Broadcast Coffee – Capitol Hill

Broadcast Coffee (Capitol Hill) – 1623 Bellevue Ave. Seattle, WA

  • Espresso:   ⨷ ⨷ ⨷   ~
  • Cycle accommodations:  Lean space on windows, observable from inside ~
  • Cafe setting: Simple, Clean  ~
  • Interior seating: Variety of options, makes good use the space ~
  • Exterior seating: Modest, Minimally covered~
  • Pastry selection: Modest ~

2013IMG_2491Broadcast CHBroadcast Coffee’s Capitol Hill location tucked neatly into the store front of a fairly newly developed building.   Secure bike parking is limited, and you will want to make sure to keep your cycle in plain view against the window, or it may quickly vanish if unsecured.  Perhaps when the construction project underway, directly south of Broadcast, is complete a bike rack will be installed.  If not, Broadcast, we recommend that you call (206) 684-7583 and visit http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/bikeracks.htm to understand the options and request SDOT to provide accommodations for securing cycles near to you and preferably observable from within the cafe.

2013IMG_2490Broadcast CHThis part of the city seems to be rapidly transforming with new development and Broadcast Coffee took the opportunity to recently settle into their second location.  The original location is at 1918 Yesler Way.  We will plan a stop there to compare in the future to gage consistency of brand.  There are a few chairs outside available to sit and sip a coffee and watch the activity of the neighborhood. We state no guarantees that the narrow canopy will keep you dry on a rainy day.

2013IMG_2479Broadcast CH2013IMG_2488Broadcast CH2013IMG_2489Broadcast CHInside is simple and clean, with sealed natural finish concrete floors and exposed  structural concrete columns and slab ceiling.  Pendant lights draw focus to the coffee bar, which is finished with a warm natural wood transaction top and basket weave tile facing on the front.  The natural wood highlights are consistent throughout the coffee house, giving it warmth and a touch of character.  There is a wall display of coffee and a few coffee sundries available for purchase.  A vintage filmstrip projector caught our eye and brought back memories of  an A.V. cart being rolled into a darkened classroom room for a filmstrip show with accompanying beep tone to signal when to advance to the next frame.  In our humble opinion, a few more bits of A.V. and broadcast paraphernalia will fill out the decor of this new location just right.

2013IMG_2485Broadcast CHThe young man tending the espresso bar greeted us warmly with a smile and provided a good introduction to the coffee roasts they were serving.  Dueling grinders were in operation. Grinder one was loaded with Stumptown Hairbender, and grinder two was loaded with a single origin ethiopian heirloom from Sightglass coffee bar and roastery of San Francisco.  We discussed a bit about the qualities of each and how a single origin can be difficult to pull a good quality espresso with.  We have had our fair share of Hairbender and with some thoughtful nudging from the barista we decided upon the Sightglass.

2013IMG_2480Broadcast CHWith a satisfied order taken, the barista served a soda water immediately and our expectation of a good espresso was set into place by the quality of the ritual that was being delivered.   The barista was noticeably focused and took thoughtful deliberation in his preparations.   He was careful to keep a tidy cup and delivered the espresso with deft movements placing it gently in front of us.  The crema was wonderfully consistent and full.  The aroma was clean and smooth.  The texture of the coffee was good and provided an excellent flavor progression with a lingering sweetness to finish.

Broadcast we give you a solid four out of five wheels.  The coffee bar is pleasant, clean and simple.  The service was excellent and the espresso preparations done properly with attention to tradition.   The pastry selection was limited like the bike parking.  One might fuss that the espresso crema could have had a more reddish tint and a smidgen more velvety texture across the palette, however,  all the other qualities ruled the day.  Bravo, we know that we can come to Broadcast for an espresso performance well done.

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*Paradoxical footnote: All the cafes we spend time to write about we recommend as destinations.  We provide the honest feedback and rating of the espresso experience because we are interested to help cultivate the best success for future visits.  Even though we may give the espresso experience a one wheel rating we can still love and recommend a visit to the cafe because of the overall character of place, amongst other qualities.

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Tougo Coffee Co.

