Downtown espresso

Illustration By Mark Stivers

The best espresso I’ve had was at a tiny, all but deserted train station in the middle of nowhere in Italy. Topped with crema, deeply flavored and without a trace of bitterness, it was perfect. I may never find its equal (perhaps partly because I’m rarely so in need of caffeination as after several hours on the baffling Italian train system), but I always appreciate a great shot in a tiny cup. It’s even better if it comes in an unexpected place, like, say, a ragtag block of downtown Sacramento, where you’ll find the sleek Temple Fine Coffee and Tea in the former location of Levinson’s Books. Temple pulls a mighty fine shot, no sugar needed. A quietly bookish vibe clings to the long, soaring, modern space, lovely for lingering in devotions to all things caffeinated. It’s not quite Italy, but at least I don’t have to lug my bagagli on and off countless trains to get to it. 1014 10th Street, (916) 443-4960.