Iveta’s style was a really refreshing departure from what I have been reviewing lately. While I love drinking coffee on a daily basis, routine can get stale for anyone. Iveta is a nice little spot off the beaten path that features Italian style “dry” caps rather than what most would consider normal “wet” ones. While I cannot put this shop on the same spectrum as other shops that offer high end coffee, I can definitely say it was an enjoyable experience and a hearty drink.
I came in at the end of a long work day and the staff was friendly despite their obvious exhaustion. The store itself was very restaurant-like, featuring a lot of sandwiches and pastries. When I first saw the website for Iveta, I thought it seemed a little over-the-top serious and very coffee focused. My visit, however, proved to be the opposite. The place looked pristine, but the staff was much more laid back then their suit & tie appearance on the net led me to believe. They also seemed far more focused on serving lunch than coffee. Also, other beverages took center stage alongside their coffee on the menu.
The barista who served us was very gracious. He told me straight away that the shop specialized in foamy “dry” caps. Fine by me, and thank you for telling me. When our drink arrived, I was pretty excited; though it looked vastly different than the caps I was used to, he had put alot of effort into crafting our drink and really wanted our feedback. Most of the time, for me at least, dry American caps equate to, well, crap. His drink was anything but. The drink was really foamy, probably more than half foam. The foam was heavenly both in flavor and texture. I really liked how it was heavy enough to sit on my tounge and linger but soft enough to be sucked down. It also had very tasty milk, creamy and a little sweet. It felt almost more like an afternoon snack then a drink. My assistant really loved the flavor and it actually sparked a discussion with the barista about “dry” vs. “wet.”
The coffee itself, though, was far too bitter for me. It tasted slightly burnt and they were definitely using a darker European-esq blend than I was used to. The non-foam part of my cap was definitely not a real pleasant flavor. What also threw me off was how my cap felt like two totally seperate drinks; it was not smooth or coherent like most wet caps, there was a very clear separation of a nice smooth foamy top and an extremely strong heavy part on the bottom. I like the seemlessness of well done caps where the milk, espresso, and foam flow together, so this was just a preference issue. Though this was a huge step away from what I normally drink, I enjoyed it. It reminded me of the caps I had while traveling through Italy, especially the flavor and texture of the milk. In all, I thought it was more like a dessert than coffee; it would have been something nice to have at home while reading on a rainy night. Different, but still enjoyable.
Though the staff had just gotten through a very long day, they were very hospitable, letting us stay in the shop after hours while they cleaned. Our barista came out from behind the bar and sat down to chat with us. He was very knowledgable of terminology and “trends” in coffee. It seemed like he was at Iveta because he wanted to do his own thing, loved making coffee and liked being part of a restaurant rather than a straight up shop; it definitely felt more “classy” than many coffee establishments. Both he and the other barista were eager to discuss Italian and American style coffee with us. Turns out this place is run by a nice Italian family who wanted to bridge both styles of coffee. I think they did a good job meeting in the middle with the cap; airy but heavy, sweet but hearty. I appreciate that Iveta is doing its own thing in a place like Santa Cruz that is becoming a name in the coffee world.
This place is a really nice departure from other stores in the area. Iveta will not appease everyone, but its differences are not negative. Though my cap was done in a way I am not used to or necessarily prefer, I am glad that they are proud to offer an alternative and stick to their roots.
- The European-ness of the shop
- Flavor of my foam
- The high quality of an extremely “dry” cap
- Professional service
Cafe Iveta2125 Delaware Ave
Santa Cruz, CA 95060 (831) 713-0320