City Gourmet Deli

Overall Rating: 5.500

Address: 590 3rd St.
Cross Street(s): Brannan St.
City, State ZIP: San Francisco, CA 94107
Neighborhood: SOMA
Phone: 415.543,2264
Hours: M-F 10am-4pm
Type of Establishment: Deli
Cafe Rating: 4.20
Barista: 7
Savvy: 5
Ambiance: 3
Presentation: 2
Consistency: N/A
Espresso Machine: Promac
Coffee Rating: 6.80
Aroma: 7
Body: 6
Brightness: 7
Crema: 7
Flavor: 7
Taster's Correction: 0.0
Size: L
Primary Taste: Smoky
Coffee Beans: Capricorn Coffee
Cup Manufacturer: Paper
Price: $1.50
Last Update: 03/03/2006
First Reviewed: 03/03/2006
Notes: Outdoor Seating

It drives me crazy when a place can produce a halfway decent espresso almost entirely by accident. It's even worse when they do so in spite of themselves. They have a few indoor tables and one on the sidewalk out front. You know you're in for a treat when you see the word "Expresso" (sic) painted on the front window. The first time I came around here, the portafilter handle was lying outside of the one-group Faema Express machine, and the owner/barista looked aghast when I told him that I didn't want an espresso because the filter basket was cold (and thus the espresso would taste sour). He gave me the aghast look as if I were a grizzly bear on a unicycle that came into his shop and made off with a dozen donuts. But since I haven't back down from pain when it comes to questionable espresso, I ordered another time. This time after I ordered a falafel (which turned out to be more of a falafel burrito, of all things). It turned out that ordering the espresso with my meal (instead of after) was a saving grace. The barista put the portafilter into the group (of what was a two-group Promac this time), and it heated up as I waited for my falafel burrito thing. The result was a rather potent espresso with a mottled, medium brown crema in a paper cup (of course). It was surprisingly decent - with a flavor of smoke and cloves. The owner has used Capricorn Coffee for almost 20 years and swears by it. Normally I'd beg to differ, but sometimes I am proven wrong. They also sell Turkish coffee ($2), but I haven't yet developed a stomach to try that here as well. The owner plans to renovate the place somewhat soon since he just refinanced his home to fund it.