The Cafe Noir that previously existed at this location made one of the best espresso shots you could buy in the Monterey area since around 2005. Unfortunately, it closed in early 2008, leaving this location vacant for a couple of months. Fortunately, its replacement, Café Lumeire, opened in April 2008 and has been more than worthy.
This spot still has one of the best café scenes in the entire Monterey Peninsula. But now it has trip-worthy espresso if you’re in the area. Attached to the Osio Cinemas downtown, this location has two indoor levels and an outdoor patio designed for lounging — whether or not you’re waiting for a movie. Like the Cafe Noir that preceded it, it has a rather Bohemian feel. But we actually mean that in a good way. Here you will even find groups of middle-aged men speaking Italian over espresso on weekend mornings – giving you an almost Caffé Trieste-like feel (just at half the age).
They offer free Wi-Fi plus pastries, desserts, and basic sandwiches and salads. But where they’ve bettered their predecessor is in the espresso department.
They replaced Cafe Noir’s Faema E-61 with a two-group La Marzocco GB/5, pulling shots of nearby Acme Coffee. The barista takes the necessary time to make a proper shot. This may not service the line very quickly, but the results are very positive in the cup.
The shot is a bit generous — a doppio served tall in a classic brown Nuova Point cup. It comes with a richly textured, medium brown crema, and the flavor is potent and pungent. They clearly use freshly roasted and well-prepared beans here. They are also not half-bad at milk-frothing: a thick, dense microfoam, although it doesn’t fully blend in (there’s a noticeable coffee-milk barrier). But they manage simple rosetta latte art. They have inexpensive vac pot coffee too.
Finally, the Monterey Peninsula has destination-worthy espresso.
Read the review of Café Lumiere.
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