Celesto Espresso Mobile Truck

Celesto Espresso Mobile Truck – Seattle, WA

  • Espresso:   ⨷ ⨷ ⨷  ~
  • Cycle accommodations: On the go ~
  • Cafe setting:  A fantastic truck ~
  • Interior seating: Fabulous, but only on invitation ~
  • Exterior seating: That is all there is ~
  • Pastry selection: A fine modest selection ~

February 22, 2014 cold, wet, and gray are the descriptors for the day. The weather forecast promised that an 8:00 AM departure time would provide a window of opportunity for a dry ride.  Upon review of the mendacious weather app, we saw that the bright red warning icon was flashing, saying snow was a possibility in the higher elevations.  Turning a blind eye to that, a final check of the polished red brake levers of the Wilier was made.  As the cranks turned, a drizzle filled the air closing the promise of the dry window.  We were committed now and forged ahead climbing up to the top of Discovery Park to get warm and then to Perkins lane where freezing rain stung into our cheeks on the descent.  Red alerts went off to say that the ride may need to be abandoned if the freezing rain continued.  Fortunately, it was brief and yielded to larger drops of fluid precipitation.  Looking at the glistening sleeves of the red Rapha rain jacket, today would be a day that will test the quality and performance of the gear.  Another fleeting wise thought was that today would be a good day to use an indoor trainer.   If that was the case, we would not have the opportunity to go out in search of our motivator for the ride, Celesto Espresso Mobile Truck.  Would we find it? Would it be in its promised location on a day like today?  Could Celesto provide a quality espresso?  Most horrifyingly, would it be served in a paper cup?; lions, and tigers, and bears, oh my!  We pressed onward making for the dependable West Seattle loop, out beyond the Fauntleroy ferry terminal, up Marine View Drive, and then back northbound using the treacherous heavily motorized 35th Ave SW which provided the highest elevation point of the ride and heavy slushy drops that wavered between snow and rain.  Only ten miles of glistening pavement stood between us and an espresso.  Rain had penetrated through both gloves and booties but the Rapha rain jacket  and winter collar kept our core warm and dry.  A brief chill that slithered in during the descent brought back memories of the 2012 Tour de Blast.

Pausing at the Port for a moment to admire the Smith Tower, we mentally charted a route to South Lake Union (SLU) and the Center for Wooden Boats (CWB), the promised location of Celesto.   The strategy was to warm up by climbing Western Avenue from Pioneer Square and then cut over to SLU via Virginia Street.  The steep climb on the wet cobbles of Virginia required concentration to make it to the top upright without incident; we were now on axis with our destination.  With the chill setting in, was this craziness to go in search of an outdoor truck for the ride’s espresso reward?  Pedaling on, we started the descent to Lake Union; scanning forward in search of Celesto.  Raindrops on our glasses refracted the green light of traffic signals and blinding white beams of oncoming headlights, then we spotted it in the distance, a small glowing red ember, tucked between IMG_5543the cedar shingled roofs of the CWB.  Beckoning us forward, we made our way toward the warmth of the truck’s vermilion radiance.  The foreboding weather had kept most of the visitors away but not Celesto, it was stationed stalwartly between the proud totem pole and the stack of lonely wooden dinghies, whose turquoise hulls complemented the bright fluid script and logo of Celseto.  Basking in the glow and charm of the delightfully restored truck was enough to warm the day.  Clumsily fumbling around with numb hands for money and camera we made preparations for the espresso order. The window slid IMG_5527open and we were pleasantly greeted by Celeste, the proprietor of the truck.  We asked and were granted permission to lean the bike on the truck and were mindful to rest it gently so as to not blemish the paint.  Through shivering lips an espresso was ordered and to our delight it was offered in porcelain and not paper.  Celeste set busily to work crafting a wonderfully aromatic cup.  The flavor was robust and satisfying and provided a lingering sweetness on the palette.  A second espresso was needed and it was IMG_5529equally delicious.  Celesto fulfilled our expectations and we give it a solid four wheels rating and make it a recommended cycling espresso stop when on the go.

