The umlaut in the name might suggest a 1980’s metal band (pronounced ‘let-TOOOSE‘?), but this place is actually an ultra-organic café. It follows the trend of ‘preachy’ eateries that cross the line from espousing sustainable, organic agriculture to slapping you across the face with it.

Now I apprciate the Slow Food movement as much as anybody. But to be brutally honest, sometimes I’m not up for changing the planet and all I want is an espresso … just a decent espresso … without feeling like I joined a cult to get it.

I recently saw TV chef/personality, Anthony Bourdain, speak at the Commonwealth Club about (among other things) the subject of the organics movement. Pretty much his take, like my own, is that organics is only as good as the quality of the food it produces [starting at 28′ in the linked audio track]. Quality is much easier to verify than ideology or pedigree, given the recent woes with Fair Trade certification. So if the quality isn’t there, the organics label is worthless to me.

The scene in front of Lettüs - complete with recycling opportunities with the neighbor's garbage Organic food and drink consumers: Unite!

Lettüs (why can’t I stop snickering when I type that name?) offers juices, smoothies, breakfast, and sandwiches. There’s a good deal of wood sidewalk seating and a deep cavern of wooden seating inside.

Using a two-group Rio, they pull a modestly sized shot of espresso with a decent, medium brown layer of crema with good consistency. The barista takes time to pull a proper shot, and it’s served at a properly mild temperature. It has a flavor of herbs and some thyme. There’s nothing exceptional about their espresso, but every measure is handled well. Organics or not.

Read the review.

The Lettüs espresso does nothing exceptionally well, but it's all good