urban Coffee lounge

Urban Coffee Lounge – 9744 119th Way, Kirkland WA

  • Espresso:   ⨷ ⨷ ⨷  ~
  • Cycle accommodations:  plenty of options ~
  • Cafe setting: Modern coffee lounge ~
  • Interior seating:  plenty of options including fire place ~
  • Exterior seating: large selection plus some limited under cover ~
  • Pastry selection: bountiful ~

With the STP behind us it was time to get out and have another ride, this time around the north end of lake Washington.  We rendezvoused and rolled out from the Fremont Bridge.  A marine cover of clouds created a low grey ceiling that loaded the air with moisture that collected on our jerseys and sun glasses.  Meteorologically, this was still considered a dry day.  The route would take us through  Kirkland, then to Bellevue, and then over Mercer Island and back home to round out a fifty-four mile loop.  Juanita Drive will take you straight into Kirkland from the north end of the lake, however, make sure to take a right on Holmes Pt. Dr. NE for a treat of a descent following the climb.  Low traffic and good pavement combined with some good turns makes this a favorite segment.  It turns into 76th place NE for a short climb back up to Jaunita Dr. NE.  From there put the hammer down and cruise your way towards Kirkland.  As you pass Juanita Beach Park, take a left  going east on 97th Ave NE; land marked by Spud Fish and Chips on the corner.  Take the first right onto NE 119th Way then look for urban Coffee lounge, set back on the east side of the street in the open plaza of Juanita Village shopping center.

We set “urban Coffee lounge” (UCL) as a destination, based on a recommendation from one of our readers.  A big thank you for the tip!  We spotted some cafe tables in the plaza and parked our rides there and made our way in.  The interior has a high quality urban edge to it.  An angular finished concrete bar cradles a warm heavy wood counter.  It was busy and the line moved quickly.  The cashier and barista were taking good care of the customers and were light and engaging with their manner.  We ordered an espresso, there were two options, Stumptown Hairbender and a single origin.  We have had a fair share of Hairbender recently and decided to risk the single origin.  A sumptuous display of food was on display to tempt our fancy.  There were any number of pastries that would have been a good choice, however, the dill and cheese scone won the day.  There looked to be a dozen or so different sandwiches available to round our a full compliment of gastronomic alternatives.

Peering over the counter and curious how the espresso was coming along, we spied that a tall cylindrical shot of soda water was prepped and in the ready to accompany the espresso.  The espresso was delivered with grace onto the counter and the barista looked very pleased to have put the soda water, spoon, and espresso together and all contained within a wooden saucer. It was refreshing to come to a place that has taken time to think about the composition of the espresso, it looked “marvelous”.

The aroma was good, the crema was thick, but had some large bubbles.  The flavor was good but the single origin was a bit too tart to provide a satisfying and lasting espresso flavor.  If time was not pressing a second espresso would have been in order.

urban Coffee lounge, you are definitely a recommended cycling espresso stop.  There is plenty of indoor and outdoor seating and space to park cycles, the atmosphere was truly a quality coffee lounge, the service was engaging and the presentation of the espresso was superb.  We knocked you a bit for the quality of the crema, but will need to go back to try your go to espresso blend rather than the single origin.  We give you four out of five wheels, in particular for properly served and presented espresso, 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.

Statistics recorded with Counterize – Version 3.1.3

Cosmonaut Coffee

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.

IMG_3333IMG_3352Located 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.

IMG_3351The 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 IMG_3342filled 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.

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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.

Statistics recorded with Counterize – Version 3.1.3

Monorail Espresso

Monorail Espresso – 510 Pike Street, Seattle, WA

  • Espresso:   ⨷ ⨷ ⨷ ⨷  ~
  • Cycle accommodations:  On the go! ~
  • Cafe setting:  Walk up window ~
  • Interior seating: None ~
  • Exterior seating: None ~
  • Pastry selection: Chubbies ~

Skid your fixie to a halt and order an espresso at Monorail Espresso.  This is your on the go spot for an excellent espresso when in downtown Seattle.  Socketed into the the south facade of the former Coliseum Cinema, now Banana Republic, Monorail coffee maintains a long standing presence.

Monorail Espresso is a walk up espresso bar.  Do not park the bike, go straight for the espresso, do not pass go, and do not collect $200.  No futzing about wondering what you want, put your order in and let the line keep moving.  Cash only and tourist’s questions answered for a nominal fee.  Only one choice for food here, Chubbies.  Regretfully we did not order one; they looked much like our favorite chocolate chip cookies; made by Grandma.  We must go back to try them and update this post with the results.

