A trip down Santa Clara’s Stevens Creek Boulevard conjures up images of discount mattress stores, Denny’s, strip malls as far as the eye can see - and great espresso. Outside this small café there are several sidewalk tables and chairs for scoping out the nearby freeway traffic. Inside, there's a handful of artful tables and sofas - and a long corridor leading past their famous Probat roaster to their less-famous bathroom with its brooding, Central American-themed mural walls. Barefoot is religious about the need for, and its support of, professional barista training, and it shows. They have mounted numerous framed training certifications on the back wall behind their three-group La Marzocco GB/5 station. The barista will demonstrate a detailed level of quality control - rejecting shots that didn't come out to their professional standards.
They offer a standard "Bare Espresso" - a double shot made with a standard blend ($2). They served it with a medium brown crema without distinctive markings or froth, and it can be a little light in color and thickness. The cup has a sweet, herbal earthiness with a lot of bright, acidic notes, but the body is surprisingly lighter. Their Single Estate Espresso ($3.50) - a variant to their usual blend, typically made with a rotation of estate coffees - often has a very distinctive, unique, and intense flavor profile. The day's offering was a Panama Finca Hartmann, which hit paydirt. (The ratings above are for this Single Estate Espresso.) Not that the Bare Espresso is a slouch, but here the cup came with dark red and brown flecks in its thinner crema (expectedly thinner, given its single-bean profile). It had a more robust aroma, a round and robust body, and an intense sweetness with a sharp but pleasant bite at the back of the throat to complement its herbal pungency. Outstanding.