Epicenter Cafe

Overall Rating: 8.300

Address: 764 Harrison St.
Cross Street(s): Btwn 3rd & 4th Sts.
City, State ZIP: San Francisco, CA 94107
Neighborhood: SOMA
Phone: 415.543.5436
Hours: M-F 7am-10pm; Sa-Su 8am-10pm
Type of Establishment: Cafe
Cafe Rating: 8.20
Barista: 8
Savvy: 9
Ambiance: 8
Presentation: 8
Consistency: Consistent
Espresso Machine: La Marzocco
Coffee Rating: 8.40
Aroma: 8
Body: 9
Brightness: 8
Crema: 8
Flavor: 9
Taster's Correction: 0.0
Size: M
Primary Taste: Pungent
Coffee Beans: Barefoot Coffee Roasters
Cup Manufacturer: ACF
Price: $2.25
Last Update: 09/05/2012
First Reviewed: 02/12/2009
Notes: Coffee Sales; Outdoor Seating

Opening up in the latter half of 2008, this café may serve salads, soups, wine, and even light dinner plates, but don't let that fool you: this is a serious coffee destination (not surprising, since we were personally given a heads-up about this place by Barefoot Coffee's Andy Newbom). It's a relatively long, recessed space with leather sofas and tables in the back, small wooden tables and chairs throughout, and large windows in front with some stool/counter seating. Outside along the sidewalk there are also some wooden patio café tables. All espresso shots are served as properly short doubles from a four-group Linea, and the baristas here aren't afraid to toss shots that don't meet their high standards. When we first visited, they offered Barefoot espresso shots from The Boss blend (default, and what's rated here) as well as single origin shots of Sweet Reserve Brazil (Cerrado, Minas Gerais) and Finca Vista Hermosa Edlyna Guatemala (Huehuetenango). (Their single origin shots tend to rotate frequently, and they're of outstanding origins.) The resulting shot comes with a good, albeit not stellar, textured medium brown crema of decent thickness. But it packs a rich aroma, a potent, compact, syrupy body, and a robust, rich flavor of herbal notes, caramel-like sweetness, and some smokiness. This is a serious espresso shot with a pedigree refreshingly different from many of SF's other staples. Served in classic brown, thick-walled ACF cups. Variances sometimes occur in shot sizes: from proper doubles to potently strong 1.5oz doubles. Where they can be weaker is in their milk-frothing: good, but not stellar.