In 1985, Java City started as a café on 18th & Capitol in Sacramento (back then my wife was a regular) that quickly grew to a number of retail outlets across northern California. However, over the past few years, Java City reconsidered their growth strategy as Starbucks grew everywhere like weeds: Java City closed numerous retail cafés in S.F. and focused instead on their wholesale operations.

Today Java City’s focus has apparently gone back to the art and craftsmanship of espresso — what they like to call their “purist” roots of the 1980’s. To celebrate next month, they plan to finish a complete remodel of their original location, featuring “coffee tastings and hand-made lattes from professional baristas”: – Free Coffee Celebrates Java City’s “Rebirth”.

With so many independent and “boutique” cafés now leading the quality charge for espresso, it’s hard to say whether a focus on quality over Starbucks’ quantity will be a viable growth strategy for what today is “yet another coffee chain”.