This recent (since 2003) downtown location in the old Monodnock Building draws in well-heeled downtown business clientele, but there are also the occasional students. Inside, the decor is reminiscent of a classic European café: small marble-top café tables with spindly wooden chairs, elegant counters and ceilings, walls covered with antique Italian espresso machine ads, etc.
The barista skills here are solid. (You can even vote for your favorite barista of the month.) Using one of two available yellow, three-group La Marzocco machines, they serve espresso with a medium-dark brown, mottled crema of average thickness. It's not as exceptionally creamy, nor as exceptionally dark, as the Lakeview/Broadway location, but it works really well. They serve the espresso notably short as a proper ristretto: there are barely three sips in the Black Cat-labelled ACF cup. Unbelievable aroma. Dark colored, somewhat rich, and slightly syrupy with a borderline sweet flavor of dark chocolate and hints of caramel. While it can also exhibit some smokiness, it generally has a weaker flavor depth than the Lakeview location. Still, this is one of America's finest.