Caffè Strada

Overall Rating: 7.050

Address: 2300 College Ave.
Cross Street(s): Bancroft Way
City, State ZIP: Berkeley, CA 94704
Phone: 510.843.5282
Hours: M-Su 6am-12am
Type of Establishment: Espresso Bar
Cafe Rating: 6.80
Barista: 7
Savvy: 6
Ambiance: 8
Presentation: 6
Consistency: Consistent
Espresso Machine: La San Marco
Coffee Rating: 7.30
Aroma: 7
Body: 8
Brightness: 7
Crema: 8
Flavor: 7
Taster's Correction: -0.5
Size: XL
Primary Taste: Smoky
Coffee Beans: McLaughlin Coffee Co.
Cup Manufacturer: Oneida
Price: $1.55
Last Update: 03/28/2012
First Reviewed: 03/28/2012
Notes: Outdoor Seating

This café is a decades-long-time staple of UC Berkeley students and faculty. It also happens to be the first place where we ever had espresso and had a cappuccino, back in the 1980s. Yet surprisingly, despite its old school coffee preparation and preferred flavor profiles, it's still relatively decent and solid. At least particularly around campus. Outside they have front patio seating under a roof along Bancroft Way, and to the side along College Ave. they have even more extensive patio seating among café tables and chairs. Inside there are several uncomfortable benches, and most of the seating is outside. Using duelling orange, three-group La San Marco machines, they pull sizably large shots of espresso - except it's still espresso, and not some overextracted , watery facsimile as you might otherwise expect. The body is relatively rich and thick, and it comes with a moderately good-looking medium brown crema. It has that 1980s Bay Area espresso flavor of tobacco smokiness and some ash, but it tastes far more nostalgic than foul. Served in large, drip-coffee-sized Rego porcelain cups. Their milk frothing isn't great, but it's not bad: it tends to be a little uneven, but the foam is somewhat dense and not dry.