Café Organica

Overall Rating: 7.900

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

Address: 562 Central Ave.
Cross Street(s): Grove St.
City, State ZIP: San Francisco, CA 94117
Neighborhood: Western Addition
Phone: 415.441.1338
Hours: M-F 7:30am-5pm; Sa-Su 8am-7pm
Type of Establishment: Espresso Bar
Cafe Rating: 7.20
Barista: 9
Savvy: 10
Ambiance: 3
Presentation: 7
Consistency: Very consistent
Espresso Machine: La Marzocco
Coffee Rating: 8.60
Aroma: 9
Body: 8
Brightness: 9
Crema: 9
Flavor: 8
Taster's Correction: 0.0
Size: L
Primary Taste: Syrup-like
Coffee Beans: Various
Cup Manufacturer: Other Ceramic
Price: $2.00
Last Update: 01/20/2006
First Reviewed: 06/18/2005
Notes: Coffee Sales

Eton Tsuno received much of his training and inspiration while at Global Blends in Mountain View, CA and opened this espresso-lover's café in May 2005. It's hard to call his place anything short of revolutionary. It has the common trappings of a typical SF coffee house: plain decor, limited seating among mismatched chairs, rows of computer terminals, four small indoor tables, and a single outdoor sidewalk table beneath a mural. He serves bagels, tea, some noodles, and even Belgian waffles on weekends, but here it's all about the coffee. He has four grinders with four different bean varieties in the hopper that you can choose from - so you can even do side-by-side espresso tastings. Common blends include Organic Panic from Taylor Made Farms (he also sells their beans), Ruby's from DOMA Coffee, the Redwood Espresso blend from San Jose's Barefoot Roasters, the Paladino blend from Seattle's Zoka, and occasional "experiments". He also sometimes carries Blue Bottle's Hayes Valley blend. Using a three-group La Marzocco, he can pull double shots (only) that are either "naked" or "with spouts" - a portafilter variation introduced by Zoka in 2003. (He even serves "cubanos" with brown sugar dusting the grinds before pulling.)
The Organic Panic shot has a dark, dark brown crema; is heavily caffeinated; has a mellow, earthy taste of cedar, and finishes sweet and strong. Bodywise, it wasn't as syrupy as I expected, and the flavor isn't as potent as you'd find in some high-end espressos. The Redwood Espresso blend smells of honey, although it doesn't really have a honey taste. It has more of a nutty, classic bittersweet caramel espresso flavor, and it has a heavier body. While somewhat 'predictable", it's perhaps my favorite of the lot. The Ruby's is more bittersweet and berries. And the Paladino blend tastes a little darker, a little richer and with more of a baker's chocolate finish. A pilgrimage is required. [CLOSED indefinitely for 'renovations' on 3/11/06.]