Opening in April last year, this Mid-Market outlet of the slowly growing Equator chain espouses being a decidedly populist place for coffee. Like we never heard that before. But given its location and the surrounding environs, you can’t get too precious about your coffee when you do your business among more than a few addicts, panhandlers, and the chemically enhanced. “Mid-Market” being realtorspeak these days for parts of the Tenderloin.
Surrounded by the venerable Warfield Theater and near the landmark Crazy Horse flesh-o-teria, this gentrified space is bright and decorated with inclining angles and lots of exposed concrete — warmed up with leafy green stencils/murals. They display their roasted coffees and teas for retail sale on the rear, service wall.
Inside there’s a sort of cherry wood counter with four metal stools at the service bar plus two more similar benches at either side of the entrance for window counter seating. Just beyond that, there’s sidewalk seating beneath two parasols and benches sectioned off from the sometimes-sketchy but always entertaining sidewalk traffic. They offer beer and wine on tap, sandwiches and “boards” to eat, and of course coffee: as espresso and pour-overs.
Pulling shots from a white, two-group La Marzocco FB/70, their espresso comes with an even, medium-to-dark-brown crema. It’s a relatively deep, darker espresso of fuller volume for a doppio shot: four sips large at that. The flavor has some pepper, spices, a hint of molasses, but it is a bit limiting on brightness despite some slight cherry fruit. Served in white English ceramic cups with a decorative spoon and short glass of still water on the side.
It’s a good shot, but I expect more. Especially when comparing it with their Mill Valley surf shop location. A place with Equator’s award-winning coffee stature really ought to do better. It barely gives a Peet’s a run for the money.
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