Blue Bottle Coffee
Hayes Valley Espresso
A smoky, cedary espresso with a deep-toned fruit that in the small cup suggests semi-sweet chocolate or perhaps a rich port wine. Ken (90) and co-taster Ted Lingle (93) differed a bit on this blend's impact in milk: Ted found this blend mastered milk with an impressive sweetness and richness; for Ken the chocolate carried nicely into milk but the mouthfeel was a bit lean. Nominating reader Christopher Losa testified to his admiration for this blend in almost lurid terms: "rich, thick, and chocolaty...the way it syrups out of the portafilter is absolutely sexy...comparative to a California Zin or a Petit Syrah fruit bomb wine.'
Blue Bottle Coffee is a quintessential boutique coffee business: A micro roasting operation in Oakland housed in a space about as large as a suburban walk-in closet and a single retail location in San Francisco. Despite, or perhaps because of, its small scale, and certainly owing to its fine coffees, Blue Bottle has attracted a strong following in the San Francisco Bay Area. Hayes Valley is the name of the neighborhood where the Blue Bottle retail kiosk is located. Visit
Who Should Drink It
Those who prefer boutique chocolates to the kind found next to the checkout counter.
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This review originally appeared in the September, 2005 tasting report: Nice Going: Readers' Choice Espressos