In January, I wrote a story about the efflorescence of Silicon Valley’s coffee culture. Accompanying the story was a guide to more than 50 independently owned coffee bars, cafes and coffee houses. There’s a danger in publishing such a list because I was bound to (unintentionally) leave someone out. And reader sure let me know about one of my omissions: Big E Cafe. Here’s a sampling of the email I got:

“I wanted to tell you that you forgot the best coffee place in San Jose, Big E Cafe. They serve the best blends of coffee and also the best breakfast and lunch empanadas. You should really check them out.”

“I just wanted to cast a big vote for the Big E Cafe on Branham Lane in San Jose. It is a wonderful coffee shop with terrific coffee, tasty food and great service. The owner, Ernie, is warm and welcoming each time I visit. I have gotten his fresh, homemade empanadas for my staff meetings. They are always a big hit. I am a regular there and look forward to saying hi to the other regulars each morning.”

“Ernie makes the best lattes, espresso and empanadas in San Jose. There’s free wi-fi and comfy chairs, and the staff are always smiling and welcoming. It’s very handy for the 85 on-ramp from Camden, too.”

Given that I didn’t hear about any other places I missed, I suspected that the cafe may have been encouraging customers to give me a piece of their mind. It sounded like a letter-writing campaign. But so what if it was? People weren’t going to write unless they really liked the place.

I went to see for myself. The affable owner, Ernie May, a native of Peru, insists he didn’t put his customers up to all the emails. He didn’t have to. The place is quite good, just the kind of friendly, locally owned cafe you’d want to have in your neighborhood.

May, who runs the place with his wife, Lilia Arreola, serves Pacifico Primo coffee, a San Josebased coffee roaster. The cappuccino is densely flavored and rich with a well-rendered head of steamed milk. If you want something more caffeinated than that, try starting your day with the “Keith Richards,” four shots of espresso, chocolate and steamed milk. My guess is that that much caffeine would topple even Mr. Richards.

What really sets the Big E apart are the fresh-baked empanadas: pastries stuffed with good things like beef, vegetables and cheese. The Big E makes more than a dozen different varieties of empanadas (chicken cilantro, spicy Thai, spinach and ricotta, and bacon and egg) each morning. It’s a perfect, hand-held meal. I can vouch for the chicken empanada. Good stuff.

May says his empanadas have helped him survive the economic downturn. The savory pastries now make up as much as 45 percent of his sales and he gets customers from all over Silicon Valley. “People will drive a little bit further for something less common,” he says.

Having a friendly owner on the premises to make customers happy helps, too. For info see