Ok, so this isn’t really a coffee shop. But so what? I had an espresso there and it was unacceptably bad. I mean, ok, I get that everyone screws up a shot every once in a while. I’ve had bad shots of espresso at pretty much every coffee shop I’ve ever been to (including Blue Bottle) and it’s ok, as long as on average the quality is high. Even if the first shot of espresso I get at a place is sink-worthy I’ll give them another shot just because maybe the grind wasn’t just right, maybe the machine was running a little too high, maybe it was just an anomaly. This place though? Nope.
Full Circle Books in Oklahoma City is an established, funky, independent bookstore in a city that isn’t known for having independent of funky businesses. Everything in OKC looks like it could be in a strip-mall anywhere in America. When I was there with my girlfriend we loved the place, and I was pretty darn excited when I saw that the café had a Nuovo Simonelli Oscar sitting on the counter! It was plumbed in, but other than that its exactly the machine I’m interested in buying. A great Heat Exchanger machine I saw right away that the reviews of it were correct: although the body was molder plastic it still looked like a high quality machine. I excitedly ordered a shot of espresso and the woman behind the counter stood up. Picked up the portaholder from the counter, filled it about 1/3 of the way from the doser, stuck it in the group head, hit the switch and walked over to her newspaper! About a minute later she gave me a paper cup of brown water. No crema (or flavor at all). It was, by a very wide margin, the worst “espresso” I’ve ever had.
It did however make me think: why would I expect any more? This isn’t a Ritual or Intelligencia or Stumptown, it’s a bookstore! They sell books! Coffee is just a sideline! You know what though? Even if they give coffee away for free they should at least TRY to make it palatable.
Anyway, like I said above, unacceptably bad.
Will I buy books there? Probably.
Coffee? Don’t make me laugh.
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