Fuel Coffee – Montlake

Fuel Coffee – Montlake – 2300 24th Ave E.  Seattle, WA

  • Espresso – ⨷ ⨷ ⨷ ⨷
  • Cycle accommodations: Rack takes multiple cycles, can be directly observed
  • Cafe setting: Bright, warm, cool auto theme, pleasant, authentic Seattle character
  • Interior seating: Ample quantity, variety of choice, spacious
  • Exterior seating: Chairs that wrap frontage, limited cover
  • Pastry selection: Good – feature High 5 Pie

Another stellar day for a ride in Seattle to enjoy crisp air, blue skies, blue water, and mountain silhouettes. We took a spin that included the loop around Mercer Island. This is a segment that provides a stretch of steady unchecked pacing with a few rollers and some snappy s-turns. The community center, when on a counter clockwise route, provides for a clean rest stop early in the mornings, except for Sunday, when they open at eleven.

On the return route, we sprinted west across Lake Washington on the I-90 bridge, then north on Lake Washington Boulevard, and on through to the end of the Arboretum, where we took a sharp left and made our way to Fuel Coffee to refill our tank with a taste of espresso. We enjoyed Fuel Coffee and their setup up, and as one may expect, it has an automobile theme to it.  As much as we

1956 Mercury Hubcap

are cycling advocates, we also enjoy seeing automobile memorabilia.  Fuel Coffee has this motif going for it; from the signature fuel pump lantern logo to a wall display of auto paraphernalia.  What we believed to be a vintage 1956 Mercury hubcap particularly peaked our interest; the profile of Mercury is just cool.

There is an old and awkward bike rack outside that can prove to be a challenge to use if one is overly fussy about parking your ride. We used it and could keep an eye on

Window bar & bike rack

the bike from our seat at the window bar. Metal arm chairs wrap the cafe corner and provide a good setting to watch the Montlake neighborhood scene along the moderately busy 24th Ave East.  Montlake Bicycle Shop is located caddy-corner and is convenient if one needs a mechanical assist or if your beleaguered old ride begs for an upgrade. A shallow canvas canopy on the west side shades the cafe windows from the sun, but certainly holds no hope to keep one dry on a wet day.  Dogs are accommodated for and can slurp a drink from a community bowl placed just outside the entry. The interior provides ample seating and has a bright southwest corner for the dark gloomy days when one wants to enjoy a good cup of coffee inside. The pastry selection is enticing and features the delights of High 5 Pie.

La Marzocco machine

A sexy looking La Marzocco espresso machine with sleek lines and racing stripes establishes a distinct presence at the espresso bar. Too bad there was a paper flyer taped unflatteringly to it, otherwise, we would have called it molto sexy!  The crew was pleasant and engaging; the cashier took our order and queued the cup, saucer, and spoon for the barista.  We asked if they serve a soda water with the espresso; the barista without hesitation cracked a can and poured us a cup.  He took noticeable care and satisfaction in the preparation of the espresso.  It was a ristretto style

Interior shot with La Marzocco racing stripes & defamation by flyer

shot with a consistent crema that was highlighted with reddish streaks.  The aroma was good and the flavor full.  The sweetness of the finish did not develop to its full potential.  We decided to have a second to judge consistency of the pulls.  The second matched the first very closely.  Fuel Coffee uses Caffe Vita roast.  The barista had a likable enthusiasm for his craft, and expressed that he would enjoy the opportunity to develop Fuel’s own roast, at some time in the future, when the time is right for the owners to make that level of investment.

Fuel we enjoyed your cafe and recommend it as a stop when in Montlake.  We rate our espresso experience four out of five wheels.  We liked the cafe ambiance, the passion and engagement of the staff, the willingness to serve a soda water, and the taste of the espresso. Offering a soda water unprompted will add a nice touch of espresso tradition and, if the unflattering aesthetic of cracking a can is not an appealing, consider investing in a small portable do-it-yourself soda water decanter.  The finish of the espresso has room to develop a higher degree of sweetness.  We look forward to returning and visiting your Capitol Hill and Wallingford locations in the future.

Keep on rolling…………………………………TheCycleCafe!
Fuel exterior 1

Fuel exterior

Memorabilia display

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