Chocolate Fish

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Chocolate Fish's Menu Board

Updated 1/21/11

Tucked away in a corner of the CalPERS building (3rd & Q) is our little coffee secret. Chocolate Fish is a New Zealand style coffee house. Operated by Andy and Edie Baker (Andy is the Kiwi), their coffee hideaway is mostly frequented by State workers and others in a close vicinity to us. They are only open til about 4 Monday-Friday and til about 2 on the weekends.

Andy says that New Zealand espresso is more of a medium roast, with lots of caramel tones and sweetness coming through the bean. They get their coffee from a network of growers and then roast the beans themselves at their roastery off 65th..


I just go for the hot chocolate. I don't drink coffee or tea, but everyone tells me the coffee is fabulous. I think the only complaint I've heard is that they only sell two size cups and everyone was used to the three Starbucks sizes (got to have that super Venti). They do say that they use a double ristretto in the smaller cup. Not a coffee drinker, I didn't know what that meant, so I looked it up.

Ristretto is a very "short" shot of espresso coffee. Originally this meant pulling a hand press faster than usual using the same amount of water as a regular shot of espresso. Since the water came in contact with the grinds for a much shorter time the caffeine extracted in reduced ratio to the flavorful coffee oils. The resultant shot could be described as bolder, fuller, with more body and less bitterness. All of these flavors are usually attributed to espresso in general, but are more pronounced in ristretto.

The shop features flat screens showing surfing videos and there is a lot of comfortable seating. Although I suppose we State workers aren't supposed to be loitering around drinking coffee. Anyway, it is very friendly and cozy.

There is a pastry case and a selection of other drinks, including a favorite of mine, Izzes. They also serve a nice variety of teas and the one Andy served me had a lovely floral smell and light taste. I do want to learn more about teas too, so I'll have to give some of them a try.

Oh, In New Zealand chocolate fish apparently are little treats given as thank yous, kudos, rewards, etc. The little fish sold here are made over at Ginger Elizabeth's.

As an aside, I went to New Zealand as a child and highly recommend the ice cream. It was so good! And I told Andy every time I enter his shop I think of Rotarura, their version of Yellowstone. I just love the name, Ro ta ru ra. LOL