Pinhole Coffee

Overall Rating: 8.300


Address: 231 Cortland Ave.
Cross Street(s): Bonview St.
City, State ZIP: San Francisco, CA 94110
Neighborhood: Bernal Heights
Phone: None
Hours: M-F 6:30am-5pm; Sa-Su 7:30am-5pm
Type of Establishment: Espresso Bar
Cafe Rating: 8.20
Barista: 9
Savvy: 8
Ambiance: 8
Presentation: 8
Consistency: N/A
Espresso Machine: La Marzocco
Coffee Rating: 8.40
Aroma: 8
Body: 8
Brightness: 8
Crema: 8
Flavor: 9
Taster's Correction: 1.0
Size: S
Primary Taste: Pungent
Coffee Beans: Verve Coffee Roasters
Cup Manufacturer: U.S. Ceramic
Price: $2.50
Last Update: 09/27/2014
First Reviewed: 09/27/2014
Notes: Coffee Sales; Outdoor Seating

Review
JoEllen Depakakibo got her start in coffee at the North Side Chicago Intelligentsia mothership before moving to the Bay Area and working for nine years with Blue Bottle Coffee. In Sept. 2014 she opened this coffee shop in an 1890s building that was once a neighborhood butcher shop (curiously enough with Avedano's butchers nearby). There is popular bench seating along the front Cortland sidewalk, warm wooden flooring inside, acacia stump stools, a mural by JoEllen's brother Joey D, and a wall of colorful stripes by local artist Leah Rosenberg. Older soul tunes filled the space on our visit, which really worked (Otis Redding, Ray Charles, etc.). There aren't many tables (one large one), but the cozy seating works. And as any Bernal shop does, there are dog treats for "guests". They use three different bean sources for various brew types: Verve Streetlevel for espresso, a Linea Caffè Brazil for pour-over, and Blue Bottle in a Fetco for "quick drip" (James Freeman would probably roll his eyes). Using a 1989 two-group La Marzocco Linea that JoEllen first used at Blue Bottle (since refinished), they pull shots of Streetlevel with a mottled even and lighter brown crema. It's potent and short - barely two sips - but elegant, bold, and quite a pleasant blend of herbal pungency, some spice, and an edge of fruitiness. Served in custom ceramics with sparkling water on the side. They also offer a Chemex for two ($8), a very-Brooklyn kiduccino (made with cinnamon, $2), and something she calls a piccolo ($3). The piccolo is not inspired so much by its size (nor Sammy Piccolo of Canadian barista fame), but more by JoEllen's Piccolo Plumbing landlord. It's a short shot with more milk than a macchiato (served as a 1:1 ratio) served in a logo glass, modeled after the Intelligentsia mothership's since-vanished cortado. (Still a bit milky for our tastes.) One of the best things about this place is that they are truly trying to be an integrated neighborhood café.