Married San Francisco expatriates, Emily Mange & Doug Zell, established this Lakeview district coffee institution. The owners offer an espresso of the day and even make their own teas. Limited window countertop seating, scattered large tables, and mismatched furniture. They roast their beans fresh at their 1567 W. Cortland St. location in Bucktown. With them they've won an SCAA Award of Excellence.
They demonstrate highly-trained, high-standard barista skills - using timers, redoing an espresso that isn't quite right (off grind), etc. They time their shots, making regular grinder adjustments and shotglass tests. Using a cherry-red, three-group La Marzocco, they serve espresso with a very dark brown crema of average thickness; however, it is exceptionally creamy. Served as a short ristretto, there are barely three sips in the cup (formerly Intelligentsia-logo Le Porcellane d'ANCAP cups, now Black Cat-labelled ACF cups). Very dark, rich, and syrupy with a sweet, deep flavor of dark chocolate and caramel.