Berkeleyside – Mr. Espresso: A company with roots stays relevant

We were very pleased with how this nice piece by Kate Williams turned out – thank you for telling such a great story about our family’s business!

Di Ruocco Family (from L-R) Laura Zambrano (Sister), Alex Zambrano (Laura's husband), Marie-Francoise Di Ruocco (Mother), Carlo Di Ruocco (Father), Luigi, and John Di Ruocco (Brother).

You may not know it, but it’s the coffee you drink at the Cheese Board, as well as Café Rouge, Saul’s Deli, Oliveto, Sweet Adeline Bakery, Picante, Lalime’s, Dopo, À Côte, Bette’s Ocean View Diner — and many other highly regarded and much loved Bay Area restaurants. It’s the coffee made by the Oakland-based Mr. Espresso.”

To read the full article, click here:


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Bold Italic: What Every Coffee Snob Should Know about Mr. Espresso

“Mr. Espresso has now grown to service a large number of local restaurants, including Flour & Water and the Delfina Group. You may recognize Mr. Espresso from the most influential and important Italian restaurants in San Francisco because they offer “full-service espresso,” that is, the machine, the beans, the service, plus the Italian attitude and fashion sense. Luigi also co-owns Coffee Bar and its three San Francisco locations. Mr. Espresso is still the only game in town that is roasting its beans over an oak wood fire (rather than gas), a process that needs to be consistently monitored and managed by a master roaster to maintain temperature.”

To read the full article, click here:

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Sprudge Feature: Gorgeous Machines, Wood-Fired Roasters, And Sugar Shots At Mr. Espresso In Oakland

Thank you Leif Haven of Sprudge for the great write-up.

SF Oakland Mr Espresso -1020134

“Mr. Espresso was instrumental in spreading early espresso culture in the Bay, both with their machines and service, and with the beans they started roasting to supply the (then) new-fangled machines they were bringing in. Carlo Di Ruocco learned the ways of roasting at a traditional wood-fired roastery in Salerno, Italy. Nowadays their roasters use RoastLog software for precise and careful control, but the oak wood has stayed. Luigi Di Ruocco claims that the low, even heat of the wood leads to a “slower roasting process that makes for more mellow and sweet espresso.”

To read the rest of the article, click here:

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SF Weekly Article: The Perfect Five Minute Drip Coffee at Home

We had the pleasure of hosting Peter Kane from SF Weekly back in April and he wrote this nice piece about his visit.  Enjoy!

Andrew Freeman & Co.

“Third Wave coffee has done a good job at closing the door behind it, leaving companies like Peet’s and that one with the mermaid to seem like lumbering giants better at pushing dark-roast concoctions on malls in Orinda rather cultivating a purer appreciation of coffee. It’s patently untrue, of course: Peet’s was founded in Berkeley, and Blue Bottle clearly has galactic-conquest aspirations. But the battle lines are drawn. Small-scale roastery Mr. Espresso doesn’t easily map onto them, having been roasting beans over oak in Oakland since 1978 for high-end cafes such as Coffee Bar and restaurants such as Perbacco or flour + water. I got the chance to look at the facility and glean some wisdom from a family-run business devoted to yielding the perfect Neapolitan cup as flawlessly as any temple to coffee on Valencia Street.”

To read the rest of the article, click here:



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Colombia El Bado microlot scores 92 points on


92 pt medallion

This month the Coffee conducted a tasting on coffees from Colombia: “Colombia 2014: On the Rebound”

We recently received and started roasting a new Colombian coffee from Finca El Bado which we submitted for the review.  El Bado is the current record-holder for Cup of Excellence awards in the region with four consecutive top-twenty placements . We’re pleased to report that the coffee did very well, and received an outstanding score of 92 points!  At $12 per 12 oz bag this coffee offers a tremendous value to the consumer.

See our Single Origin page for more info about this coffee and a direct link for purchase as well. We hope you enjoy!

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Big Western Barista Championships – February 22nd, 2014


By Nicolas Lawson – Quality Control Supervisor  at Mr. Espresso

There were forty-eight competitors total at the Big Western Barista Championships, a regional competition held in Los Angeles for the top barista competitors in the west coast. Twenty one were fighting for the title of North West Champion and twenty seven were battling it out for the coveted title of South West Barista Champion, a region that is widely considered to be the most competitive in the nation. Baristas came from as far as Alaska and Hawaii to test out their espresso skills in the ring of fire.

The competition was held in the up and coming Arts District of L.A. Less than two blocks away from Handsome Coffee Roasters. The event was split between two rooms. The smaller side room held the competitor preparation tables and the Brewer’s Cup Competition. The main room held the Barista Competition. Approximately 400 guests filled the industrial style Lot 613 to watch the spectacle.

IMG_0103The weather was hot and typical of Southern California. The temperature on stage was magnified by body heat and a skylight placed directly over head. There were 3 competitor stations set side by side with the audience in full view. There was even a balcony with a lounge area if you wanted to brave the heat.

I was the 8th competitor to showcase their coffee on the first day of competition. My coffee of choice was a Guatemalan Guaya’b Associacion Civil with chewy, chocolaty body, strawberry jamminess, and notes of mulled red wine cider and hibiscus. The judges’ stares were penetrating and the crowd was supportive. It made for an awkward balance. I performed the routine as practiced a thousand times over with little variance other than a slight hitch towards the end. It was exhilarating.


