Barefoot Coffee Campbell

A bag of washed Camiseta coffee from Panana, roasted by Barefoot Coffee Roasters and on sale in its Campbell coffee shop.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.

  • In a small parade of shops, you'll find Barefoot Coffee in Campbell, just south of San Jose.
  • This is the view approaching from the north.
  • The two outside tables, set back and slightly above the road, catch the morning sun.
  • Meanwhile, the store itself is behind these glass double doors.
  • On the inside, looking out.
  • Turning around, this is the view from just inside the door.
  • There's a table at the front on the right...
  • ... while to the left of the door, there's a pair of armchairs by a tree-trunk coffee table.
  • The majority of the seating is provided by these two/three seater tables along the left...
  • ... although if you want to be close to the action, try this neat bar attached to the counter.
  • The decor in Barefoot is pretty simple. The highlight is this map, showing where Barefoot's...
  • ... beans come from. Definitely a South/Central American bias during my viist!
  • The other highlight is the lighting, particularly the chandelier...
  • ... although what you couldn't see in the previous photo is that the lampshades sparkle!
  • As well as a coffee shop, Barefoot is also a roaster. The full range of beans is on sale...
  • ... which includes a selection of espresso blends...
  • ... some interesting single-origins...
  • ... some more interesting single-origins (and a decaf)...
  • ... and, finally, some filter blends.
  • Let's get some coffee, shall we? The counter is on the right-hand side.
  • There is an extensive menu with a range of speciality drinks.
  • There's the obligatory bulk-brew ('fast pour' on the menu), but only in the mornings...
  • ... or there's hand pour through the Kalita Wave...
  • ... with the choices displayed on these individual cards.
  • Alternatively, something from the espresso machine, perhaps?
  • There's a blend on the main grinder, or decaf on the second.
  • I went for a shot of the seasonal Boss Blend, served with a glass of water.
  • My espresso, bossing it in a classic white cup.
  • Lovely crema.
  • I sat at the bar at the front of the counter, where you get free Kalita Wave lessons.
  • Step one, rinse the filter paper and leave to stand. The beans are preweighed in tins...
  • ... and then ground just before brewing.
  • Next, put the ground beans in the filter.
  • Everything (espresso and filter) is weighed and timed in Barefoot.
  • Here we go!
  • The first pour is to let the coffee bloom.
  • I love watching fresh coffee bubbling away. I rarely see this at home!
  • Just making a small adjustment while the coffee blooms.
  • Now for the first of the main pours. Note that the stopwatch has been reset.
  • Each pour is done with a series of short, circular motions.
  • At the end of each pour, the coffee is left to filter through for a little while...
  • ... before being topped up...
  • ... and then left to filter through again.
  • There's not much of a gap between pours, the idea being to have a series of short pours...
  • ... rather than one continuous pour or one long pour.
  • The basic recipe calls for 22g of ground coffee and 400ml of water.
  • The total extraction time that we're aiming for is three minutes (excluding bloom)...
  • ... so the water filters through quite quickly.
  • Time for another top-up...
  • ... and we're almost done now.
  • I think that's it.
  • And now we just wait for it to filter through. Pretty much spot on!
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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 +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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