Much to our delight we were given a backstage tour of the truck.  The stow-away drivers seat flipped away and provided access in to the neatly developed interior.  The simplicity of the drive council was outstanding; a large steering wheel with just a couple of dials and switches set into a flat metal dash was all that was needed to navigate the rig. We lingered a bit near Holmes, the heater, to admire the artwork sporting a skeleton in a camper.   Finished with the tour and once again outside, we were powered by Celesto espresso and madly pedaled home to finish the ride.

Celesto is open on the weekends at the Center of Wooden Boats and in the future Sundays at the Fremont market.

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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

Issaquah Coffee Company

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 IMG_3117launched 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.

IMG_3118The 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.

IMG_3137Tucked 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.

IMG_3129IMG_3123Inside 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.

IMG_3122IMG_3125If 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.

Statistics recorded with Counterize – Version 3.1.3

Bustle Caffé

Bustle Caffe –  535 W McGraw St., Seattle, WA

  • Espresso:  ⨷ ⨷ ⨷ ⨷   ~
  • Cycle accommodations:  Limited secure – observable
  • Cafe setting:  ~ Bright, Well laid out, Tasteful
  • Interior seating: ~ Many options, plenty of seating
  • Exterior seating: ~ Available, not covered
  • Pastry selection:~ Good selection – Sandwiches

2013IMG_2703Bustle Marking the last weekends of the 2013 winter, we made our first back to back ride of the year to properly close it out.  Bainbridge Island delivered quality scenery and quiet roads, plus a few hills on Saturday.  A Sunday ride to Alki Point punished us with a stiff headwind, however, we reaped the reward of the tailwind on the northbound return route.  Boosted by the wind we raced along through Mrytle Edwards Park and took the newly opened pedestrian and bike bridge that provides safe passage across Elliott Ave to lower Queen Anne.  Jettisoning us out directly onto 3rd Ave W.,  the bridge placed us into perfect alignment to make the climb to the top of Queen Anne and to our destination, Bustle Caffe.

2013IMG_2704BustleWith the exception of the flamboyant script of the sign, the exterior of Bustle Caffe looks a bit austere with a dark bronze colored metal siding.  The building has history and was built over 100 years ago as a grocery store.   It has been restored and retains some of its original decor inside.  A patio embraces the west side of the shop and must be popular on a warm sunny day.

There is no convenient place to park and secure your bicycle.  If traveling in a group, leaning the bikes against the outer wall seems the best option to be able to keep a safe eye on them.   Being out on a solo ride, a telephone pole on the corner sufficed; we hope it was not visited  by any doggies.

2013IMG_2698Bustle 2013IMG_2699BustleInside, Bustle Caffe transforms from the dark bronze exterior into a delightfully bright cafe setting.  Painted with a buttery yellow, the walls are warm and cheerful.  Two floral center pieces were placed strategically on the tables; when combined with the north light of the windows, a spring like atmosphere was made.  Two floral themed 2013IMG_2697Bustlechandeliers complement the space well, we wondered if they were part the history of the building.  There is a host of seating available, including a painted white bench and marble topped cafe tables.  The front of the house is lively and social, and a back area provides opportunity for a more secluded and quiet setting.  Free wi-fi is offered and there were a number of people making use of it.  Bustle is dog friendly and has treats available for Rover.  There was a pair of pudgy pugs hanging out with their moms during our visit.

2013IMG_2693Bustle 2013IMG_2690BustleThe food selection is  good with a healthy variety of choices.   Fresh homemade pastries and organic sandwiches fill the case.  In addition to coffee, they serve beer, wine, juices and “revitalizing elixirs”.  Attibassi Italian espresso is the coffee of choice for Bustle.  It is flown in weekly, as we understand, from Italy.   Bustle’s web site says it is flown in from “Bologna Spain”.   Without going to exhaustive research we are pretty confident that the coffee comes from Bologna, which is in the northern part of Italy.  Just thought we would point that out if they want to fix the reference.

