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Fresh Eats: De La Paz Roasters: Cafe Opens Slowly 

Wednesday, Dec 7 2011
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Jason Benford's De La Paz Coffee Roasters has existed only in bagged-bean form since 2006. Now the scrappy coffee roaster is making its way into the chaos of the San Francisco roaster-retailer scene with a new cafe set to open sometime in February at 1081 Mission (at Seventh St.). To test out batches of beans, as well as some of the quirkier concepts De La Paz has in mind, they're opening the cafe each week on Fridays between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Don't come in expecting your typical coffee experience, though. The test menu at De La Paz eschews many of the milk-based espresso drinks the coffee-drinking community has grown used to. The limited menu will only feature four items: two single-origin drips, a shot of seasonal espresso, and a cappuccino.

Shark Senesac, head roaster and go-to guy for all things De La Paz, explained the decision to have such scant offerings. "We want to serve the things we enjoy the most: brewed coffee, espresso, and cappuccino. We're not saying we won't offer lattes or americanos, it's just not going to be something that's on the menu or something that we're actively trying to sell."

Senesac won't stop there in terms of rearranging the classic ideals of the coffee shop. Instead of a typical cafe layout, withcustomers receiving their drinks and then sitting at a smattering of tables, the new De La Paz will feature a lengthy bar with traditional stools. Senesac and company hope that the bar, set amid the roasting equipment and wholesale beans, will evoke a cocktail bar and inspire the caffeine-hungry to sit, taste the coffee they're drinking, and converse — with the barista as well as one another.

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Noah Sanders

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