Local Review: Esso Coffeehouse

I reached out to my buddy Aaron to record a podcast because I know his story and felt it would be great to share with people. We always have a really difficult time picking a place to meet. We usually find a pub that serves a good Guinness, but those are getting harder to find these days. We had a great one, but it closed down. So, I did what any good investigator does… I Googled. Aaron mentioned a new place that had opened on his side of town and I checked it out. It looked like a nice little community shop with a roaster. I was in.

First Impressions:

It was difficult to get a real good first impression. The shop is one store within a larger building. The building was on a corner that went along the main road and turned down a side street. Esso was on the side of the building that went down the side street. It was hard to see from the road because they shaded the building with a half wall and shades. Once I got parked and walked up on the sidewalk, the shop was easy to find.

The store had to art fixtures on either side of the door along with a few chairs on the patio. Once the weather cools, off, this will be a nice place to sit and drink coffee. The art fixtures were…different. They were propane tanks that had been shot up and rusted out in the desert. How do I know this? Because I see it all the time when I go shooting out in the desert. I would never dump my garbage out there like that, but lots of people do (but really shouldn’t). I knew this was the “artsy” part of town, but I began to worry that this was going to be some silly eccentric artsy-fartsy shop where everyone looks down on you because you “don’t understand.”

Building:

The inside was small and very comfortable. I classify this as a “community shop,” which means it’s really intended for the immediate community. It’s a true third place. The design is very comfortable. This is a place I could easily spend all day. Even though there was not a lot of space, they varied the table sizes nicely.

I knew they roasted their own coffee, so I snooped for the roaster. It was hidden behind a fold out screen, which was disappointing to me. I think they should incorporate the roaster into the design, rather than try to hide it.

One thing that I like is that the espresso machine is a focal point. As soon as you come, your eye is drawn to the copper antique machine glistening at the back of the store. The textured tiles are used in a consistent but not overwhelming way. They add a nice texture to the otherwise flat walls.

The restroom was clean but unfinished. They did just open in March of this year, so it’s not going to be 100% complete.

Food, Drinks, Service:

We spoke to the barista, who was genuinely pleasant. The espresso was a three bean blend of Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Tanzania Peaberry. The barista advised that espresso was a citrus forward coffee. Aaron had a late and advised that it was quite good. The brewed coffee was a single origin from Nicaragua. It was complex and well roasted. It was happy hour, so I got it for half price too!

I didn’t get any food, so I can’t weigh in on that.

Verdict:

I highly recommend this place. The coffee is excellent. The environment is comfortable. They roast their own coffee and were pleasant to interact with.

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