Ordered two shots of espresso at Blue Bottle in Hayes Valley the other day.
It is a pretty interesting location, Garage door store front, on a back alley(linden & Gough) in Hayes Valley. They have a couple of outside chairs to sit down at. I am really happy to see an artisinal "explosion" of gourmet items like coffee or cheeses.
Now to the espresso, Blue Bottle pulls the shots "ristretto", I loved the creamy texture of the shots, it was almost like thick cream, but there was a slight bitter edge to both shots, they need to do a little fine tuning. While I was there, a couple of people ordered lattes and caps, they looked delicious with their luscious foam; so many places still use the half-a**ed approach to creating foam by just "spooning" it on top, that is a disgrace. Although I was tempted to try a cap from them, in staying within italian coffee drinking traditions, I do not drink caps or lattes after breakfast.
The last great espresso I had was at Cafe 817 in Oakland about a year ago, they use Illy espresso. Its hard to beat the PHD chemist Ernesto Illy at the coffee game; last I heard he was using some kind've of hi-tech NASA computer technology to maximize the perfect selection of beans for roasting. But good espresso brewing is not just great coffee, its also the water, the machine, and the grind according to humidity ....
It was noted a while back that Cafe 817 has been sold.
Cafe Greco also serves Illy espresso, but the last couple of times I went my drinks were shockingly poor.