Bittersweet - The Chocolate Café

Overall Rating: 7.300

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

Address: 2123 Fillmore St.
Cross Street(s): Btwn Sacramento & California Sts.
City, State ZIP: San Francisco, CA 94115
Neighborhood: Fillmore
Phone: 415.346.8715
Hours: Su-Th 10am-8pm; F-Sa 10am-10pm
Type of Establishment: Confectioner (Chain)
Cafe Rating: 7.20
Barista: 7
Savvy: 8
Ambiance: 6
Presentation: 8
Consistency: Consistent
Espresso Machine: La Marzocco
Coffee Rating: 7.40
Aroma: 8
Body: 6
Brightness: 8
Crema: 8
Flavor: 8
Taster's Correction: -1.0
Size: M
Primary Taste: Pungent
Coffee Beans: Bittersweet
Cup Manufacturer: ACF
Price: $1.95
Last Update: 05/13/2010
First Reviewed: 05/06/2006
Notes: Coffee Sales

This chocolate café has been in business since Nov. 2005. They sell a lot of chocolate bars up in front (in sections labelled 'dark', 'milk', and 'surprises' - such as chocolate with pepper), but they offer espresso and café service (including a Melitta bar) in the back - with seating among several weathered, painted wooden tables and chairs. There is an upstairs seating area as well. Using a two-group La Marzocco Linea (they downsized from the original three-group), they pull only double ristretto shots. They originally used Blue Bottle Coffee, and you could feel the imprint of Blue Bottle's James Freeman on this chain's coffee supply, equipment, training, and offerings. However, they have since switched to their own roasting operations out of a Berkeley warehouse under the "Bittersweet Origins" label. The resulting shot is short for a doppio, but not as short as they served with Blue Bottle Coffee. The crema can vary from an even medium brown to a mottled medium-to-lighter brown. With their own beans, the crema isn't quite as thick and it lacks some of the flavor potency it once had. There's still an herbal pungency, but you get the sense their bean stocks have oxidized a bit. There isn't much sweetness in the cup anymore either. They occasionally produce decent latte art (it's a sloppier mess at other times), but it seems the coffee switch coincided with a clear step down from their previous standards here. [CLOSED: now Jane on Fillmore.]