This is the sister café to the one on 15th Street in Potrero Hill by the same name. It just barely opened this week on the former site of a shut down Torrefazione Italia. It’s so new, the cash register wasn’t working when I visited, and the staff were making receipts with pencil and paper.

Inside, this café retained the same layout and many of the same features as the former “TI” on this site. 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.

Entrance to Caffè Amici Espresso downtown Nearly identical interior from the former Torrefazione Italia on this spot

One change from TI is that they replaced their dual two-group Elektra machines with dueling two-group La Spaziale machines. They serve espresso with a rich, darker brown crema that’s somewhat thick and definitely persists. Impressive given their limited investments in equipment. Flavorwise, it has an almost tangy, pungent taste of clove, hints of pine, and a small bit of pipe tobacco. Also like TI, they serve espresso in hand-painted Deruta cups — though here with Caffè Amici branding.

So far, the replacements at former Torrefazione Italia locations have been a mixed bag of both good and bad. But this is a surprisingly good newcomer to the downtown area.

Read the review.

Caffè Amici Espresso's dueling La Spaziale machines Caffè Amici Espresso's caffè espresso