Cappuccino Review #6 – Espresso Royal

Espresso Royal

The Espresso Royal near the Capitol; the outdoor seating in the picture isn't theirs.
The Espresso Royal near the capitol; the outdoor seating in the picture isn't theirs.
208 State St.
Madison, WI


For an intro about how and why I am trying the cappuccinos of Madison, go here.

Espresso Royal operates two coffee shops on state street; one of them is right east of campus and the other (the one I visited) is closer to the capitol.  Taryn is quite fond of their chai lattes (they are a little weak for me) so I do have some experience with the shop near campus; I had never been to the one near the capitol, so it seemed like I should give it a try.  Its interior is pretty similar to its near campus sibling; there were cushy chairs and sofas along with the more typical tables and chairs.  It does have a pleasent airy feel to it; though it probably helped that it is spring break for the univeristy, so there was no fight for a good seat.

I asked for a ‘dry’ version of the smallest sized cappuccino they had (12 oz) and was

This glass produced a nice cross-section of a cappuccino, but was otherwise worthless.
This glass produced a nice cross-section of a cappuccino, but was otherwise worthless.

given my cappuccino served in a tall thin glass.  Although it certainly looked pretty cool in that glass, there is a very good reason why cappuccinos are served in wide shallow cups.  When I drunk out of this tall glass, the foam just sort of sat on top and ‘stacked’.  When I was out of liquid there was still an inch of foam that I couldn’t get to.  I’m not above using a spoon in such situations, but it was sort of annoying.  Anyway, the drink was otherwise substandard.  Though the foam was very smooth and pretty much perfect, the espresso itself was simply bitter.  I supose the milk-espresso proportions were right (the drink was strong enough) but the espresso itself just wasn’t that good.  The drink didn’t leave me with much to say about it, so I’ll just put up the numbers:

Presentation: 2.5

Smoothness: 2

Strength: 4

Complexity: 2

Foam: 4

Correctness: 3

Mean: 2.83/5

SD: 1.03

Espresso Royal was a disappointment as far as its cappuccinos were concerned, but Taryn did like her chai; and that fudge bar in the picture was really good too.  So, maybe go there for their chai and snacks…but stay away from the cappuccino.  This is the second strick for state street (the first being the milky cappuccino I was served at Fair Trade); hopefully things improve a little bit as I review Steep & Brew and Michelangelo’s.

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