Café Aquarius

Overall Rating: 6.200

Address: 1298 65th St.
Cross Street(s): Btwn Hollis & Vallejo Sts.
City, State ZIP: Emeryville, CA 94608
Phone: 510.655.2782
Hours: M-F 7am-5pm; Sa-Su 9am-2pm
Type of Establishment: Cafe
Cafe Rating: 7.00
Barista: 7
Savvy: 7
Ambiance: 7
Presentation: 7
Consistency: N/A
Espresso Machine: Brasilia
Coffee Rating: 5.40
Aroma: 6
Body: 4
Brightness: 6
Crema: 5
Flavor: 6
Taster's Correction: 0.0
Size: M
Primary Taste: Smoky
Coffee Beans: Palio Roasting Company
Cup Manufacturer: Front of the House
Price: $1.50
Last Update: 02/26/2009
First Reviewed: 02/26/2009
Notes: Coffee Sales; Outdoor Seating

Amid commercial Emeryville, this is an OK place to grab an espresso that isn't from a monster chain. In nicer weather, they set out metal sidewalk tables under parasols. Otherwise, there's a low wooden ceiling over several metal indoor café tables, old black & white science fiction TV/movie photographs on the walls, and all beneath two TV screens airing sports. They serve pastries (for which they have many fans), coffee, and brunch - and soon dinner. The place has a quiet, low-key feel with very friendly staff. If you seem halfway knowledgeable about your coffee, the barista will ask if you want your shot long or short. They preheat their Front of the House cups with hot water (and Vertex cups for larger, milk-based drinks) and use Sausalito roaster, Palio - and also private label the retail sales of their own beans. Using a four-group Brasilia Portofino - which the owner claims to have won at auction from the closure of the original Torrefazione Italia chain a machine from the old Union St. location) - they pull shots with a potent but slightly ashy aroma. It has a thin medium-brown crema that just barely coats the surface. With a light body but robust toasted/roast flavor: wood and smokiness and some harsher spices.