Tougo Coffee Co. – 1410 18th Ave. Seattle, WA

  • Espresso:  ⨷ ⨷ ⨷ ⨷ ⨷  ~
  • Cycle accommodations:  U-rack on the sidewalk, lean space on windows, observable from inside ~
  • Cafe setting: Neighborly ambience  ~
  • Interior seating: Variety of options, makes good use the space ~
  • Exterior seating: Modest, no cover ~
  • Pastry selection: Very good ~

2013IMG_2496TougoIt was a chilly 28º F early in the morning.  Dense fog touched the bones.  The first miles were all down hill and the cold spared no mercy on the gloved fingers. Each tap of the keyboard as we wrote this review provided a prompting ache in the fingertips, as a reminder of the cruelty of the cold.  Fortunately, after the first downhill miles, the ride was predominantly uphill to reach our destination, Tougo Coffee Co.  We pressed a good pace up the hills to regain circulation in the extremities.

Located on the northern edge of the Central District and neatly placed in a single story storefront on 18th Ave, between E. Pike and E. Union Streets, Tougo fit appropriately into the edge of the adjacent residential blocks.   A wooden set of Adirondack rocking chairs with accompanying picnic table provided exterior seating and established a neighborly introduction. Bike parking was available outside and was readily observable from the interior.  There is plenty of wall space on the storefront to lean a number of bikes while your group makes a stop.

2013IMG_2526Tougo2013IMG_2522TougoIt was apparent from our first impression that Tougo is an authentic neighborhood fixture.  We enjoyed how the barista greeted familiar and unfamiliar faces; making all feel welcome.  Casual conversation flavored the ambience inside.  The strongly directional wooden slat ceiling was the interior feature of the space.  We speculate that it was hand fabricated in place, giving it a truly unique character.  Two long banquettes channel the length of the space to provide ample seating.  An arm chair occupies the northern window niche and a bar height cafe table for two occupies the southern niche.  The floor is a sealed patina stained concrete finish.

Tom author of The Seattle Bike Blog

Tom Fucoloro, author of The Seattle Bike Blog

We paid two visits to Tougo.  At the first, we had the pleasure of meeting via bicycle, Tom Fucoloro, the author of the very informative Seattle Bike Blog.  He is also the editor and significant contributing journalist to the Central District News.  Visit both the Seattle Bike Blog and the Central District news to learn more about Tom and the news he is reporting on. Tom recently discovered TheCycleCafe, and an introductory meeting over espresso was our proposal. Tougo was Tom’s suggestion and provided a new cafe to experience for TheCycleCafe.
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The barista was welcoming and friendly, and he gave a full descriptive introduction to the flavor expectations of the two roasts being offered: Velton’s Bonsai Blend, the regular, and Handsome’s Dandy single origin was the rotating roast.  We ordered the Dandy and suggested that we would like to try the Bonsai Blend afterwards to compare.  The barista was very enthusiastic about the prospect and suggested that we take a seat and he would bring the espresso to us.  With the adept skill of an Oktoberfest fräulein, our barista came 2013IMG_2509Tougocheerfully bearing two fists full of four tiny espresso cups to our table and identified which was which.  It was spectacular service that made for a great experience.  The downside was that the half-life of the first espresso pulled had expired by the time they arrived.  We should have told him that we wanted them spaced apart.  We give top marks for the fun experience but reserved reviewing the espresso until our second visit.

2013IMG_2506Tougo2013IMG_2522TougoDuring our second visit the barista gave an equally informative description of the flavor expectations of each roast; the Bonsai chocolaty, and the Dandy bright and fruity.  We appreciated how she took care to calibrate the machine and test the roast before pulling our espresso.  She impressively managed multiple customers and maintained engaging banter while making multiple preparations.  We started with the Bonsai Blend.  The aroma was rich and was indeed chocolaty.  The crema was consistent and full with moderate stamina. The coloration was caramel brown.  The taste was good and developed pleasantly and finished with a sweetness.  After the first espresso, a raspberry filled biscuit and a Sfogliatelle filled with goat cheese, red pepper and olives called to us from the variety of pastries occupying the case.  We started with the biscuit while the Sfogliatelle was 2013IMG_2525Tougo 2013IMG_2518Tougowarmed and the second espresso was being prepared.  The Dandy roast was as described, bright and fruity both in aroma and flavor.  The crema was a light caramel color and smoothly consistent across the surface.  We preferred the flavor of Velton’s Bonsai Blend.

