When I was staying with my friends in San Jose in California earlier this year, there was good coffee to be found, but you had to know where to look. Other than a couple of options in downtown San Jose itself, everything else is spread out in the surrounding suburbs and not that easy to get to without a car. An exception to this is Barefoot Coffee in Campbell, four miles to the southwest of downtown San Jose and conveniently located a 10-minute walk from the Hamilton stop on the excellent light rail system.
Barefoot Coffee Roasters is based in nearby Santa Clara and this is, so far, its only coffee shop. It’s a small, plain, modern building serving anything but plain coffee. There’s one option on espresso, plus decaf, with a choice of three beans on pour-over through the Kalita Wave, one of which is available as bulk-brew (but only in the morning). The choices change every couple of days: whenever what’s on runs out, the baristas switch over to the something else.
If you don’t fancy coffee, there’s a small selection of tea, while if you’re hungry, there’s a range of pastries and other sweet snacks.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
Barefoot Coffee Campbell is the middle one of three units on the corner of Campisi Way and South Bascom Avenue. Facing east, it’s set back a little from the busy Bascom Avenue on a raised concrete terrace, where you’ll find a couple of tables opposite the doors. The front of Barefoot Coffee is nearly all glass, floor-to-ceiling windows flanking a pair of glass doors. Inside it’s a simple space, slightly wider than the narrow windows/door, but going a long way back. There’s an L-shaped counter on the right, with the bulk of the seating in a narrow strip along the left-hand wall.
There’s space in front of the counter to the right of the door for a four-person table, while on the left, a pair of armchairs sit are nestled by a couple of tree trunks which act as coffee tables. Beyond them are five two/three-person tables along the left-hand wall, extending past the counter towards the back of the store. Behind the counter on the right is a closed-in office space, while at the front of the counter, there’s a two-person bar.
This is a neat arrangement, with the bar projecting from the counter-top, solving the perennial problem of where to put your legs. There’s a pair of bar stools here and they provide the ideal vantage point to watch the pour-overs, which are made directly in front of you. You also get a pretty good view of the business-end of the espresso machine, a two-group La Marzocco, which is towards the back of the counter on the left. No prizes for guessing where I sat!
The front part of Barefoot Coffee is fairly bright, but because it’s so long, there are plenty of lights, particularly towards the back, where they are needed. With the exception of wood-cladding on left-hand wall, the interior is painted white, which helps alleviate any sense of gloom at the back.
This being America, it’s counter-service, with the till at the front corner of the counter, pour-over to the right, while the espresso machine and its grinders are at the back. Once made, you collect your coffee from the wide space between the till and espresso machine. Meanwhile, if you’re looking to buy beans, there’s a set of retail shelves right at the back at the end of the counter, where you’ll find an impressive array of blends and single-origins for sale.
When it comes to the coffee on offer, the range is slightly smaller, but no less impressive. During my visit, the seasonal winter/spring blend, The Boss, was on espresso, along with a Mexican decaf. The three filter options were a Camiseta (Panama), a Paraiso from Nicaragua (which, coincidently, I’m enjoying a bag of at the moment, brought back from Barefoot by my friend Karen last week) and the amusingly-named The Heavy, a blend from various Guatemalan farms.
I was in the mood for espresso, so had a shot of the Boss, served in a classic white cup. This was quite chocolately on the first sip, but became slightly more acidic after that. Despite this, it was a really well-balanced, complex coffee that I really enjoyed. I had only intended this to be a short visit, but instead spent over an hour there, watching the pour-overs being made and chatting with the baristas.
|1819 SOUTH BASCOM AVENUE • CAMPBELL • CA 95008 • USA|
|www.barefootcoffee.com||+1 408 340 5026|
|Monday||07:00 – 17:00||Roaster||Barefoot (espresso + filter)|
|Tuesday||07:00 – 17:00||Seating||Tables, Counter, Tables (outside)|
|Wednesday||07:00 – 17:00||Food||Cake|
|Thursday||07:00 – 17:00||Service||Counter|
|Friday||07:00 – 17:00||Cards||Amex, Mastercard, Visa|
|Saturday||07:00 – 17:00||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Sunday||07:00 – 17:00||Power||Yes|
|Chain||No||Visits||31st January 2017|
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