Tassili Caffé

Overall Rating: 7.200


Address: 345 Spear St., Suite 125
Cross Street(s): Btwn Folsom & Harrison Sts.
City, State ZIP: San Francisco, CA 94105
Neighborhood: Embarcadero
Phone: 415.495.5111
Hours: M-F 6:30am-5pm
Type of Establishment: Cafe
Cafe Rating: 7.20
Barista: 8
Savvy: 7
Ambiance: 6
Presentation: 8
Consistency: Consistent
Espresso Machine: La Spaziale
Coffee Rating: 7.20
Aroma: 7
Body: 7
Brightness: 7
Crema: 7
Flavor: 7
Taster's Correction: 1.0
Size: L
Primary Taste: Pungent
Coffee Beans: Caffè Umbria
Cup Manufacturer: IPA
Price: $1.35
Last Update: 10/22/2008
First Reviewed: 09/18/2003
Notes: Outdoor Seating

Review
Errantly called 'Tasili Coffee' in most phone books and directories, this is a business lunch spot tucked away in the Hills Plaza brick office park, within a courtyard in the shadow of the Bay Bridge featuring a statue of the Hills Bros. Coffee trademark. Sandwiches, lavash, salads, and fine espresso. One indoor table and a few small ones outdoors in the plaza. The owner, Laid Chellihi, pays careful attention to preparation. His skills, and his café, could be considered two undiscovered secrets in SF's world of good espresso. Back in 2003, he used a two-group La Pavoni machine. He replaced it with a two-group La Spaziale in 2005 - in use today. He produces some of the most consistently good (albeit not top tier) espresso in the city (talk about man over machine!). Laid pulls an espresso with a full, thick, and somewhat tall layer of medium-to-dark brown crema, and it can have one of the sweetest aromas of any espresso I've had in SF. However, we've more recently had an occasional shot (before closing time) with a thinner crema and weaker aroma - could be the freshness of their coffee supply at its later stages. Served warm-to-hot with some faint grounds at the bottom of the cup. Flavorwise, it's relatively dense and at times bold - a combination of tobacco and an herbal pungency, but with definite tastes of smoke, balsamic, and nutmeg. If it's missing anything, it's a touch of brightness on the high end of the flavor spectrum. Served to the rim in a tall and narrow IPA demitasse, built like a shotglass but with a Caffè Umbria logo. He sometimes serves it in larger Caffè Umbria cappuccino cups - fine for doppio shots, but even for singles the crema still manages to persist in its wide mouth.