This is the original Segafredo Zanetti on Powell. Not to be confused with the former Café Powell that was converted into a small Segafredo Zanetti kiosk a couple blocks south along Powell. Nor to be confused with the Segafredo Express at the basement of the San Francisco Shopping Centre at Market & Powell Sts. — where its La San Marco machine still exhibited damage (at least last I checked) from the man who bizarrely leapt from the escalators in June 2003twice.

This international chain Italian espresso bar is branded Segafredo Zanetti throughout: sleek, post-modern design with everything red & black (bar, walls, tables, cups, etc.), Italian poster art, Italian music, etc. They serve bar snacks, alcoholic drinks, and chewy, stale pastries. In classic Italian café fashion, you order and they collect money at a station other than where you pick up your coffee (in front).

Approaching Segafredo Zanetti from Powell St. Heavy on the inside décor: get a number and hope your 6 isn't a 9

They serve their espresso piccolo brewed directly into the cup with an uneven medium brown, and slightly thin, crema. Flavorwise, while it can rarely run sweet and molasses-like, it’s almost always a little grassy with an overall herbal and mild pepper flavor. Their cappuccino features good milk-frothing, minimalist latte art, and a heavy dose of powdered chocolate — and a weak coffee flavor. Not exactly ambassadors for quality Italian espresso — here it’s heavy on style and light on substance.

You also may want to bring ear protection if you visit anytime soon: the construction outside can be deafening.

Read the updated review.

Main bar with La San Marco machine Segafredo Zanetti espresso