Opening last month on the site of a former Briazz prepared-foods (lunch, primarily) chain shop, this corner café isn’t much of a leap from its predecessor. They serve sandwiches, soups, and salads as before — but with an emphasis on cocoa and espresso.
The store seeps causes from its signage: Fair Trade coffee and cocoa, Clover organic milk, etc. Yet that’s the required price of entry for doing business in SF these days: unless your front door bleeds feel-good causes, you have not justified why you’ve chosen to offend the public by opening a for-profit business in town. Even if said causes are more platitude-driven, high-gloss window dressing than substance (
energy-inefficient polluting recycling or coal-burning electric cars, anyone?).
In addition to a wall of prepared foods and a central counter with a small, two-group E91 Faema Diplomat machine, there’s seating along the corner windows and some outdoor searing along Sutter St. at café tables. Deep in its recesses are the free Internet junkies on laptops, banished to the corner with power cords dangling from the ceiling.
In making a shot from Mr. Espresso beans, the barista is slow, careful, and deliberate. The resulting cup has a mottled, textured, medium-brown crema of average thickness, but it congeals rather richly. The shots also run on the short side, served in black ACF cups. Despite all that, it is relatively lacking in flavor. There’s no real “punch” to the shot; it has a tepid, mellow flavor of mild spices. Somehow they manage to serve a shot with a proper size and a promising crema that doesn’t quite live up to your expectations.
Read the review of Bread & Cocoa.
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