The training that it took to arrive there was what meant the most to me. Through dedicated research and study I was able to become a more knowledgeable professional on the topic of Guatemalan coffee. From growing practices and processing methods to roasting and extraction, this was a definitive learning experience in my career. I was able to present a wonderful coffee at the event and that is exactly what I had set out to do, and it was a privilege to share the stage with so many talented baristas.  At the end we were able to exchange our coffees with one another and that is what makes the community so wonderful. I look forward to the next time. 


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Build a Better Cappuccino – San Jose Mercury News

Jackie Burrell, Food & Wine Editor with Bay Area News Group, has just launched a new weekly column called “Build a Better…” where chefs, baristas, culinary experts share tips and a quick and simple recipe for building a better _______. Stuff everyone does, but perhaps not really well.

Jackie reached out to us for her column and while making a great cappuccino is not as easy as laid out below, we tried our best to keep it straight forward and simple.

Here’s the link:

Here is the column copy and pasted below:

Build a better … Cappuccino

By Jackie Burrell @ Bay Area News Group

There are few things that put a zing in your step as reliably and deliciously as a really good cappuccino, that happy collision of espresso and foamy milk. But, Luigi Di Ruocco says, there are a few tricks to making a really good one. Di Ruocco is the vice president of Oakland’s Mr. Espresso, the coffee business his Italian-born father, Carlo, launched in the family garage in 1978, in an era when Folgers and Yuban ruled the demitasse. At first, neighbors thought the Di Ruoccos were setting their house on fire, but that fragrant aroma was the scent of coffee beans roasting. Soon the family was delivering espresso machines to restaurants such as Caffe Mediterraneum — the East Bay’s fi


rst espresso bar — and supplying chefs such as Alice Waters, Paul Bertolli and Bradley Ogden.

The secret to a great cappuccino?

  • Texture: “Our classic cappuccino is a 5- to 6-ounce drink, which contains a shot of espresso — .75 to 1 ounce — mixed with equal parts steamed milk and finely textured foam,” Luigi says. “This type of foam is achieved by simultaneously adding air until the milk expands by 75 percent, which should happen before the milk reaches 100 degrees, and creating a whirlpool to break down the larger bubbles into smaller ones. The resulting mixture should be thick, creamy and wet with no visible bubbles.”
  • Temperature: What you’re looking for is milk that is “hot enough so that the sugars in the milk are caramelized but not so hot that they are burned. At 135 degrees, give or take, you will achieve the best tasting milk, which not only complements the flavor of your espresso but also allows you to consume the drink within a few short sips, if you please — i.e., standing at the bar as they do in Italy.”
  • Pour: Don’t use a spoon. The milk should be poured directly into the coffee. “Before pouring, swirl your pitcher containing the milk/foam to prevent separation,” Luigi says. “Once you’ve achieved a consistent texture, start pouring slowly but with enough speed so that the foam passes below the top layer of the espresso. Continue increasing the flow rate in order to prevent separation and lower the spout of your pitcher close to the surface of your drink — without touching — until it’s full.”



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Ethiopia Kochere Aricha named one of Top 30 Coffees of 2013!


This year the is publishing their “Top 30 Coffees of 2013″ which ranks the most exciting coffees that they’ve reviewed during the course of 2013.  The Top 30 were selected based on quality, value, and uniqueness.

We were thrilled to find out that our recently reviewed Ethiopia Kochere Aricha (94 pts in November review) also made the Top 30, coming in at #24!  This is quite the accomplishment considering the sheer number of reviews published by the (over 400 per year), and the fact that the “bar” of quality for coffees to be submitted throughout the year is already quite high.

We have less than a month’s worth of inventory remaining for this outstanding coffee – so get your orders in soon!

Read the full review here.


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Our 35th Anniversary Party!



Of the rewards reaped in our 35 years of business, the relationships we’ve built within our community are by far the most cherished. As a family we were delighted to share in these accomplishments with some of our closest friends and clients at our recent 35th Anniversary party at Mr. Espresso. For this momentous occasion we spruced up the roastery, brought in a band, and opened the doors to our newly completed espresso machine gallery which features Carlo’s impressive collection of antique espresso machines.

With delicious savory bites from Jon Smulewitz of Dopo Restaurant, ample red wine from Carlo’s vineyard, Ardente Winery, and sweet treats from Michele Suas of the SF Baking Institute — our guests ate, drank, mixed and mingled to music by an authentic Italian accordion player as well as a jazz duo. A silent auction also went down, with proceeds benefitting Fair Trade USA and Grounds for Health.

It was an amazing night full of friends, family, and good times. For those of you were able to join us, thank you. For those who couldn’t make it, we look forward to celebrating with you soon! Special thanks to Jonathan Fong for capturing our special evening. You can see the rest of the photos on our Company Facebook page here.


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Ethiopia Kochere Aricha Scores 94 Points on

CR_2013_94This month the Coffee conducted a tasting of Natural Processed coffees from Ethiopia and Yemen: “Dried-in-the-Fruit Refinement: Ethiopia and Yemen Naturals – November 2013

As you may already know, we currently offer a “natural process” Ethiopian (Kochere Aricha Yirgacheffe) and we submitted the coffee for the review. We’re pleased to report that the coffee did very well, and received an outstanding score of 94 points —the 2nd highest score in the review!

At a price of $12.10 per 12 oz bag, this coffee offers an incredible value when compared to our competion in the review – which contained coffees priced as high as $65 and $28 for the same amount of coffee.

Congratulations to John Di Ruocco and our Production Team on buying, profiling, and roasting the coffee that received this recognition.  We’ve always felt our product is one of the best, but it makes it that much better when our efforts are validated by industry experts.

See the full review here.

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