In a Trader Joe’s mini strip mall off Highway 101, this café only seems to attract the attention of the locals — despite the heavy wine-tasting traffic along Vineyard Drive. If you haven’t been to this burgeoning California wine-growing region, you’ll be in for a shock at how much the industry here has developed out to near-Sonoma-like proportions.
Joseph & Isabel Gerardis opened this café two years ago after running their successful local roasting operation in nearby Atascadero. The loft-like space has a tall A-frame ceiling at the entrance and a service area just behind it and a good half-dozen tables. There’s also two tables for outdoor seating in front under parasols.
At the bar, they offer Melitta bar (“Brew Bar”) coffee. Joseph, who has been around the block compared to most baristas, operated their three-group La Marzocco GB/5, using three different Rio and Astoria grinders for the various roasted coffees they have in rotation for espresso and French press.
Although there seems to be a slow turnover on customers here, due to the limited traffic, it’s encouraging to see the variety they offer. For espresso, their house blend is Michael’s Folly — rated in the review linked below. Joe pulled shots with a medium-to-dark brown textured crema as a slightly large pour in white Nuova Point cups. It is surprisingly a little thin-bodied, but the cup is expressive at the bass-note end of the flavor spectrum: some unusual (and pleasant) kick of spice with a somewhat complex smoothness and balance. Quite a good shot, and one of the best in the San Luis Obispo County region.
We followed that up with their “Guest Espresso” ($2.50), which was The Works: a supposedly darker, more chocolaty blend. We found the cup to actually be a little more meek and subdued, and the shot again served slightly high and a touch thin on body. But it had a much creamier texture and some bolder notes around chocolate. Perhaps a better shot to hold up to milk — and they do offer rather decent microfoam.
Read the review of Joebella Coffee Roasters in Templeton, CA.
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