Cafe Lo Cubano

Overall Rating: 7.600

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

Address: 3401 California St.
Cross Street(s): Laurel St.
City, State ZIP: San Francisco, CA 94118
Neighborhood: Laurel Heights
Phone: 415.831.4672
Hours: M-W 6am-11pm; Th-F 6am-12am; Sa 7am-12am; Su 7am-11pm
Type of Establishment: Espresso Bar (Chain)
Cafe Rating: 7.80
Barista: 7
Savvy: 8
Ambiance: 8
Presentation: 8
Consistency: Consistent
Espresso Machine: La Marzocco
Coffee Rating: 7.40
Aroma: 8
Body: 6
Brightness: 8
Crema: 8
Flavor: 7
Taster's Correction: 0.0
Size: M
Primary Taste: Smoky
Coffee Beans: Equator Estate Coffees
Cup Manufacturer: Waechtersbach Keramik
Price: $2.00
Last Update: 07/31/2008
First Reviewed: 02/08/2007
Notes: Coffee Sales; Coffee Accessory Sales; Outdoor Seating

Formerly the neighborhood greasy spoon of Miz Brown's Restaurant, this Cuban-themed coffee shop has had a lot of great success since moving into this space a couple years ago. A bright corner café, they have a couple of outdoor tables, but otherwise a small space packed with tight tables indoors plus window counter seating along Laurel St. Popular at all hours of the day, they sell pastries, art, cigars, custom Equator coffee blends, and, above all, coffee. They sell Italian-style espresso drinks in addition to their signature Cuban style drinks (cafecito, cortadito, and cafe con leche) - even stovetop 'espresso'. Using a three-group La Marzocco Linea, they pull espresso shots with a full, rich aroma and a mottled, slightly thin medium-to-dark brown crema, served in a brightly-colored cup. It has a smoky, tobacco flavor (cigars, perhaps?!) with some herbal notes. A good effort. I also tried their cafecito, which is essentially an espresso pre-sweetened with sugar. IMO, it gets its rave reviews due to a lack of alternatives in town, but it still missed something compared to the Cuban coffee I knew from my former neighbors on the East Coast. While it is smooth, even delicate, it lacks that "you had better sit down for this"-punch that my neighbors delivered from their stovetop. The cortadito is slightly better - even the large is properly small (albeit pricey at $3.25). Decent (not great) frothing for milk-based drinks, served in red logo mugs. The 'capucino' (sic) here tends to run far too milky. Lately they've been sloppy with "for here" orders, so make it extra clear that you don't want paper. [CLOSED: Sept '08. Replaced by a "Beautifull!"]