Everything about the newly opened Local 123 in Berkeley “suggests that it is going to be an East Bay destination for serious coffee lovers,” says TopoTail.

“They have a beautiful La Marzocco machine and are pulling shots via bottomless portafilters, which is a very good sign,” TopoTail observes. “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.”

Espresso is excellent: short, dark, and syrupy, says Leadbelly, although there’s not much crema on top. abstractpoet really liked a cup of Sumatran drip coffee.

The beans and tea are from Flying Goat, a serious roaster in Santa Rosa with its own cafés in Berkeley and Healdsburg.

The extensive food-prep area belies the meager food offerings, mostly of the snack variety. Cardamom shortcake is rich and buttery, if short on actual cardamom flavor, says Leadbelly.

Décor is minimal, which you may or may not find charming, but there’s a nook with a couple of couches and a nice back patio with high brick walls. Free Wi-Fi makes this a good hangout prospect.

Local 123 [East Bay]
2049 San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley
No phone available

Board Link: Very promising cafe opens in Berkeley

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