Coffee startup offers locally sourced beans

Founders fall short on vision of amazing coffee

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Maxwell Craig / The Advocate

By Tony Gojilde, Advocate Staff

The FasTrack Coffee Company is a startup coffee store that offers fast food and locally sourced coffee and espresso beverages that is suited more for the Starbucks crowd than it is to real coffee enthusiasts.

The café/drive-thru claims in its website that it has the “Best coffee in the Bay Area. However, it’s approach to delivering it is confusing.

The FasTrack Coffee Company began as a shared dream of co-founders Kent and Troy Emry.

The two receive their beans from local farmers. To coffee enthusiasts, beans from the Americas typically mean an uplifting brew of coffee with hints of cocoa or spices.

Not surprisingly the coffee tastes exactly as the connoisseur envisions.

The dark roast has a faint nutty aroma with cocoa that tastes mildly acidic. It was surprisingly light for a dark roast.

For a medium roast, the brew tastes faintly like citrus and herbs and smells like more of the same.

The first thought that popped into my head when drinking the medium roast was that it was mellow, something that I could drink for an extended amount of time, although, it was just as acidic as the dark roast.

The medium roast will be my go-to brew when I go back.

At FasTrack, the food is just good, but nothing special. It does taste homemade, which reinforces the coffee shop’s startup roots. The pastries, however, are great. They have just the right level of sweetness and pair well with the coffee.

The combination works because the coffee is so acidic that the sweetness of the pastries cancel it out. The combination brings out more of the coffee’s flavor, dragging the flavor of the pastry along with it.

Espresso drinks are only as good as their milk and foam, so I tried the cappuccino at FasTrack to test the barista’s foam control. I was blown away as it was perfect. Somehow the foam gave the espresso a deeper, nuttier flavor than an espresso from Starbucks.

Although, when I tried one of their signature beverages, I got burned milk that destroyed the intended flavor. This was confusing because I had just received perfect foam a couple minutes earlier.

Even more confusing is the choice of decoration.

The building is decorated with orange traffic signs reading things like, “WATCH FOR LATTES” and “DOUBLE SHOT AHEAD.” The walls are painted black and orange with black and yellow hazard stripes wrapping around the entire store.

At first I thought that the paint was strictly for Halloween and that it was a nice touch. As I slowly started to notice that the paint was there to stay, I was mortified.

The décor is far from welcoming, despite the managerial staff doing whatever they can to make it feel so.

The tables are small and so are the chairs. Even the furniture embraces the orange and black theme.

The service is great, the baristas are warm and welcoming, though aloof and the managers occasionally check up on customers. But no amount of customer service will make you forget about the setting.

I give the FasTrack Coffee company a three out of five stars. In the end, it wasn’t my cup of coffee.