Emporio Rulli Il Caffé

Overall Rating: 7.650


Address: 333 Post St.
Cross Street(s): Stockton St., on the Union Square Plaza
City, State ZIP: San Francisco, CA 94108
Neighborhood: Union Square
Phone: 415.433.1122
Hours: M-Su 7:30am-7pm
Type of Establishment: Cafe (Chain)
Cafe Rating: 7.80
Barista: 7
Savvy: 7
Ambiance: 8
Presentation: 9
Consistency: Inconsistent
Espresso Machine: Faema
Coffee Rating: 7.50
Aroma: 8
Body: 7
Brightness: 7
Crema: 8
Flavor: 7
Taster's Correction: 0.5
Size: L
Primary Taste: Smoky
Coffee Beans: Emporio Rulli Il Caffé
Cup Manufacturer: Syracuse
Price: $1.90
Last Update: 12/28/2010
First Reviewed: 09/20/2003
Notes: Coffee Sales; Outdoor Seating

Review
Swanky, authentic, Italian-style bar/café at the Stockton St. Pavillion, atop the Union Square plaza. Italian marble and mahogany. Indoor seating along large windows, and a vast swath of exposed outdoor seating beneath (formerly Pellegrino) parasols. They even feature some bar counterspace for stand-up espresso service. Gelato, "dolci," and authentic Italian panino grills (but quite average panini). They roast their own coffee beans at their Larkspur location. Using a three-group Mr. Espresso Faema E91 Ambassador, they generally serve espresso properly short with a moderate layer of thicker, dark brown crema. When they serve it short, it's pungent, smoky flavor is a touch bitter and overroasted, but still quite good. The quality declined significantly right after the year it first opened; more often the shot was too large and slightly overextracted. While not bitter, it tasted watery on top of what could otherwise have been a fine espresso. (Their prices also went up just as their service quality went down.) But in 2008 things started to look up a little again. By 2010, the pour sizes were larger but the quality was almost as good as ever. However, service is often rather slow and disorganized. Employee quality control and training has suffered most: too many staffers let their espresso shots run too long, resulting in a watery cup filled high that tastes more like fancy drip coffee. Although it has improved in recent years, the espresso here comes up a little short when compared with their Chestnut St. location. But at last check, it has a wood-roasted flavor of tobacco and spice with a healthy, mottled medium brown crema. For milk-based drinks, their frothing skills are average at best and they are often out of larger cups - the resulting effort showing little blending between the espresso & milk. (They sometimes make amateur attempts at latte hearts.) Corners have also been cut, as Le Porcellane d'ANCAP cups with their logo gave way to cheaper Syracuse ceramics.