This is an unassuming deli/bakery with no seating. Outside, under a wooden construction corridor that’s been there for years, the signs and awnings say Deli & Espresso. But any reference in a phone book or directory lists it as just Deli & — and they answer the phone, “Deli And.”

One of the cheapest espresso shots you can buy in the city (it’s still under $1), the owner here once held decent espresso standards. He was often self-critical of his own pulled shots, and he was something of a perfectionist when it came to his espresso machine servicemen. (Their machine is an older Laurentis.) But the quality here has tapered off a lot in recent years.

Enter the cavern to Deli & The neon deli beckons...

The owner still gets their beans from Superior, insisting on Prebica — which Superior prefers not to distribute in the Bay Area. He’s pretty knowledgeable about quality factors (the choice of only paper cups aside), and their baristas have had training. Despite the beans, machine, and cups, they managed to pull decent shots for a time. But things have noticeably slid downhill. They once created a very rich, thick crema on a full-bodied cup, but over time the crema has grown pale and the body has thinned out. It’s as if the owner stopped following his own advice.

There’s something of a malt-like flavor in the cup with a steady aftertaste that lingers. Served as almost a doppio. This was once one of the better espresso values in the city, still at 95¢, but it’s clear it’s getting you a lot less with time. This is midlife crisis espresso that has let itself go for too long — perhaps frustrated with all the attention given to the younger competition in the neighborhood.

Read the updated review.

Owner pulls a shot from a temperamental Laurentis Under $1, but these days even that's too much