Tougo Coffee we give you a solid four out of five wheel rating.  You are definitely a worthy cycling espresso stop and we will remember you when we are in the Central District.  Your service and customer care are excellent.  The neighborhood character and ambience was delightful.  We appreciated the introduction and information regarding the roasts being offered.  The Dandy espresso was possibly slightly under extracted, but the flavor and aroma still came through satisfactorily.  Produce more stamina and rich velvety texture in the crema and the espresso will be even better.  Consider, as part of espresso tradition, offering a small compliment of soda water to clear the palette for the discerning espresso drinker.

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Tougo Coffee Co., continue being a great neighborhood cafe experience and destination in the Central District.  Cyclists descend upon them!  We do not think they will mind if you clear out the pastry case and other assorted sandwich offerings.

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*Paradoxical footnote: All the cafes we spend time to write about we recommend as destinations.  We provide the honest feedback and rating of the espresso experience because we are interested to help cultivate the best success for future visits.  Even though we may give the espresso experience a one wheel rating we can still love and recommend a visit to the cafe because of the overall character of place, amongst other qualities.

Statistics recorded with Counterize – Version 3.1.3

Arabica Lounge

Arabica Lounge – 1550 E. Olive Way, Seattle, WA

  • Espresso:  ⨷ ⨷ ⨷ ⨷   ~
  • Cycle accommodations:  Limited, U-rack on the sidewalk ~
  • Cafe setting: Bright, Artistic ~
  • Interior seating: Good selection and variety of options ~
  • Exterior seating: Limited, classroom chairs no cover ~
  • Pastry selection: Excellent ~

2013IMG_2407ArabicaEnter Arabica Lounge, if you are able to look beyond the case of delectable pastries, you will see a space that is welcoming and that challenges you to bring your creative  thoughts to bear.  The vanguard creation of JoJo Corväià, Arabica Lounge describes its purpose solely for, “… creating a sense of community…place for the stimulation of all senses…place for peace and enjoyment”  Depending on the time of day and the event, they seem to be living up to the mission.  We certainly found the environment to be restorative.

2013IMG_2416ArabicaSituated on the western gateway to Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, Arabica Lounge captures the busy NE street corner of East Olive Way and Denny.  The classy logo and gold leaf lettering on the plate glass storefront windows subtly sparks a mystical intrigue to draw ones attention to enter.

2013IMG_2409ArabicaThe tall ceilings, bright daylight, and striking art on the far wall, develop a welcoming, eclectic, and mentally stimulating first impression.  Shortly thereafter, a bountiful and delectable pastry display will buckle your knees.  Best yet, Arabica Lounge is a micro bakery that creates and produces all of their own baked goods, with the exception of the breads.  They are primarily focused on breakfast and brunch foods; featuring pastries, crepes, egg 2013IMG_2415Arabicacreations, and quite a bit more.  They also offer a supper club service, but you need to be quick to secure a post at the table.  Explore their menu and services on their website to find out all of the details.  A long cycling ride is well rewarded with the food and coffee at Arabica Lounge.  Because of the minimal exterior accommodations, it may be best to reserve a cycling stop here for a small group rather than a full peloton.  However, there is a good variety of seating options to choose from.  We tried the Tahini biscuits, which were out of this 2013IMG_2420Arabicaworld delicious and powered us through to our end destination.

Espresso beverages are served to compliment the food offerings and are not the primary business of Arabica Lounge.  We have been here a number of times and wanted to reserve a write up until we had confirmed a level of consistency.  We have been served by 3 different baristas and found that all of the espresso have been good.  The best quality was crafted by a young lady barista.  Sorry gents, she just has you beat; particularly on the ability to develop a quality crema from the compact La Marzocco.  Arabica uses Stumptown Hairbender roast.

