Caffè Vita Coffee Roasting Co.

Caffè Vita Coffee Roasting Co., Seward Park, Seattle WA,  – Five out of five wheels rating

Caffè Vita Coffee Roasting Co. has been a  regular stop for The Cycle Café when we have been riding clockwise around the south end of Lake Washington and heading back into Seattle through the Seward Park neighborhood.  We have been consistently satisfied with the ambience, service, and espresso at the Seward Park location which is housed in a humble single story brick building.  We are always perked up when we see the amusing Pulcinella sign and logo of Caffè Vita.  The cafe has a neighborhood atmosphere and has seemingly always been populated with conversationalists gathering around a good cup of coffee and pastry.  The large glass windows pleasantly fill the cafe with sunlight.  Featured works of art add to the decor of simple wood tables and chairs.  Outdoors, one can sit at small metal cafe tables neatly tucked under a canvas canopy.  There is also a bench next to a bike rack that one can use.

We give Caffè Vita, Seward Park, a five out of five wheels rating.  The first good mark is for delivering consistency of quality for each visit we have made.  Each time the barista took concentrated care to prepare the espresso making it feel just a touch more special. We were also offered a seltzer to start off the process.   The espresso was delivered precisely with a cup, saucer and spoon.  We do not recall ever being asked if our order was to go; a particular pet peeve of ours.  The baristas have been friendly and engaging even when busy.  The crema has been a consistent, lasting, rich layer of reddish brown delight. The aroma has been bountiful; lighting up the senses and preparing the palette for a sumptuous robust flavor with a wonderful finish of sweet coffee essence. Keep up the great work of delivering a consistent and complete espresso experience.  We will have to try your other locations to compare cafe to cafe.

Caffè Vita Coffee Roasting Co. has multiple locations including one in New York City.  They have a large selection of fresh “Farm Direct” beans that are artisan roasted  into blends for purchase.

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The Dutch Bike Co.

The Dutch Bike Co – Seattle, WA – Four out of Five Wheel Rating

Summer was showing in Seattle and it was a great day to register a ride for the “The People’s Grand Tour” 3.  We leaned on an old stand by ride of cycling around the Magnolia neighborhood then crossing over the ship canal via the Hiram Chittenden Locks to the Ballard neighborhood.  What appeared to be a Chinook salmon, based on the size, leaped from the water as we made the crossing.  Swimming against the stream of tourists we crossed the narrow bridges of the Locks.  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers constructed the Locks in 1917 and successfully connected Lake Washington, Lake Union, and Salmon Bay to Puget Sound.  There is a wonderful botanical garden that is part of the grounds.

The Dutch Bike Co. was our destination of choice to enjoy an espresso on the return route through Ballard.   Founded on the principle of bringing simple well designed bicycles to the American market, the Dutch Bike Co. is a refreshing blend of bicycle shop and cafe; offering bicycles, coffee, pastries, beer and wine.  They are housed in a renovated warehouse building located at the south end of the Ballard historic district at 4741 Ballard Ave. NW, Seattle Wa.   The interior of the restored building has an industrial aesthetic, celebrating a fusion of the exposed steel seismic and structural modernization, with the bricks and timbers of the the original warehouse.  It is worth a trip downstairs to the restroom to see more of the modern industrial aesthetic of the building restoration.  The setting is well matched to the vision of the Dutch Bike Co.

One can sit at a cafe bar to enjoy the benefits of the open large pivoting storefront window that was welcoming the unparalleled Seattle summer weather deep into the shop.  We were pleasantly greeted by the barista as we entered.  She was engaging and offered conversation while preparing the espresso with precision and care.  They use Light House Roasters espresso blend.  The espresso was served lonely and accompanied only by a saucer.  The aroma was rich with a touch of sweetness.  The crema was consistent, with stamina, and a deep reddish brown color.  The shot was well extracted and a good reduction to the essence of the coffee flavor.  It flowed well across the tongue and followed with a sweetness and low level acidity.   Dutch Bike Co. we rate you four wheels out of five.  We knocked you down for the lack of accompaniments, such as a seltzer or biscuit, as well as the touch of espresso slop on the cup handle.  We elevated you to four wheels because of the quality of the espresso, the delightful service and the setting of bicycles.

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The Vashon Island Coffee Roasterie

The Vashon Island Coffee Roasterie – Vashon Island, WA – 3 out of 5 wheel rating

July 15, 2012

The Cycle Cafe enjoyed a ride around Vashon and Maury Islands.  The two separate islands are joined by an isthmus constructed by the Army Corps of Engineers.  One reaches Vashon/Maury from either Seattle or Tacoma by a short ferry boat ride.  The islands retain a rural character with stunning views of water, mountains and pastures at every turn.  Exploring the islands by means of bicycle provides a quality of experience unrivaled.  To tour the perimeter of both islands will require over 50 miles of riding filled with rolling hills and some good steady climbs.

At the end the islands tour we stopped at The Vashon Island Coffee Roasterie for an espresso.  It is situated in the center of Vashon Island in a building over 100 years old.  The decor of the shop has an authentic rural character with natural wood fixtures and a host of coffee antiques populating the coffee museum within.  The front porch offers exterior seating and a venue for observing the life of Vashon Island. The roasterie uses only high mountain shade grown coffees that are fair trade sourced.  Inside, the store offers bulk herbs, spices and teas for purchase.  There are pastries, sandwiches and more available.

It was busy and the line for espresso was long. The cashier and barista worked furiously to keep up with the pace of business.  We were excited to see that the espresso bar was utilizing a traditional lever pulled espresso machine.  When paired with a skilled barista we have  experienced some of the most satisfying and flavorful espresso from this type of machine.  Swarmed by the furious pace of business the cashier and barista maintained pleasant and engaging interaction with the customers.  The barista was focused and took great care when preparing and pulling our espresso.  The cup was warmed appropriately and made ready for the shot being extracted.  We could see the velvety rich coffee flow from the machine into the cup and were filled with anticipation of a delectable brew.

Upon delivering the lonely espresso cup, the barista apologized that she did not give it the full compliment of attention because they were so busy.   Smiling and nodding we accepted the sincere gesture and appreciated the comment since our reviews are conducted anonymously.  As we hoped, the bountiful aroma warmly greeted us.  The velvety crema was a rich reddish brown and plentiful with stamina.  The first sip was a delight of robust coffee flavor finishing with a kiss of sweetness.

Vashon Island Coffee Roasterie, your cafe was a treat. The character of place and rural setting definitely makes you a destination stop when one is visiting Vashon Island.   The engagement of your staff was exemplary and we appreciated how they unhessitatingly agreed to refresh our water bottles.  The quality of your espresso was top notch, however, we are only giving you 3 out of 5 wheels due to the lack of accoutrements to fulfill a proper espresso experience.    A saucer and a spoon, would have made good company with the cup.  A splash of seltzer to clear the palette of a weary cyclist would have been profoundly appreciated.  Visit our Rating Guide page to read more about what we look for.   We look forward to our next visit.

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VICR – Espresso

VICR – Exterior

VICR – Espresso machine & barista

VICR – interior

VICR – interior 2