Now that Blue Bottle Coffee Co. has expanded their roasting operations, we can expect to be super-saturated with its coming ubiquity. While that’s an overall good thing — such as now being able to snag some fresh Blue Bottle beans at the hyper-local Avedano’s Meats in Bernal Heights — it does contribute to that espresso sameness issue we’ve been discussing for the past two years.
To put this sameness issue in another context, Alice Waters has had a tremendous influence on restaurants in the Bay Area, let alone the world. But while the “farm-grown, organic, fresh, and local” angle may have produced a number of excellent restaurants in town over the years, the Bay Area restaurant scene suffers a little from this one-dimensional, one-trick-pony stereotype. At least when compared to the variety of restaurant offerings that New York City can boast.
One of the latest outposts in Blue Bottle’s ever-expanding coffee syndicate empire is the Boxed Foods Company in the Financial District. This small lunch spot, replacing a former sandwich shop called Gourmet Provisions, serves boxed meals to go, but it does offer some limited for-here dining among tiny, two-person tables along the way next to the tight serving area. Front and center, however, is a two-group La Marzocco GB/5 at the front counter and a lot of Blue Bottle Coffee Co. branding.
They sell a few varietals as beans and use their Hayes Valley espresso blend for pulling shots. The barista is slow and deliberate, making a careful pour into sub-optimal Libbey restaurant supply glasses (think Gibraltars).
The shot comes with a tall layer of a thicker, rich-looking, textured, darker brown crema. It’s gorgeous stuff, but it sets the expectation bar a bit high when you sip it: it’s a bit mellow and subdued and has a lighter body than appearances would suggest. Flavorwise, it has some pungent herbs, wood, chocolate, and cinnamon elements — so the complexity is there. It’s just toned down a bit.
Read the review of the Boxed Foods Company.
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