Riding the last leg of the hill climb up McGraw St. to reach our destination made us more than ready to revive with an espresso before the leg home.  The baristas were very cheerful and engaged the customers pleasantly with conversation.  We ordered our espresso; a soda water was provided as a compliment upon request.  There were two working the bar and we were able to have the business of exchanging payment completed prior to the espresso being served.  It was presented properly with a saucer and spoon.  The aroma was pleasant.  The crema was thick, rich, and sustained itself well. The color would be considered on the light side, perhaps it was the effects of the buttery yellow paint.  The texture was creamy and flowed well across the palette. The flavor was good and progressed pleasantly to a sweet finish.  As a bonus, if you order a second espresso it is only one dollar.

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Bustle Caffe we enjoyed our espresso experience and give you a four out of five wheel rating.  The baristas provided excellent service and made one feel welcome in the cafe.  The atmosphere is pleasant, inviting and offers choices of seating.  The espresso was good and the fullness of the crema was the highlight.  It lacked just a bit of robustness of aroma and flavor.  We will be back again to enjoy a quality espresso experience.  Perhaps SDOT would be willing to add a bike rack out front if requested, click the SDOT link to learn more.

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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

Compass Coffee

Compass Coffee – 1304 Main Street, Vancouver, WA

  • Espresso:  ⨷ ⨷ ⨷ ⨷ ⨷  ~
  • Cycle accommodations:  ~ Good, Observable, Some under cover
  • Cafe setting:  ~ Well proportioned, Good Daylight, neighborly
  • Interior seating: ~ Variety of options
  • Exterior seating: ~ Available & Covered
  • Pastry selection:~ Good Selection, homemade

This is the third in a series of trips made to Vancouver WA over the past months.   Driving up and down Main St. we passed by Compass Coffee and knew that we had to make it a destination on the next visit.   The third time was a charm, and we paid a visit on a quiet Sunday morning.

2013IMG_2610CompassHoused in a small single story brick building with a cedar shingle roof, Compass makes a quiet unassuming presence from the street.  Cafe tables are set out under the roof eve for dry cover in inclement weather.  The sidewalks are broad enough to allow the tables to pull out beyond the eve to capture some sun when it is out.  Bike parking opportunities are plentiful and easily observable from the interior.

2013IMG_2613Compass2013IMG_2620CompassThe proportions of the layout inside are very good with a square seating area hosting a number choices from couches and cafe tables, to a high seat at the espresso bar.  A large slab of natural timber formed the bar top and was the feature element of the space; the barista was the craftsman of the piece.  We were drawn to the timber and could not resist taking a 2013IMG_2629Compassseat at the bar.  Two cold drip brewing towers are the center piece of the back bar.  A dramatic progression from the top decanter, down a  spiral of glass distiller coils, and finally landing in the carafe is the journey the slow cold brewed coffee takes.  They were not in action today but we would love to see them at play.  When the weather warms up a bit more they will start up again to produce this highly concentrated and potent brew.

2013IMG_2627CompassThe pastry selections were one of a kind home baked goodies.   The assortment was modest and provided an appropriate variety of selection.  The savory biscuit called to us and we obediently ordered it.  Compass Coffee is a roasterie and serves their own creations.  Delirium is the go to espresso blend and Neryi Gaturiri a Kenyan peaberry was the single origin served.  “Coffee is Culinary” is Compass Coffee’s mission statement.  Living up to the mission you can choose to have your coffee brewed in the method of your choosing.

2013IMG_2611Compass2013IMG_2612Compass2013IMG_2615CompassBeing warmly welcomed to the espresso bar we were made comfortable.  Four or five people were in the cafe and a friendly couple visiting from the Tri-cities region of Washington State were at the cash register enjoying and providing some conversation.   Familiar banter was at play between the locals and assumed regulars.  Feeling right at home, the conversation was easily entered into.  Straight away, the impression of being a regular at the cafe rested upon you.  Yesterday evening, the first ever game night was held  and it apparently went on late into the night and is now under consideration to become a regular event at the cafe.  The levity of the morning continued and we learned the flowering business plan of a young woman who was sitting at the bar; sworn to secrecy, no more can be said about it.  For the record we vote for the longer and more poetic name, should the dream become a reality.  Brian the barista and part owner, demonstrated a knowledge and passion for his craft and educated us about the characteristics of the roasts being offered.  Delirium blend was our roast of choice to start with.   Directly after placing the espresso order we were served a traditional soda water prior to any other preparations beginning.  He was very intentional, concentrated, and precise with his methods.   Accompanied with a saucer and spoon, the cup was born swiftly to us, clean of spatter or smudge.  The crema was consistent with a reddish hue.  The aroma was warm and pleasantly foretold of the flavor.  The texture of the sips were rich and flowed wonderfully across the palette; delivering a progression of flavor that culminated with a sweetness and hints of cocoa flavor.  We tried the Gaturiri next, and of the two, we preferred the Delirium roast for an espresso.

