My recent visit to B2 was as enjoyable as my experience at B-1 (Bellano Coffee). No, maybe it was better, but I loved their second location for different reasons. B2 is located at the San Pedro Market Square and qualms about parking in downtown SJ aside, it is pretty easy to get to. It is on the site as their future permanent Bellano Kiosk, but for now it is a simple operation, tucked in the corner with a whole professional set up. The idea behind B2, I am told, is to create a space similar to the shops at the ferry buildings up in the city and Oakland; a small but efficient professional operation offering high quality coffee to business folk. I really look forward to the final product in the coming years.
B2 had the same great quality and incredible customer service as Bellano Prime. Not knowing the two shops were related, I was originally drawn to this location because they use a Synesso Cyncra (see my reviews of Synesso’s machines if you are interested!). That alone meant visiting B2 would be worth the trip. When we arrived, we were greeted warmly and helped promptly. They had essentially set up an entire high end opperation within about a 30 square foot radius complete with a brew bar, merchandise corner, retail bean section, and the other essential accouterments. Leslie, one of the baristas, was familiar with the site and appreciative of my work. I think I was more elated about the fact that someone actually reads my stuff and takes it to heart!
Funny thing about coffee, it has some strange spiritual force that brings people together. Bringing knowledge and people is one of the ultimate goals of this website, but I think coffee does that for most of us on a daily basis. No kidding: I have seen couples “made or broken” for the day depending on whether or not they get their cup of coffee the way they like it, strangers who would otherwise have nothing to do with each other connect while I brew their morning cup, and old friends rekindle relationships while sipping their caps. It tangibly connects people and it is even more true for coffee afficianados who love to share their knowledge and passion for the craft (no ego intended, I guess we can just say coffee professionals). I have met some great people in the industry and even celebrities while working in coffee. I would never have gotten the chance to have these experiences if it was not for my position in the industry; let’s face it, everyone needs coffee for one reason or another.
Today was no different; after about 8 years I met up with my old friend Andrew Villa. The other barista at B2 looked familiar from the second I walked in. I thought, naw, can’t be. Sure enough, after some small talk, I realized it was the same Andrew I had gone to hardcore/metal shows with as a kid. He eventually remembered me as that fat little emo kid with the twin brother who played bass in Ansley. Fun stuff, now he’s an outstanding barista and was the 3rd place winner of the SW Regional Brewers cup! Congratulations again, Andrew. This meeting was important to me since it proved that coffee really does have a way of bringing people together. Guess it has some other benefits beside waking us up in the morning. I think this is a good point to meditate on; take a moment to look beyond the product itself, the image, the hype, and the industry.
The caps that we got were superb, really excellent flavors, the perfect temperature, and exceptional texture. I will lend it to the barista and Synesso’s steam wands (I cannot praise them enough) for making milk foam that is so incredibly velvety and heavy yet airy and perfectly blended with the espresso. The flavor of my cap was the high point for me. Though it was slightly bitter, it was really solid in terms of its consistency and balance. Flavor-wise, it really is one of the better caps I have had from any shop. It was not particularly unique, but it was so solid that my friend and I kept comparing them to others we had recently tasted. B2 kept coming out on top.
The building itself was really nice. If you have ever been to the Emeryville Public Market, this place has a similar feeling to it; little stalls serving great food with minimal decor or fancy services, just simple and straightforward. B2 felt very cozy and warm in its section of the building. The large surrounding windows, the industrial brick and cement of the building, and the inviting set up of the kiosk made me feel very welcome. Sitting on plastic chairs and tables really never struck me as abnormal because it all fit together so well.
B-2 itself could stay as it is now and I would go back there again and again. The future of the shop is enticing. I want to see how it evolves product wise and how it establishes itself permanently. Overall, it was a great experience, a superb product, and I could not recommend a visit enough.
- Outstanding hospitality and knowledge of the baristas
- The solid flavor and temperature of my cap
- The machine
- The goal of the shop as a kiosk
87 N San Pedro St
San Jose, CA 95110