I'm here visiting folks for awhile and I'm looking for a cafe that serves *really* good espresso-based drinks, preferably in or close to the South Bay. I'd be especially interested in hearing from espresso enthusiasts out there.
Unfortunately, I was persuaded not to bring my own machine and grinder with me. What a big mistake. So I've taken to trying out a few places. So far, for example, I've tried these places:
* Slava Java in Palos Verdes: a one-minute extraction (!), resulting in an undrinkable cappa
* Coffee Beanery in Del Amo mall: thin and watery
* City Bean in Westwood: a macchiato which also was overextracted; even the dollop of milk foam couldn't save it
A quality shot depends on the beans, the equipment, and the barista, but I'm wondering if there's a place that consistency does it right. Espresso with a reddish-brown crema, sweet tasting with a tiny hint of bitterness, etc. Or something close. I'm not even going to ask for microfoamed milk or latte art. Just some place that at least knows the basic techniques and rules for brewing espresso.
After consulting the South Bay yellow pages, I'm considering the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Kelly's Coffee and Fudge, Java Centrale, and perhaps Peet's. But I'm tired of wasting time and money on various cafes only to be disappointed. Much thanks if someone could point me towards something that's more of a sure thing.