What's a Coffee Commentary?
Subject: Cafe d'Bolla
Location visited: Salt Lake City, UT
Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 5+ [see key]
Grids must be the one thing I love about major cities. The ease of getting around with nothing more then mediocre directions (and the concept of how a square works) makes my life billions of times easier.
But despite the simplicity of the grid, Salt Lake City must have consisted originally of very malicious people who wanted people to never find anything.
As is commonly known, SLC was the original all-Mormon settlement built with their temple smack dab in the middle of town. So to denote the significance of the temple, they made every street on each side 100 st (100 N, 100 S, etc). Now add the direction the street is of the temple (i.e. if you're east of the temple on 700 North, you're on East 700 North) and you're pulling your hair out.
So this crazy road system made what would be a simple morning coffee run into an excruciatingly complicated crawl. I had heard of a place called Cafe d'Bolla in some research prior to arriving and figured since it was relatively close to the Temple Square (the area where I ended up staying), that I would make a walking trip before I left. I checked Google Maps to verify the location of the address (249 East 400 South), I called to get verbal confirmation (with no answer any of the 12 times I called), and finally decided to just wing it. Needless to say, Google Maps ran me astray and Cafe d'Bolla would not answer their phone.
So I gave up and began heading back to my hotel. I grabbed coffee at a far less impressive place (Salt Lake City Roasters), breakfast, and just when I thought I was done with SLC I stumble right onto Cafe d'Bolla (which upon examination, turned out that Google Map sent me to the inverse of the address).
The outside was a nice modern, well-constructed exterior that really made you want to sit down at one of their outside tables. The inside was a long shop, with a decent number of seats inside but mostly space to wait in line.
The coffee is roasted in house and from their single origin offerings, it looked like they had a nice selection. But even though they serve french pressed coffee normally, they were completely out of coffee that day (which to me is ludicrous)!
The espresso is where they garnered their strength. Not only was the barista fun to converse with, she was also very skilled in pulling shots. My espresso was decent though it had a bit of a sharp of a taste as well as some char. The tea was Rishi Tea.
Overall, Cafe d'Bolla was a nice stop (after finding it) with a lot of good practices plus a good deal of potential for improvement. Especially in a city where coffee is hardly promoted (Mormons aren't big coffee fanatics), they're making some headway. If you manage to master the SLC streets, I'd make a stop in.