Location: Santa Clara, CA, a few miles from the Apple campus
Hardware: La Marzocco and heavily modded grinders of unknown origin (see picture)
Coffee Art: heck yeah
Served in: 5oz ceramic cups
Visited: Daily in February and March 2013
I first met Chromatic Coffee when it was a franchise under another name in June 2012. For the record, it was super then too. I recently acquired a client in Santa Clara, CA and knew I would be traveling out here every week. Strangely, Silicon Valley does NOT have a great artisan coffee shop on every corner. A lot of the area is actually office park and strip mall hell. When I found this place last year, I drove 8 miles from the Hyatt Convention Hotel to get some decent coffee. (For the other record, all of the espresso served at the Hyatt is utterly vile).
So I immediately thought of this location when I set up weekly trips to California. In the meantime I discovered the shop had changed its name to Chromatic Coffee but was the same crew of awesome baristas that I’d met last year. I actually managed to find a good hotel near the shop, putting me about 5 miles from the client but worth every commuting minute, knowing I’d have decent coffee at least once a day (I work in office park hell).
I am happy to say that breaking off on their own has only improved things over here. In my chats with the baristas, I’ve learned that the owner is a tech obsessed uber coffee nerd. You can see this in the fact that they are their own roastery and hey, check out the grinders. Heavily modded, the barista couldn’t remember the original brand on them, but informed me that the owner is actually working on his own equipment as well. (uber techie coffee nerds unite!).
So I can’t tell you enough how much I love Chromatic. Everyone there is super nice and super knowledgeable about the coffee and will happily nerd out over coffee talk when it’s not busy. There’s also a Hario pourover bar and they tell me they make cold brew as well, which I will be sampling next week. In addition to all the other awesome, they hold classes on everything from pour-over technique to barista art.
Bonus: They are not snooty coffee snobs here. You can order your drink with skim milk or to go and no one will look down their nose at your or inform you snottily that they only use whole milk from locally approved cows.
I wish I could keep gushing, but you should really get in here and try them for yourself. Don’t be fooled by their strip mall exterior. They are beyond awesome.