Café Abir

Overall Rating: 7.150


Address: 1300 Fulton St.
Cross Street(s): Divisadero St.
City, State ZIP: San Francisco, CA 94117
Neighborhood: Western Addition
Phone: 415.567.6503
Hours: Su-Th 6am-12am; F-Sa 6am-1am
Type of Establishment: Cafe
Cafe Rating: 7.00
Barista: 7
Savvy: 7
Ambiance: 8
Presentation: 6
Consistency: Inconsistent
Espresso Machine: Rancilio
Coffee Rating: 7.30
Aroma: 7
Body: 8
Brightness: 7
Crema: 8
Flavor: 7
Taster's Correction: -0.5
Size: M
Primary Taste: Medicinal
Coffee Beans: Café Abir
Cup Manufacturer: Glass
Price: $1.65
Last Update: 11/07/2007
First Reviewed: 07/06/2003
Notes: Coffee Sales; Outdoor Seating

Review
A popular independent café. Its high regard for a long time had to be for its atmosphere, because it is certainly wasn't the espresso. (They won the 2003 SF Bay Guardian readers' award for Best Independent Coffeehouse.) But a lot has changed over the past 4 years (particularly with its Summer 2007 remodel) - almost all for the better. Middle East theme out of the silent movie era. Adjoining grocer and newsstand are gone -- they're being replaced with a sake and wine shop. With an adjacent sake/happy hour bar. Sidewalk seating along Fulton St. They roast their own beans in a backroom. And while four years ago their baristas had no idea where their beans came from, today they all know now they are roasted locally. Staff and some patrons once seemed a bit "damaged," as can be the norm in this neighborhood (two different people came up to me on the sidewalk in my last visit, each talking to me as if they were continuing a conversation they started with my identical twin who passed through just minutes ago). But things have cleaned up there along with a polishing of the premises: red upholstered bench seating, nicer tables and chairs, more light. They now serve espresso with a more solid, richer layer of medium brown crema. The weak and watery body is now much more robust - and served in a large shotglass/Gibraltar. It still has a medicinal flavor, but with a stronger tobacco smokiness that almost borders on ashiness (it will seem bitter to many). They've put a lot more effort into their coffee.