Caffè Amici Espresso

Overall Rating: 7.300

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

Address: 161 Montgomery St.
Cross Street(s): Bush St.
City, State ZIP: San Francisco, CA 94104
Neighborhood: Financial District
Phone: 415.391.3241
Hours: M-F 6am-6pm
Type of Establishment: Espresso Bar (Chain)
Cafe Rating: 7.20
Barista: 7
Savvy: 7
Ambiance: 7
Presentation: 8
Consistency: Inconsistent
Espresso Machine: La Spaziale
Coffee Rating: 7.40
Aroma: 8
Body: 7
Brightness: 8
Crema: 7
Flavor: 7
Taster's Correction: 0.0
Size: M
Primary Taste: Pungent
Coffee Beans: Caffè Umbria
Cup Manufacturer: ACF
Price: $1.45
Last Update: 10/09/2008
First Reviewed: 05/04/2006
Notes: Coffee Sales; Outdoor Seating

This is the sister café to the one on 15th Street in Potrero Hill by the same name. It opened in May 2006 on the former site of a shut down Torrefazione Italia, and inside it retained the same layout and many of the same features. There are five small indoor tables and two outdoors along the sidewalk, in the building shade, with displayed bags of Caffè Umbria beans and Deruta kettles. They replaced TI's dueling Elektra machines for dueling two-group La Spaziale Super 3000 machines. They often serve espresso with a rich, darker brown crema that's somewhat thick and persists, but recently the crema quality has been erratic and occasionally thinner. Flavorwise, it has an almost tangy, pungent taste of clove, hints of pine, and a small bit of pipe tobacco. Like the former TI on this spot, they initially served it in hand-painted Deruta cups (with Caffè Amici branding). Enough broken cups and they seem to have replaced them with black ACF cups. Be vocal if you want it "for here" - they are hard of hearing and will often give you paper anyway. Their milk-frothing is generally quite good (and more recently: very good, with their best microfoam yet) - they exhibit consistent, copious microfoam and latte art hearts. However, their cappuccino places solidly in what I call the latte category (extra large and mostly milk flavor: stick to the caffé macchiato). Beware the double espresso and other 'double' drinks of there: they are more watery triple/quadruple sizes, and they score at least a whole point or two below the quality of the singles. (Their single espresso is rated here, and usually doubles are the best espresso option at most places.) The double "machiato" [sic] is less of a bath than their equivalent cappuccino, but the milk isn't necessarily skimmed from the best of their pitchers, and it's drowned in diluted espresso. Otherwise, this café mostly picks up the void left by the former TI here in some of its pre-Starbucks-ownership days. [CLOSED: as of Jan 2011.]