Cosmonaut Coffee – 817 Division Ave, Tacoma WA
- Espresso: ⨷ ⨷ ⨷ ⨷ ~
- Cycle accommodations: Bike rack down low, or the elevated deck ~
- Cafe setting: Out of this world ~
- Interior seating: neatly packed like a space capsule ~
- Exterior seating: above the earth deck ~
- Pastry selection: good pastries and sandwiches ~
We had planned a big day to wheel around the South Sound from Seattle, to Tacoma, across the narrows to Gig Harbor, then to the Southworth Ferry and back to Seattle; 107 miles and 7,250’ of quality rolling and climbing awaited.
Hugging Puget Sound for the majority of the route, we were treated to breathtaking beauty, and quiet roads on an early Sunday morning in June. This ride was one, regardless of the hurt the climbs dealt out, that placed us into an orbit of cycling euphoria. It included steep climbs, exhilarating descents, and ribbons of back road tranquility.
Along the way there were a few moments of urban turbulence when grinding through Burien, Des Moines, and the Port of Tacoma. We had two extra-terrestrial sightings. First, a fist shaking and presumed toothless, pick-up truck driving male, ranting out some redneck wisdom. The second, at roughly 10:00 AM, was a dog walking, PBR tallboy sipping, smoke dragging, muumuu clad female. Dropping a chain on the rise of the narrow, heavily trafficked, Elle St Bridge provided the coda of the gritty urban segment of the ride and also the prelude to our mid-ride docking at Cosmonaut Coffee.
Located directly opposite of Wright Park on Division Ave in Tacoma, Cosmonaut Coffee, formerly Satellite Coffee (click here for the story), provided an excellent drop out of hyperdrive. It was quirky, fun, and provided an excellent cycling espresso stop. The space theme was marvelous. We docked our rides on the upper landing bay and entered through the triple air locked door fitted with a delightful custom brass porthole. Within the espresso chamber we were greeted by the sensory lifting scents of coffee.
The tight quarters inside the coffee station were fancifully themed for the space traveller. Narrow counters with lollipop bar stools and fixed benches were the seating choice; not luxurious but perfect scale for the outpost. The head was equally compact, equipped with a “stink-o-meter” to monitor air quality, and a velvet print of the Enterprise to appease lingering stargazers.
The espresso bar was a neatly engineered unit with fully powered equipment. The barista was friendly and engaged her customers while managing the helm and the till. Food rations were good; pastries, sandwiches and more filled out the compliment. The Veggie-fu sandwich from Molly’s Grown to Eat was excellent. We enjoyed finishing our sandwiches on the deck that looks over historic Wright Park, that has recently received restorative updates and improvements to further the longevity of this delightful urban respite. The masterplan and updates were designed by Site Workshop.
Cosmonaut Coffee, we definitely recommend you as a cycling espresso stop and give our espresso experience a four out of five wheel rating. The atmosphere was delightful, the barista was engaging, and the espresso was excellent. The only items that took you out of the highest orbit were, the crema did not quite attain a velvety perfection and the soda water was served in a plastic cup. We hope to try the 6th Avenue ship that boasts a cycling roll up service window.
Fully refueled, we launched again on our journey, enjoying sites such as Stadium High School and the beautiful housing stock along N Yakima Ave.. We made our way to the deep space portal of the new Tacoma Narrows Bridge. The cycling lane was excellent, particularly when compared to the death defying wormhole of the old bridge. Our journey took us through beautiful Gig Harbor and onto scenic Crescent Vally Dr. NW. Crescent Valley Dr. has a few thigh roasting climbs that are just a warm up to the even more punishing ascents on Banner Rd SE. After being beaten up by the hills, we made a quick stop to check the time and ferry schedule. We discovered we were 8 miles away with only 20 minutes until the next ferry departed. If we missed this one, there would be a full hour to wait for the next one and family obligations loomed heavily. We hopped back into our cockpits and launched with our beleaguered legs down the line of Banner Rd. It was straight and riddled with ups and downs. From the apex of the first climb and in the line of site was a long daunting climb ahead of us. Gritting teeth we hammered down the descent to gain as much speed and momentum to attain escape velocity from the impending black hole that would suck the life from our legs and any hope of reaching the ferry in time. We pressed on and called upon Scotty to give us just a little more as we crested into a low grade mile long ascent to reached the right turn onto Sedgwick Rd., which would provide a gravitational slingshot to the ferry terminal. Scotty delivered but the demand had our hearts jumping out of our chests. As we sped downhill to our goal, a doe followed by her fawn sprung into the road causing an abrupt halt and narrow miss of calamity. Picking it up again, we raced to the dock where the workers had just clipped the safety netting across the loading bay and were giving the go signal to the Captain. We raced to the line and pleaded our case to let us on. The workers said it would rely on the Captain’s approval and they radioed up the request. Like dogs at the dinner table we arched our heads upward to the helm with wide longing eyes. The Captain gave the thumbs up and we were allowed to board. The ferry ride was a welcome respite to our knackered legs that still needed to press on an additional 15 miles on the far side of the ride. The sprint to the ferry was exhilerating and forged a fond memory to an extremely enjoyable day of riding.
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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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