Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Coffee and Chocolate... should be *so* good!

Coffee and Chocolate has everything... a killer espresso machine, gorgeous (seriously gorgeous) chocolates and pastries, great location and ambiance, and yet it often falls just (or a lot) short of being one of the definitive coffee houses of Knoxville.

Located just off of Market Square facing onto Union Ave, it is the obvious place to get a morning coffee after brunch or a night cap after a date on the square.

I've never had a perfect, or even amazing shot pulled by the staff. I've had a good shot, but nothing amazing. I've had perfectly decent cafe au lait, but there were grounds in the bottom. I've also had a taste of an absolutely terrible cappuccino (no one saw new grounds put in the portafilter but didn't realize it until we were already on our way home... ick) pulled by a barista with an icky low-cut v-neck shirt exposing way too much chest hair for food service. Just because it's the fashion doesn't make it good. I've also had downright hostile service of the sort that makes me think "gee, I really don't have to tip."

My absolutely favorite experience also happened to be my first impression... oops. I was with a great coffee snob friend of mine (who, BTW, can pull a real shot and knows the difference). After a lovely breakfast on the square (to recover from a fairly good hangover) he and I ditched the breakfast party to get something strong and caffeinated in us. The lights were on, the door was open, the cases were lit, a barista was inside, and the espresso machine was on... and we were informed they didn't open for another hour. Really?! Holy moses. No espresso for me and what's that taste in my mouth?

Luckily for the owner their location is perfect and I do end up going in on a fairly regular basis, and their tea selection is good enough to keep the wife happy, but I really wish they could clean up their act and make this my primary coffee destination. Luckily, until then, I still have Old City Java and The Golden Roast (both soon to be glowed about here).

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