This St. Helena outlet of a two-location Napa coffeehouse and roaster routinely receives “best coffeehouse” awards in the area. Given how they handle roasted beans, consumer coffee education, and filter coffee, this isn’t much of a surprise — particularly given their general lack of legitimate competition in the region. But from what we can tell, these accolades are for everything but their espresso.
Like their sister location in Napa, this spot is a large, barn-like wooden structure. It has skylights, a few patio tables in front, and plenty of seating inside. There’s also a working Probat roaster at the back, a community book trade, and a central counter devoted to retail coffee bean sales and a four-cup Melitta bar.
Also like their Napa location, they use an unusual two-group Diadema machine for espresso. With it, they pull shots with a medium brown, textured crema that barely coats the surface. It comes in a larger pour size. The resulting shot has a bit of bulk when you taste it, emphasizing body over brightness. Flavorwise, it has an earthy, slightly smoky flavor that also, unfortunately, tastes too much of ash.
The Napa Valley is certainly about wine. It might even be about coffee a little if you look hard enough. But it’s definitely not about espresso — at least yet.
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