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Coffee Competition: The Roastery

The next contestant is The Roastery on New Montgomery.  I’ve been here before, and generally like the place.  It’s down the street the from the Starbucks I previously reviewed, but it’s not a mega-chain, and they serve Cafe Trieste coffee.  Generally, I like my coffee shops to have a little more character, and be a little less “sanitized” by a big corporation.

I ordered my coffee at around 11am today, as usual a large black coffee, but ordered a chocolate croissant as well.  The barista didn’t ask if I wanted to leave room for milk, which would have been nice, but whatever I still received my coffee.

I took a seat by the window, in a comfortable chair, but accompanied by a rickety table.  It’s such a pain to have an open coffee, a laptop, and a rickety table!  Needless to say, I discovered the rickety-ness aspect the hard way, as I leaned over to type on my laptop.  POOF!  the coffee, filled to the brim, managed a bit of acrobatics and listed  to the side like a boat, and spilled some precious coffee on the table – centimeters away from my laptop.  Unlike the government’s response to the BP spill in the Gulf, I quickly managed to contain the spill, and saved the day.  For the rest of my time at The Roastery, I perched my foot on the leg of the table to prevent other accidents.  Onto the coffee…

I found the coffee to be quite good.  It had the right temperature, the right flavor, and the right aftertaste.  All in all a good cup of joe.  You won’t be disappointed in the coffee if you come to The Roastery.

You won’t be disappointed with the vibe either, if you make the trek there for a cup of coffee.  The shop is located directly in front of the Academy of Arts, meaning you get a lot of artistic types.  Even the people who work there, seem to work at the academy. 

What you will be disappointed in is the fact that the staff does not do a good job cleaning tables after people leave, or cleaning the fixin’s station, which are a mess.  You really have to be a scout for a good table, and even then bring some extra napkins to make the table somewhat clean. 

You will also be disappointed in the WiFi access, which is a HUGE miss.  I love me some WiFi, and when I can’t get it, especially at a coffee shop, it’s a disappointment.  I mean, a coffee shop should get several things right – coffee, music, atmosphere, and WiFi.  A miss on either of those four items, and you are not doing the basics right. 

On a scale of 1-10 of nerdiness (as it relates to computers), I give myself a 9, and I kept getting kicked off the network, even with the right password, and even after doing a whole host of advanced manuevers and configurations to stay on.  It’s totally annoying to have access for 3-4 minutes, only to lose access.  Try sending a coherent email or surf the web in 3-4 minute spurts – a total pain in the butt. 

For that, I can recommend the coffee (and the pastries), but cannot recommending spending any amount of time at The Roastery.  I would love to support them over Starbucks, but given Starbucks, fast reliable WiFi access, I cannot see why you would want to spend time in the shop.

Grades:

Coffee: B+ [Generally satisfying, better than Starbucks.]

Service: C [Service at the counter was great, but when you get to your table, want to put sugar in your coffee, or use the WiFi, you will see the service fall flat].

Atmosphere: B [I like the atmosphere of this location.  They have a communal piano and guitar for crying out loud, and the people who both frequent this location and who work there, seem to define their own style.  However, I give a demerit for the intermittent internet access in this category as well.]

Price: $4.95 (with awesome chocolate croissant)

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