a more pungent, tobaccoey flavor with even a bit of ashiness. They still excel at milk-frothing drinks, with exquisite microfoam. Paradise Lost. Starbucks is putting this acquired chain through a graceless death. [CLOSED as of 11/3/05, opened as a Starbucks in 2006.]