Verve Coffee Roasters

Overall Rating: 7.450

Address: 1540 Pacific Ave.
Cross Street(s): Btwn Mission & Locust Sts.
City, State ZIP: Santa Cruz, CA 95062
Phone: 831.600.7784
Hours: M-Su 6:30am-10:30pm
Type of Establishment: Espresso Bar (Chain)
Cafe Rating: 8.00
Barista: 7
Savvy: 8
Ambiance: 9
Presentation: 8
Consistency: N/A
Espresso Machine: La Marzocco
Coffee Rating: 6.90
Aroma: 7
Body: 5
Brightness: 8
Crema: 7
Flavor: 7
Taster's Correction: 0.5
Size: M
Primary Taste: Pungent
Coffee Beans: Verve Coffee Roasters
Cup Manufacturer: notNeutral
Price: $2.75
Last Update: 06/02/2012
First Reviewed: 06/02/2012
Notes: Coffee Sales; Coffee Accessory Sales

Opening around Thanksgiving of 2011, this downtown location of Verve clearly ups the design aesthetics and sends a signal across the street of the venerable Lulu Carpenters. If only the coffee service could live up to everything else promised by visual pageantry here. It's a beautiful, open space with a prime location. There's a lot of exposed, unfinished wood integrated in its interior design (though less wood than, say, Sightglass) and bare, decorative hanging lightbulbs. It's an airy space with seating concentrated at stools and window counters along Pacific Ave. and Front St. There's also larger wooden tables with affixed, movable seating that suggests a strange cross between a McDonald's and a German biergarten. There's a wall of merchandising, which includes a variety of freshly roasted coffees. Not that we're big fans of marketing literature, but they oddly offer nothing for consumers to discriminate their coffees - which becomes perplexing when they offer roasts from four different El Salvador farms. They showcase two gleaming three-group La Marzocco Strada machines, each accompanied by three Mazzer grinders featuring three different bean stocks. It's not like their service counter doesn't take the appropriate time - waits for an espresso shot can be 5-10 minutes even at 3pm on a Saturday. But the resulting shot, using their Sermon blend, had a tepid serving temperature, a thin medium brown crema with some limited texture, and a watered-down body that tastes of wet tobacco leaves. It is surprisingly disappointing, although not inconsistent with most places that opt to showcase modern pressure-control machines. It certainly could be an off barista or one that refused to sink shot when they should have. Verve is capable of much better, so a revisit is mandatory. Served in notNeutral cups with a side of sparkling water.