Carmel Coffee House, The

Overall Rating: 3.400

Address: Ocean Ave.
Cross Street(s): South side of Ocean Ave., btwn San Carlos & Dolores Sts.
City, State ZIP: Carmel, CA 93923
Neighborhood: Carmel-by-the-Sea
Phone: 831.626.2095
Hours: M-Su 7am-6pm
Type of Establishment: Espresso Bar
Cafe Rating: 4.00
Barista: 2
Savvy: 2
Ambiance: 6
Presentation: 6
Consistency: Consistent
Espresso Machine: La San Marco
Coffee Rating: 2.80
Aroma: 3
Body: 3
Brightness: 3
Crema: 3
Flavor: 2
Taster's Correction: 0.0
Size: XL
Primary Taste: Ashy
Coffee Beans: The Carmel Coffee House and Roasting Company
Cup Manufacturer: Other Ceramic
Price: $2.00
Last Update: 03/19/2006
First Reviewed: 03/19/2005
Notes: Coffee Sales; Coffee Accessory Sales; Outdoor Seating

Since 1994, located in a rear courtyard off of the main Ocean Ave. drag, they roast their beans on site. However, they would be better off buying Starbucks beans from Target: the coffee is over-roasted, ashier than an archeological dig at Pompeii, and bitter - pretty much ruining any enjoyment from the cup. (In the early 2000s they changed owners and their name from the Caffe Cardinale Coffee Roasting Company - to no avail.) They have outdoor table seating, with some limited indoor seating that's constrained by floorspace that is mostly dedicated to selling coffee accessories. As the Duran Duran music plays, they use dual two-group La San Marco machines to produce vast quantities of their foul liquid. (These machines arguably could use a good cleaning - as I suspect there are a lot of rancid coffee oils left in their system.) Their "double" espresso alone can be over 10 ounces - larger than most drip coffee servings. I was tempted to create an entirely new size category just for this place. Question the manager about the volume of the pour, let alone its quality, and you will get a snide answer. What should you expect from an espresso bar that literally advertised the "two-hour mug". No crema and a fully ashy, bitter flavor with large grinds left on the bottom of the cup. This was one of the worst coffee experiences I've had in years. Carmel needs to drop their anti-chain pretense - some Starbucks competition would do this place good, as it would need to either vastly improve or fail miserably on its own merits.