Café de la Presse

Overall Rating: 7.100


Address: 352 Grant Ave.
Cross Street(s): Bush St.
City, State ZIP: San Francisco, CA 94108
Neighborhood: Union Square
Phone: 415.249.0900
Hours: Su-Th 7am-10pm; F-Sa 7am-11pm
Type of Establishment: Cafe
Cafe Rating: 7.20
Barista: 7
Savvy: 7
Ambiance: 8
Presentation: 7
Consistency: Inconsistent
Espresso Machine: La Spaziale
Coffee Rating: 7.00
Aroma: 7
Body: 7
Brightness: 7
Crema: 7
Flavor: 7
Taster's Correction: 0.0
Size: M
Primary Taste: Smoky
Coffee Beans: La Colombe Torrefaction
Cup Manufacturer: ASA Selection GmbH
Price: $2.00
Last Update: 03/08/2006
First Reviewed: 07/11/2003
Notes: Coffee Sales; Outdoor Seating

Review
Classic S.F. French bistro at the southern gates of Chinatown. Authentic bistro tables inside and out, with a bent towards foreign tourist accents that also flock to the international newsstand. Slow service is only good for lingering over an issue of "Paris Match." This café had a major redesign in 2005 - for much the better, with a zinc bar, the magazine rack moved to the back, and much better espresso. They replaced their cheap twin Astoria machines with a less cheap three-group La Spaziale. The also replaced America's Best Coffee with a far better blend in Philadelphia's famous La Colombe. They serve it with a relatively generous, and very un-French-like, medium-dark brown crema - poured in a tall brown ceramic cup (from Germany's Caffé Ti Amo) with a quaint spoon. With a woodsy, herbal flavor and a mildly warm serving temperature. This location was once known for faint rings of crema and a slightly bitter tobacco flavor due to their inferior equipment and bean choices. Today they are one of the most improved SF cafés of 2005 - you can now actually drink something besides a café au lait with the cat-sized milk bowl here. And as often happens, paradoxically, when places improve their espresso: the price per cup dropped 50¢.