Sitting at Caffe Acri may be as close as one gets to a truly European cafe experience in Marin County. At least on the surface. There is the outdoor seating area, the marble tables, and the general ambiance of downtown Tiburon where tourists and locals mingle on their way to the ferry terminal, local shops, and famous restaurants like Guaymas (which apparently is now a bit of a disaster judging by a slew of recent yelp reviews).
I ordered my usual — a single espresso — and specified “for here” so as to get it in a ceramic espresso cup rather than in a silly, over-sized disposable cup. I added a mini-tiramisu for something sweet to eat and so I wouldn’t be tempted to add sugar to my drink.
So how does the espresso rate?
As a scientific observer, I would conclude the espresso was only average: rather thin crema that dissipated quickly and there was not much body or complexity to the taste. However, a rational scientist I am not when it comes to these evaluations.
On this particular day, consuming Caffe Acri’s espresso was like eating a 99-cent bowl of ramen noodles on a backpacking trip. Surely, you’ve had this experience. You’re outdoors beside a river or high-up on some mountain. You’ve been working hard and your body is tired, and for some reason the food (whatever it is) tastes sublime and you’re grateful to have it.
Despite this, for the pure espresso experience one should seriously consider other coffee establishments. Places that come to mind include: Blue Bottle, Four Barrel, and Ritual, although none of these have north bay locations yet (I can dream though).