Prima Cosa Caffe

Overall Rating: 7.200

Address: 15 Sutter St.
Cross Street(s): Sansome St.
City, State ZIP: San Francisco, CA 94104
Neighborhood: Financial District
Phone: 415.834.9801
Hours: M-F 6am-4pm
Type of Establishment: Espresso Bar
Cafe Rating: 7.20
Barista: 7
Savvy: 7
Ambiance: 7
Presentation: 8
Consistency: Consistent
Espresso Machine: La Carimali
Coffee Rating: 7.20
Aroma: 7
Body: 7
Brightness: 7
Crema: 7
Flavor: 7
Taster's Correction: 1.0
Size: M
Primary Taste: Warming
Coffee Beans: Illy
Cup Manufacturer: IPA
Price: $2.35
Last Update: 02/27/2015
First Reviewed: 08/09/2010
Notes: Kiosk; Coffee Sales; Coffee Accessory Sales; Outdoor Seating

Near the Flatiron Building, this one-time Starbucks kiosk (well, they do have a lone iron bench on the sidewalk in front) arguably put the next door All Star Cafe & Bakery at 550 Market St. out of business in its first year of existence. Yet despite morning lines of commuters waiting for their lattes, and an overworked crew of three in tight quarters with an overworked Verismo machine, Starbucks closed shop. In came Giorgio Milos, Illy's head barista and a former Italian champ, to reopen this space as an Illy-branded café. It's a real improvement for the location, as the old All Star Cafe even beat out the Starbucks here. But you still can only do so much with Illy coffee freshness in America. They offer espresso, panini, and pastries - plus cans of Illy (with Francis Francis machines) on display in the modern, tight space. Using a seriously polished, chrome, new, two-group La Carimali machine, they pull shots with a textured medium brown crema that look generally good. But the crema here lacks a real thickness and volume as you can classically expect from exported Illy coffee. It has a generally bolder flavor than most American Illy shots: bolder spice and a sharper bite to it without much of the typical woodiness. Served in Illy-logo IPA cups. The microfoam isn't bad and they seem to pay attention, but it doesn't do enough to avoid occasional unfavorable comparisons with dishwater. Cappuccino and macchiato drinks tend to run wet - so don't expect a dollop of any dry foam. From 2010 to 2014 the single espresso rose from $1.55 to $2.35, but that's coffee.