Cafe Madeleine

Overall Rating: 6.550


Address: 43 O'Farrell St.
Cross Street(s): Btwn Stockton & Grant Sts.
City, State ZIP: San Francisco, CA 94108
Neighborhood: Union Square
Phone: 415.362.1713
Hours: M-F 6:30am-5pm
Type of Establishment: Cafe (Chain)
Cafe Rating: 5.80
Barista: 7
Savvy: 7
Ambiance: 7
Presentation: 2
Consistency: Inconsistent
Espresso Machine: Faema
Coffee Rating: 7.30
Aroma: 7
Body: 7
Brightness: 7
Crema: 8
Flavor: 7
Taster's Correction: 0.5
Size: L
Primary Taste: Pungent
Coffee Beans: Mr. Espresso
Cup Manufacturer: Paper
Price: $1.50
Last Update: 04/26/2010
First Reviewed: 08/11/2003
Notes: Outdoor Seating

Review
With staff in white smocks, you might think you stepped into the cosmetics counter at the nearby Macy's. Window counter stools indoors, with a few sidewalk café tables outdoors. Often old chanson française music plays overhead (causing some employees to comment how the music only haunts them after they've left work) -- along with the occasional 60's French Pop classic. The food has been better here, but their espresso has been more or less consistently decent with some variation. Using their three-group (they typically use only two or even one) Mr. Espresso Faema E91 Diplomat machine, they first produced an espresso with a thin and very dark crema. But starting around 2003 their crema became marginally richer and more dense with a healthy medium brown color. By 2004, their espresso reached its peak: with a full body and a strong, deep, complex herbal flavor with some tobacco tones. Since then, the flavor has varied a little from weaker and less bold to something fuller and more well-rounded. The body has also varied a little between full and syrup-like to something still decent, but yet a bit watery. The cup can still sometimes run from an early bitter edge that gives way to sweeter, syrup-like notes towards the bottom of the cup. On rare occasions, the espresso can be quite good here - but then you curse the paper cups. Milk frothing is rather poor, with an inconsistent froth of small and large bubbles being typical. Stick to the espresso, hold the milk. Lately they've picked up the awful, occasional habit of leaving the portafilters cooling in the drip tray - so beware.