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Compass Coffee, we give you a five out of five wheel rating for our espresso experience with you.  The quality of preparation, adherence to tradition, appropriate priority to craft, and a proper presentation was warmly received.  We enjoyed the fun and friendly atmosphere provided by the barista, and that played directly through to the customers.   Continue the great work and we will definitely make a stop again.

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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

Brewed

Brewed – 601 Main Street, Vancouver, Washington

  • Espresso:  ⨷ ⨷ ⨷ ⨷ ⨷  ~
  • Cycle accommodations: Limited to street ~
  • Cafe setting: Cozy, daylight, unique decor, well displayed, ghost ~
  • Interior seating: Loft plus limited entry level ~
  • Exterior seating: limited, covered ~
  • Pastry selection: Did not see a display, menu of food offerings ~

Journey to Vancouver Part II  – (Part I)

Vancouver received a Bicycle Friendly Community Bronze award from  the League of American Bicyclist.  The City of Vancouver, in conjunction with the City of Portland, has created a combined bicycle map, to help plan an urban ride sure to have many opportunities to discover points of interest in both cities.  Vancouver also provides a base to start and finish, a Columbia River Gorge bicycle tour.  The Oregon department of transportation published a tour map that describes three routes to help plan a scenic cycling tour of the river gorge.  We have driven the route along I-84 many times and can attest to the beauty a bicycling expedition would offer.   A loop from Vancouver to The Dalles, Oregon, traversing the north and south side of the river gorge, would be approximately 200 miles.  A stay at the Inn of the White Salmon, in White Salmon, Washington, is recommended for a good night sleep and a sumptuous breakfast in the morning.  Another tour that would involve considerably more climbing and distance, would be to route south, around Mt. Hood, via state routes 26 and 35; this course would certainly provide scenic splendor.

Our second stop for an espresso in Vancouver was at Brewed coffee.  They are located in a street level storefront, of the historic, and purportedly haunted, Heritage Building on Main street.  Brewed has placed a trifecta of offerings together as part of the freshly opened,  multi-generational, family owned and operated, coffee house, restaurant, and wine bar.  The interior is compact, and features a reclaimed lumber faced bar as a a signature element.  There is loft seating, as well as seating on the main level.  We enjoyed that the metal sign, displayed in the interior, was formed by the inverse remnant of the letters cut for the exterior signage.  Decorative art glass lights provide a touch of color, and a subtle sense of connection to the historic character of the building.

We were pleasantly greeted and welcomed by the proprietor, a.k.a , the brother, as we entered the cafe.  The chattering sound of coffee beans being loaded into the grinder warmed our anticipation of an espresso.  Brewed develops and roasts their own coffee blend.  This particular day, perhaps a consequence of the preternatural prowling of Joyce D. Thomasen, the ghost of the Heritage Building, the blend of coffee being used was a mystery of the unknown.  Although we preferred to suspect our theory of a specter at play, it was quickly dispelled, and the culpability of the “Mystery of the Unknown Roast”, was quickly assessed to the father, who had allegedly delivered the freshly roasted beans, then promptly had any knowledge of which beans had been roasted, wiped clean from his cerebral cortex.  Fathers, if not good for floating a business, are certainly good for carrying a share of cause and effect consequences.  The barista, a.k.a. sister of the operation, quickly got to work, grinding the beans, leveling, then tamping, and finally delivering the grinds to the La Marzocco machine, to work some magic.  The espresso was delivered with a buoyant and enthusiastic smile; in a cup, sans saucer, spoon, or any other accompaniment.  The crema was whitish and relatively thin, and the aroma was light.  The flavor was not robust, however, we enjoyed the taste, and the light sweetness that developed at the finish.  We suspect that the espresso was potentially pulled too quickly, or was under extracted, or possibly the grind was too course, to allow a fully developed crema, flavor, and aroma.  Brewed, we enjoyed our experience at your cafe.  We give our espresso experience with you two out of five wheels.  The rating was buoyed by the enjoyable and enthusiastic service, as well as, the pleasant finish of the espresso.  We encourage you to hone your espresso craft in order to deliver the finest espresso possible, and suggest you review David Schomer’s publications: “Techniques of the Barista” and “Espresso Coffee: Professional Techniques”.  They are excellent resources for refining the quality of the espresso.   David Schomer is a recognized world expert in espresso craft.  Read The Cycle Cafe’s Rating Guide, to gain an idea of what we look for and see at the best espresso bars, then add a personal touch of your own.  We look forward to returning in the future.

