It has been two years since we first reviewed Piccino Cafe in a previous Trip Report. Opening in Dogpatch in late 2006, just off the new Muni T line, they originally provided espresso bar service at their 801 22nd Street pizzeria. A year later they moved their coffee bar operations to kiosk at the end of 22nd Street (closer to 3rd St.), to be closer to the commuters. But most recently (late 2008), they converted a tiny space at 807 22nd Street and devoted it to all their coffee bar operations.

If you thought the original space in the pizzeria was small, the latest one is minuscule: there’s barely enough room for a couple of benches (there are no tables save for one devoted to coffee “condiments”) and a barista behind the espresso bar.

Entrance to the new, dedicated coffee space for Piccino at 807 22nd St. Inside the new Piccino cubby hole coffee bar

They use the original two-group La Marzocco GB/5 they’ve carried over since the pizzeria days. Their espresso shots are doubles by default, and they pull them with deliberate timing to produce a thinner medium brown crema. The crema on Piccino’s original shots was more of a deeper medium brown with darker brown flecks and a foamy consistency, but it can vary a little.

Using Blue Bottle‘s special Piccino blend (which they sell retail), the shot is short and compact with a potent herbal pungency and a good brightness. Surprisingly, the body is not as dense considering the small volume of the shot — it used to be more syrup-like with a natural sweetness at the bottom that now seems to be lacking. Still, no one element overwhelms, leaving the cup rather balanced in flavors. Served in classic brown Nuova Point cups.

Read the updated review of Piccino Cafe.

The Piccino espresso