I've recently visited quite a few coffee shops around the San Francisco, Boston, and Baltimore areas, none of which really stood out enough to get a full review. However, I still wanted to make a note of what each of these places offered, so here is a short rundown of the cafes.
Dana Street Roasting Co is a little coffee shop nestled in Mountain View, CA. It was a quaint little place with coffee bean bags all over the place, wooden stools, and outdoor sitting. Perhaps it was because I went when they were an hour from closing, or the Barista working wasn't up to par, but the espresso was not up to snuff. I heard that Dana street could do latte art, but in my macchiato, I got a thick meringue. The foam was very sweet which I loved, but the coffee was burnt both in temperature and taste. Too bitter.
Cafe L'Aroma on the rodeo drive of Boston (Newbury Street), more of a cafe with lots of interesting foods and deserts than a dedicated coffee shop, had a bubbly foamed cappuccino. The macchiato burnt my tongue in both temperature and taste as well. The atmosphere was too busy and squished, but the outdoor sitting looked nice. I wish they had more.
Trident Bookstore on NewBury has a cafe attached to it that is somewhat like a Diner. The diner servers breakfast all day (w00t!) and has a decently good selection of books. You can read the books while you are eating which makes the atmosphere extremely relaxing. The staff was very friendly and conversational, giving me a ton of places to checkout as a visitor. The cappuccino was pretty good, it had bubbly foam, but the milk wasn't burnt. There was some tingly sense of sweetness, which could be from the espresso or the cocoa powder they put on top of the drink. Either way, good place to unwind, read, and have a decently good drink.
EverGreen Cafe in Baltimore has a very cozy atmosphere with a spacious room, couches and tables nicely separated. This allows for a great conversation with the person you are with, without bothering the person at the neighboring tables. This place serves Zeke coffee which apparently won the best of Baltimore 2008, but really shouldn't have as there is a better place at Artifact's coffee/WoodBury market. The cafe mocha was really good, as whatever chocolate they used was simply a taste of chocolate heaven, with perhaps one of the best ratio of espresso/chocolate I've ever had. The gratuitous amounts of whipped cream made the drink delightfully light tasting. I also indulged in a chocolate chip cookie which was crunchy on the outside, soft and delicious on the inside. The cappuccino however, was another story of a burnt drink. Good place to relax and study for Johns Hopkins students. Not good as a pure coffee joint.