Alvin Azadkhanian is something of an SF institution amidst the ever industrialized approach of coffee roasting and serving. This unassuming storefront/café has a few plastic sidewalk tables & chairs out front under awnings and a few simple diner tables inside. They sell everything from Bodum Santos vac pots, La Pavoni Europiccola machines, many organic roasts for around $10/lb, and even the ridiculous Kopi Luwak at $75/4-oz.
But Alvin’s is far from pretentious. Cut from the same cloth as Henry Kalebjian of the Outer Sunset’s House of Coffee, Alvin’s is a friendly neighborhood place. And the master roaster will serve your espresso himself. (There are pictures of him roasting out of a PROBAT roaster on the back wall.)
Using a two-group Futurmat, Alvin pulls a larger shot with a marginally thin and pale crema. Roasting, rather than espresso preparation, is visibly Alvin’s passion. His espresso has a milder, smooth flavor. But instead of tasting weak, it’s delicately flavorful of fresh mild pepper and some cedar. He serves it in an ornate-looking, Chinese-made demitasse (ironically branded as “Italian Styles”).
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