Martha & Brothers Coffee Company

Overall Rating: 6.800

Address: 50 First St.
Cross Street(s): Btwn Market & Mission Sts., in The Shops on 1st St.
City, State ZIP: San Francisco, CA 94105
Neighborhood: SOMA
Phone: 415.371.1465
Hours: M-Th 5:30am-5:30pm; F 5am-4:30pm
Type of Establishment: Espresso Bar (Chain)
Cafe Rating: 6.50
Barista: 6
Savvy: 7
Ambiance: 7
Presentation: 6
Consistency: Inconsistent
Espresso Machine: Faema
Coffee Rating: 7.10
Aroma: 8
Body: 6
Brightness: 8
Crema: 7
Flavor: 7
Taster's Correction: -0.5
Size: L
Primary Taste: Smoky
Coffee Beans: Martha & Brothers
Cup Manufacturer: Other Ceramic
Price: $1.50
Last Update: 12/13/2007
First Reviewed: 02/25/2005
Notes: Coffee Sales; Coffee Accessory Sales; Outdoor Seating

This downtown location of the popular, Latino-owned S.F. chain was opened by popular demand. Located in a tight indoor mall corridor called "The Shops on 1st St.", they serve the usual pastries and bagels along with coffee. True to their Latino roots, the music, staff, and environment has a heavy Latin American influence. And given the origins of much of the world's coffee, it's about time. (Unfortunately, the staff have been new and disorganized of late.) Two indoor stools and some limited table seating along the pedestrian corridor. Using a four-group, E91 Ambassador Faema, they pour a slightly larger than standard espresso - but then they serve only double shots. It has a very even texture of a medium brown crema of decent thickness (inconsistency: the pour can sometimes run high and the body thin). Great smoky aroma that leads into its smoky flavor, though it does have some ashier/burnt elements. A full-flavored cup, but it lacks any sweetness to be superb. Milk-frothing tends to be dry and with medium-sized bubbles: it's surprisingly poor and needs serious help. Better to order a macchiato ($2.25) - it's two shots of espresso, and any milk is the best stuff skimmed off the top of their frothing pitchers. In the time since they've opened, they've shortened their hours and have shown less of a commitment to cups other than paper.