Locals on the Peninsula generally have good things to say about this place, and with good reason. This is primarily a roaster with a retail café operation hidden inside among its “warehouse” floorspace — perhaps a glimpse of what Peet’s Coffee & Tea was like just as they made the transition from a bean-and-leaf pure-play store to today’s retail beverages.
It’s located along Redwood City’s Middlefield Road, amid a heavy population of Mexican restaurants and other local Latino culture nearby. And this place fits the neighborhood mold: much of the staff are Latino, they are extremely friendly, and they seem to intentionally speak a little Spanish to you as a way to welcome you into their culture. It’s all rather inviting, and what says “coffee” better than Latin America, right?
There are several rooms to this place. The main entrance presents large bins of roasted coffee beans and a sales counter for walk-ins. Off to the left of the entrance, they display a variety of cups before leading up to upstairs offices. But the biggest space is in the right/back, hidden behind a garage door. This rear area contains their humble coffee bar setup, a large G.W. Barth Menado roaster, workspace for post-roasting operations (they roast Tuesdays and Thursdays), and a collection of large burlap sacks for sale — with or without coffee in them.
The “coffee bar” is largely unattended unless someone walks in back. They offer cups of filter-brewed coffee from three different thermoses. And using a single-group, red Rancilio, they pull shots of espresso with a medium brown, even crema in a paper cup. It’s a slightly large pour, with a mild pungency and tobacco flavor. The roasting is still a bit dark for our general tastes, but you have to admire a long-standing, local operation such as this one.
Read the review of the Connoisseur Coffee Company.
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