Issaquah Coffee Company – 317 NW Gilman Blvd., Issaquah, WA
- Espresso: ⨷ ⨷ ⨷ ~
- Cycle accommodations: Plenty of space, limited cycling specific ~
- Cafe setting: Spacious good daylight ~
- Interior seating: Plenty, with options ~
- Exterior seating: Exterior decks, some under cover ~
- Pastry selection: Good & Plentiful ~
May’s bike month and Cycling season had kicked into full gear and beautiful weather launched it forward with splendor. The goal of this ride was to complete a century and since timing did not work out for riding companions, it had to be done solo. Reaching 100 miles would include a route around the north end of Lake Washington, a stretch east, along Lake Sammamish, a climb over Issaquah, a switch back to the east along SE May Valley Road, south to the Cedar River Trail, then west into Renton, a transition north along Lake Washington Boulevard and finally ending with a few climbs in Discovery Park to eek out the last few miles to mark the century.
The route included three trails, the Burke-Gilman, the Sammamish River, and the Cedar River trail. The Sammamish River Trail, the best of the three in our opinion, provides beautiful countryside scenery along the water’s edge. Taking it early in the morning is recommended to offer the best continuous riding and fewest pedestrians. The trail terminates in Redmond Washington. East Lake Sammamish Parkway, a 10 mile stretch of quality roadway with a good shoulder, provided satisfying uninterrupted hammering of pedal strokes that guided us to the destination espresso stop, Issaquah Coffee Company. Previously we were under the impression that Issaquah was devoid of a quality indie coffee house. Thanks to a tip from one of our readers, Issaquah was saved from this stigma and now has the honor of having a recognized Cycling Espresso Stop, Issaquah Coffee Company.
Tucked on the south side of Gilman Village, Issaquah Coffee Company is most easily accessed off NW Juniper Street. From the north, East Lake Sammamish Parkway changes to Front Street North; go west on NW Holly street and continue west to the end where you must turn right on 3rd Ave NW which will tee into NW Juniper Street. Turn left then take the first right into the parking lot where you will see the gabled roof of Issaquah Coffee Company. Enter from the west side where there is a front porch hosting a few adirondack chairs under cover. There is a large deck to the north as well as another one to the east. There is a small bike rack next to the garbage and recycling containers, hardly a fitting spot to rest your fine ride. While there is limited cycling specific parking, plenty of space is availabe on the deck.
Inside there is a large amount of seating with multiple options including, soft couches and chairs, as well as cafe tables. It is a pleasant simple interior with ample daylight to warm the hardwood floors. The large flat screen TV is a bit of an anomaly to the other wise peaceful cafe setting, fortunately the volume was not turned on.
If you have worked up an appetite there is plenty of food and a good selection of sweet and savory items. Sandwiches in addition to pastries are available for purchase. The veggie quiche was called to our plate. It was warm and delicious.
Our espresso experience was good. Stumptown Hairbender is served at the cafe. We were warmly greeted at the counter and placed our espresso and food order. A soda water compliment was served upon request. As is preferred, our payment was taken prior to the espresso being made. Our food was prepared and then the espresso was delivered making the timing and delivery just right. The crema was thick and rich and had the typical characteristics we see with Hairbender. The aroma was full and offered an excellent prelude to a satisfying progression of delightful coffee flavor. It was an excellent first espresso that begged a second one be ordered to help energize our legs to make the next 57 miles of the days effort. The second espresso was pulled by a different barista. A small cappuccino cup was used instead of a proper espresso demitasse, so the crema dissipated rapidly and the temperature of the shot was lost. The flavor was generally the same but the espresso experience faltered on try number two.
Issaquah Coffee Company, we definitely make you a recommended cycling stop. The staff is friendly, there are plenty of seating options, and enough food choices to serve the peloton. We give the espresso experience three out of five wheels rating, primarily taken a notch down due to the faltering on the second pull and primarily the delivery; easily remedied. We enjoyed the visit and will plan to stop again when in Issaquah.
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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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