Caff� Trieste

Overall Rating: 7.900

Address: 609 Vallejo St.
Cross Street(s): Grant St.
City, State ZIP: San Francisco, CA 94133
Neighborhood: North Beach
Phone: 415.982.2605
Hours: Su-Th 6:30am-11pm; F-Sa 6:30am-12am
Type of Establishment: Espresso Bar (Chain)
Cafe Rating: 8.50
Barista: 8
Savvy: 8
Ambiance: 10
Presentation: 8
Consistency: Consistent
Espresso Machine: La San Marco
Coffee Rating: 7.30
Aroma: 6
Body: 8
Brightness: 8
Crema: 7
Flavor: 8
Taster's Correction: -0.5
Size: M
Primary Taste: Pungent
Coffee Beans: Caffe Trieste
Cup Manufacturer: ACF
Price: $1.70
Last Update: 11/11/2006
First Reviewed: 06/11/2003
Notes: Coffee Sales; Outdoor Seating

The San Francisco legend - a meeting place for writers of the 1950s Beat movement; where Francis Ford Coppola wrote the script for "The Godfather"; where espresso was first introduced to the West Coast in 1956. This caf� is rather old-school Italian to the core - one of the fewer and fewer remaining places in North Beach that still operates like the Italian immigrant community of its original era. Today a generally older caf� crowd soaks in the opera and Italian music classics on the jukebox among several large, indoor tables (there's never enough, so expect to share). There's even a holdover phone booth in the middle of it all. In good weather, and often in bad, their outdoor sidewalk seating is used like a casual Italian living room. It may be a little rough on the edges, but it has a definite neighborhood feel. Even without the weekend accordion sing-alongs. Using a two-group La San Marco, they produce a shot with a rather thin but rich, dark brown crema. It has a pungent-to-smoky flavor from an often thick-bodied, almost syrup-like pour. (Occasionally the body can run thinner.) As if there was any other way, they classically serve espresso in wide-mouthed, brown ACF ceramic cups. Although the original Caff� Trieste has maintained much of its character despite the changing demographics of the neighborhood, it's still part of a dying breed to enjoy while it lasts. Next door you'll also find their shop -- which sells coffee, espresso machines, and various coffee accessories.