Just came from Cafe 123, which opened yesterday at 2049 San Pablo, just south of University. Due to stomach problems, I am currently unable to drink coffee, so I can't opine on the quality of the coffee, but everything about this place suggests that it is going to be an East Bay destination for serious coffee lovers.
They have a beautiful La Marzocco machine and are pulling shots via bottomless portafilters, which is a very good sign. (This means there are no spouts to direct the espresso into one or two cups; if you look at the bottom of the portafilters you just see the bottom of the basket that holds the ground coffee. If the barista isn't well trained, a bottomless portafilter is going to spell real trouble, but the barista was pulling beautiful shots that hung down straight and true, like warm honey--exactly what you want to see.)
It's owned by two women, and they are using coffee roasted by Flying Goat, a serious roaster in Santa Rosa. They are also preparing drip coffee to order, another good sign, and are serving teas from Flying Goat as well. I was treated to a nice cardamom shortcake, fresh from the oven, but was so fixated on the coffee setup that I didn't make note of what other food they're offering.
Anyway, check it out. I've got a good feeling about this place.
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