*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 3.1.4

Caffè Ladro

Caffè Ladro – Upper Queen Anne – 2205 Queen Anne Ave N, Seattle, WA

  • Espresso – ⨷ ⨷ ⨷ ⨷ ⨷
  • Cycle accommodations: Limited
  • Cafe setting: Cozy, somewhat mysterious ambience
  • Interior seating: Window seats and banquettes
  • Exterior seating: Adirondack chairs, under cover
  • Pastry selection: Good with unique variety

Ladro Exterior

The gift of dry and sunny days has turned almost instantly to wet and cold.  The autumn weather held but a few days, before it yielded to the gray skies more customary of Seattle winter.  Our Rapha rain jacket has been proving an excellent companion to this early onset of the “big dark”, as we like to call the Seattle, post autumnal equinox, weather.

Ladro Logo

Upper Queen Anne was our destination and Caffè Ladro was the spot of choice.  Ladro was founded in 1994 at its Queen Anne location.  We were intrigued by their logo, a tall figure wearing a trench coat and fedora.  This dark figure is the “coffee thief” translated from italian to caffe ladro.  Dubiously inspired by a customer who said that they would be stealing customs from the adjacent coffee shops across the street; the name stuck, and Caffè Ladro was born.  From humble beginnings , they  have grown to thirteen locations in the greater Seattle area at present.  Caffè Ladro recently began roasting their own blend, and that is what we had the opportunity to try on our visit.

Banquettes

The Queen Anne location is narrow and modest in size.  Fronting the cafe is a row of adirondack chairs, tucked neatly just beyond the drip line of a sidewalk awning.  Parking for cycles is scarce.   The cozy interior is defined with high backed banquettes of seating and two raised storefront window niches.  Luxuriant hand blown glass globes of pendant light fixtures intimately illuminate each table.  The dark warm tones of the interior seem appropriate for a coffee thief.   The wood floors are complimented by a

Art Glass

stamped red tin wainscot.  A screen of art glass richly defines a soffit above the espresso bar.  The stately La Marzocco espresso machine owns the bar.  Sumptuous pastries, baked by Caffè Ladro, filled the case, and a large apple pie taunted anyone who dared to try to exert will power to deny eating a slice. Our waist band breathed a sigh of relief as we somehow were victorious over the pie’s allure.

Pastries

The baristas were upbeat, and created a pleasant atmosphere, as we strode to the bar to place our espresso order.  We were delighted, when immediately following our order, we were asked if we would like a soda water; which of course we accepted.  The barista took diligent care in leveling and packing the coffee.   We sipped our soda and targeted a table to sit and enjoy the espresso and read a few pages of the new Rouleur.   The espresso was delivered with care and a subtle sense of grand arrival.  The aroma was rich and flavorful.  The crema was consistent, velvelty, and flowed smoothly across the tongue.  The flavor was robust and a sweetness developed appropriately with the last sip.  The sweet coffee flavor lingered wonderfully, like pleasant company.

Caffè Ladro we give our espresso experience with you five out of five wheels.  We considered being critical and knocking you down a notch for the crema wanting to be a touch more reddish in coloration, but the flavor and aroma of the shot, as well as the engagement of the baristas, in combination with the accompaniment of soda water, carried the day for you!

The espresso

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 3.1.4

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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