From Kansas City, we head to sunny San Diego, where I previously reported on coffee from Caffe Calabria. Elixir is a Calabria wholesale account, conveniently located downtown in a building lobby kiosk with access to coffee both inside the lobby and through a walk-up window to the street. You should definitely go inside, though. While the coffee may not have topped my list, the lobby’s design is amazing. Forget references to Anchor Man. This location’s cage-enclosed elevator reminds me of a mini Bradbury Building, a shared setting to both Chinatown and Blade Runner.
Espresso at Calbria was the highlight. The barista pulled my shot of the Calabria blend on a red, 3 group, La Marzocco FB 70. The espresso was ground to order although seemed to experience a rapidly disappearing crema. It was sweet and buttery with cocoa and red wine notes and a mellow acidity. Overall, I thought the espresso was decent but found it a little dry with a bite at the back of the throat and some ashy notes (3/3-).
Filter coffee options could have been better. The only choice was Calabria’s Italian roast, brewed on a Fetco and stored in airpump pot. The coffee was better than I would have expected for this dark a roast. It tasted freshly brewed and not overwhelmingly roasty. My notes were a little lacking when it came to much in the range of flavors and aromas, but in the end, I found it palatable enough to give it a 2+.
I can’t rave about Elixir but they do a decent enough job with their espresso. The bottom line is that there are not all that many options for decent coffee in San Diego, especially anywhere near downtown, so even this just barely above average espresso tends to stand out, especially when there’s such a nice setting to enjoy it in.