Caffé Trieste

Overall Rating: 7.050

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

Address: 199 New Montgomery St.
Cross Street(s): Natoma St., north of Howard St.
City, State ZIP: San Francisco, CA 94105
Neighborhood: SOMA
Phone: 415.265.7374
Hours: M-F 6am-7pm
Type of Establishment: Espresso Bar (Chain)
Cafe Rating: 7.50
Barista: 7
Savvy: 7
Ambiance: 8
Presentation: 8
Consistency: Inconsistent
Espresso Machine: La San Marco
Coffee Rating: 6.60
Aroma: 5
Body: 7
Brightness: 7
Crema: 7
Flavor: 7
Taster's Correction: 0.0
Size: M
Primary Taste: Smoky
Coffee Beans: Caffe Trieste
Cup Manufacturer: ACF
Price: $1.65
Last Update: 11/19/2008
First Reviewed: 12/18/2006
Notes: Coffee Sales; Coffee Accessory Sales; Outdoor Seating

This newer location of the Bay Area chain is the sophisticated sister to the rest - perhaps a nod to the residential growth in SOMA as China Basin fills. A long, windowed, sidewalk-facing café with dark painted walls, dark wood furniture, elegant lamps, opera music, and plenty of stands selling coffee accessories. Limited sidewalk seating. Using dual two-group La San Marco machines, they pull shots with a generally decent crema that shows signs of intense heat: it's split between a dark brown center with whiter heat spots from under the spouts. (I'd normally attribute that to machine tuning for a new place, but with Caffé Trieste they like high brewing temperatures.) The cup doesn't have much aroma, but the body is adequate. Flavorwise, it is dark, smoky, and carries tobacco. It has some sweetness, but it remains just this side of ashy. Some barista inconsistency: occasionally a weaker, thinner, and sometimes ashy cup. Served in classic brown ACF cups. (They're good about tossing shots when the occasionally go brain dead on for-here orders served in paper.) Their milk-based drinks are oversized and overpriced, but they generally do a good, albeit very inconsistent, job of frothing. Order a macchiato, though it's off the menu, and you'll get a better balance of milk. Order a double macchiato, and you'll often get a distinctive, very good example in a small glass - if you order off peak hours. Unlike the North Beach mothership, you might catch Bauhaus tunes overhead from one of the pierced morning baristas for the art school crowd from literally across the street. [CLOSED: The Roastery Coffee Lounge as of 2011.]