Coffee Cravings: Flywheel Coffee Roasters

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Flywheel Coffee Roasters is located a convenient seven blocks away from the Parnassus campus, next door to Whole Foods. Look for its name on a sandwich board outside the entrance — the facade is plain and easy to miss if you’re not paying close attention.

Flywheel’s interior décor can best be described as warehouse-chic, with a cement floor, exposed beams and hanging light bulbs. Because the tables are small and sparse, the place feels pretty spacious. However, the trade-off is that there is not a lot of real estate for your laptop or textbooks.

In addition, while there are some straight-back chairs and benches, some tables only have stools — OK for the first legs of a date or a catch-up session with a friend, but not so great for that study marathon the day before your test.

For those committed to powering through those syllabus chapters at Flywheel, make sure to come with a charged battery, because open plugs can be hard to find.

Wi-Fi is available, which means that more people will be camping out with their MacBooks, hogging the plugs. There is music playing in the background, but it’s pretty nondescript — one friend called it “trendy elevator music.”

The regular coffee was $3 and prepared with the pour-over method. Freshly ground coffee that was roasted on the premises is placed in a filter fitted into a ceramic dripper. Hot water is then poured over the grounds to extract the coffee into a waiting cup or mug.

Flywheel also serves a variety of espresso drinks, including lattes, cappuccinos and mochas. The drinks are poured into double-walled glass mugs, which are cool to the touch, yet keep the beverage inside warm and toasty.

During my visit, I tried three different roasts. The Kenya Matingi had a full-bodied flavor that my companion described as smooth and almost sweet. In addition, this cup tasted especially strong, although this may have been the result of how the coffee was prepared.

The Kenya Blackberry, on the other hand, had an aggressively fruity flavor that lingered after each sip. While I am usually a fan of interesting flavor profiles, the acidity from the fruit completely overwhelmed the cup, from beginning to end.

My favorite was the Kenya Nanyuki, with a medium body and bold notes of chocolate. The aftertaste did have a bit of acidity to it, although it had a much cleaner flavor than the Kenya Blackberry.

Overall, Flywheel provides a solid, if not extraordinary, cup of coffee within a 15-minute walk of Parnassus, but the set-up makes it a better place to catch up with a friend than with your reading.

Flywheel Coffee Roasters 

672 Stanyan St.

(between Haight and Page streets)

(415) 682-4023

Hours: Mon.-Fri. 6 a.m.-7 p.m., Sat.-Sun. 7 a.m-7 p.m.