2013IMG_2467ArabicaArabica Lounge, we give you a four out of five wheel rating on our espresso experience.  We were pleasantly engaged by the barista and the espresso was pulled after we had made payment.  It was crafted with care and presented with a saucer and spoon. The crema was consistent and held good stamina.  The aroma greeted us warmly and the flavor had a quality progression and finish.  The ambience and experience is unique and enjoyable.   We did not give a full five wheel rating because we think the espresso texture, while good, did not quite hit a full velvety excellence and the crema coloration was a touch light.  We also would encourage that a small complimentary serving of soda water be provided along with the espresso.

Arabica Lounge, keep creating the unique and wonderful experiences.  You are a gem in Seattle.

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*Paradoxical footnote: All the cafes we spend time to write about we recommend as destinations.  We provide the honest feedback and rating of the espresso experience because we are interested to help cultivate the best success for future visits.  Even though we may give the espresso experience a one wheel rating we can still love and recommend a visit to the cafe because of the overall character of place, amongst other qualities.

Statistics recorded with Counterize – Version 3.1.3

Anchored Ship Coffee Bar

Anchored Ship Coffee Bar – 5306 Ballard Ave NW, Seattle, WA

  • Espresso:  ⨷ ⨷ ⨷ ⨷   ~
  • Cycle accommodations:  None directly outside ~
  • Cafe setting:  Cozy ships theme ~
  • Interior seating: Good variety of choices, intimate setting ~
  • Exterior seating: Two cafe tables, good street view ~
  • Pastry selection: Excellent variety and quality ~

2013IMG_2423Anchored ShipAhoy mates!  Scrub the barnacles off your shoes and come aboard.  Anchored in Old Town Ballard, directly on the south end of the Sunday Farmer’s Market, Anchored Ship Coffee Bar has an ideal location for taking in the activity of the street.  This spot has been a coffee bar for over 20 years with Anchored Ship being the third generation enterprise.  We think the ships theme is fitting for the Old Town Ballard setting.

2013IMG_2437Anchored ShipThe storefront is discrete.  If you find yourself in front of the Ballard Inn, you are half a block too far south.  Outside are a two small cafe tables and a complimentary doggie water bowl for Rover to quench his thirst.  The anchor logo on the glass is framed by the bright red painted wood stiles and rails of the door.

 

2013IMG_2436Anchored ShipWarm coffee aromas greeted us as we entered.  Inside is cozy but did not feel cramped.  Naturally finished fir warms the starboard side, and painted wood seals the port side of the deck.  The galley is well contained and has a full variety of quality pastries and food items to select from.  Theo’s chocolate and chocolate covered espresso beens are there to tempt you as well.  The TruBru pour over station on the counter was simple with a modern aesthetic.  Multiple seating options are available including window bars, cafe 2013IMG_2448Anchored Shiptables, and a long narrow mess-deck table to host a larger group.  A narrow flight of stairs takes you up to the quarterdeck for a quiet stowaway spot to read a book, have a get acquainted coffee, and possibly “set a course for adventure and your mind on a new romance”.  We were starting a new book, “The Immortal Class”, a bicycling romance of sorts.

The barista was friendly, engaging, and pleasantly took our 2013IMG_2446Anchored Shiporder.  Herkimer Coffee is served at Anchored Ship.  Upon taking the espresso order, she immediately poured out a glass of soda water for us, much to our satisfaction.  She took concentrated care in the packing and preparation of the grinds, and then expertly pulled the espresso.  It was presented with a saucer, spoon, and a smile to cap off the presentation.  The aroma was rich, and the crema was consistent and full.  The flavor of the coffee had a good progression from a first bite of acidity to a lingering sweetness.

2013IMG_2442Anchored ShipAnchored Ship Coffee Bar, we give you a rating of four out of five wheels for our espresso experience.  We highly recommend you as a destination cycling cafe.  The espresso experience was spot on.  Our only comment  is that the crema lacked top quality stamina, and the level of viscosity could be slightly greater to develop a velvety and delightful espresso. We visited twice and had consistent service and quality from two different baristas, so compliments to your team and the training you invested in them!

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 *Paradoxical footnote: All the cafes we spend time to write about we recommend as destinations.  We provide the honest feedback and rating of the espresso experience because we are interested to help cultivate the best success for future visits.  Even though we may give the espresso experience a one wheel rating we can still love and recommend a visit to the cafe because of the overall character of place, amongst other qualities.

Statistics recorded with Counterize – Version 3.1.3