Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, The

Overall Rating: 5.050

Address: 773 Market St.
Cross Street(s): Stockton St.
City, State ZIP: San Francisco, CA 94103
Neighborhood: Union Square
Phone: 415.896.5029
Hours: M-Th 5:30am-10pm; F 5:30am-11pm; Sa 7am-11pm; Su 7am-10pm
Type of Establishment: Espresso Bar (Chain)
Cafe Rating: 5.80
Barista: 5
Savvy: 5
Ambiance: 7
Presentation: 6
Consistency: Consistent
Espresso Machine: La Cimbali
Coffee Rating: 4.30
Aroma: 3
Body: 7
Brightness: 6
Crema: 1
Flavor: 6
Taster's Correction: -1.5
Size: L
Primary Taste: Warming
Coffee Beans: Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, The
Cup Manufacturer: Other Ceramic
Price: $1.75
Last Update: 08/10/2009
First Reviewed: 08/19/2005
Notes: Coffee Sales; Coffee Accessory Sales; Outdoor Seating

Opened in the Summer of 2005, this outlet (#165 of the L.A.-based chain) smelled oddly of nuts and candies when you walk in. But that new caf´┐Ż smell wore off, and now it's just weak L.A. coffee chain culture that smells here. They opened up their table seating inside plus a lot of outdoor sidewalk seating in front (the latter being the best attraction here). As a new outlet, the equipment started off shiny and brand new - with 2-group and 3-group La Cimbali machines. The service started off painfully slow when it opened but has since improved. (Most of the staff acted as though they'd never been in a coffeehouse before.) Surprisingly, even with years to stabilize, they produce an espresso that's significantly inferior to some of their other chain stores. The aroma is virtually non-existent. The crema is beyond thin into non-existent. It is served with a decent heft in it's body, but the flavor is all bass note pungency of cloves and no brightness nor range. We originally asked when it first opened if it might improve with time. It did not and actually got a little worse. This location makes the Starbucks across the street seem tempting.