Expectations were low when we asked to have the espresso served in hardware and with a soda water.  We were accommodated on both accounts.  The soda was served in an espresso cup and espresso served in a Japanese tea cup.  Aroma excellent, crema like fine velvet, texture like it should be, and flavor was exquisite.  Needless to say, this espresso hit the spot.  Traditions and formalities of cups, saucers and spoons aside, the quality of the espresso rocked the day. Monorail Espresso we give your espresso a five out of five wheel rating!

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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

Repast Bakery and Cafe

Repast Bakery and Cafe -1418 31st Ave S, Seattle, WA

  • Espresso:   ⨷ ⨷ ⨷ ⨷  ~
  • Cycle accommodations:  Limited, but observable from inside ~
  • Cafe setting:  Very small ~
  • Interior seating: Limited tables ~
  • Exterior seating: A bench and a cafe table, not covered~
  • Pastry selection: Delicious, freshly baked ~

Following a turn around Mercer Island we headed south to Seward Park and, with another week gone by, the glory of the cherry trees in full bloom along Lake Washington Boulevard was giving way. The cherry blossoms had peaked and cast petals into the strong wind, which dusted them about like snowflakes.  One had to be careful to not take one down the wind pipe.  We climbed out of the park and made a route to the Mt Baker neighborhood via 31st Ave S. and made a stop at Repast Bakery and Cafe.

Repast is located in a small storefront on 31st ave South, which is the main stretch of the Mt Baker town center.  We decided to stop to see what they had to offer.  Inside is quite small; a few tables and a counter. There was a very busy baking kitchen in the wings.  Outside there was a bench and a cafe table to enjoy a seat in the fresh air.  We found a parking spot for our bike next to a sweet ride tricked out in primary colors.

An awareness of how to serve a proper espresso was not present, we enjoyed ours in a cappuccino cup. The espresso received no accolades and we give it a one out of five wheel rating.  However, the choice of baked goods was quite nice, both sweet and savory freshly baked goods.  A small turkey and cheese croissant coaxed us to buy it.  It was quite delicious and perfectly apportioned.  We are making Repast a recommended cycling cafe when in the Mt. Baker area due to the delicious freshly baked goods available.

 

*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

Hotwire Online Coffee House

Hotwire Online Coffee House – 4410 California Ave. SW, Seattle WA

  • Espresso:  ⨷ ⨷ ⨷   ~
  • Cycle accommodations:  ~ Can lock to fence, observable in patio
  • Cafe setting:  ~ Cozy
  • Interior seating: ~ Limited, 4 computers for internet access
  • Exterior seating: ~ Covered patio area
  • Pastry selection:~ Average selection, Mighty O donuts

IMG_2820The forecast called for 25 mph winds, heavy rain, hail. and thunderstorms.  Determined to go for a ride, the fenders were strapped on, rain jacket was donned in preparation.  The early morning offered forty degree temperature, dry skies, and strong winds that dried the pavement of the previous days of rain that seemed to have been falling unrelentingly.   Conditions proved less than predicted.  Sprinting into the wind on the flat route along the waterfront, we spied Bertha, the largest deep bore tunneling machine in the world.  Berthawas being staged and prepped to rip earth asunder to create Seattle’s new tunnel that will replace the aging Alaskan Way viaduct.  Chiefly, the route was flat, in spite of the fact, the steady wind provided fiercesome resistance.  Rounding the turn onto Harbor Avenue, the wind turned from foe to friend and propelled us upward as we peeled off to make the climb up California Ave SW and to Hotwire Coffee, the mid-ride espresso stop.

IMG_2821 IMG_2823Hotwire is nestled next to the West Seattle post office and is deposited into a tiny brick building that appears to be a former gatehouse of a building complex with a previous life.   Our historical investigation ended with this supposition and begs for further research.  Ironwork fencing encloses a quaint covered courtyard that one enters through to gain access to Hotwire.

IIMG_2822nside, one steps immediately from the door to the espresso bar to place an order.  They have neatly packed the coffee house with a bevy offerings including, food, beverages, tea, coffee and mexican mochas.   If in a hurry, Textwire can be used to fire your advance order in so it is ready when you arrive. Natural brick provides a warm and textured backdrop to the barista, busily brewing beverages.  There is a sliver of high counter with two bar stools, four computers lined up along the window, and a two seat cafe table, if you want to linger a bit.  Red tubular glass  table lamps cast a glow within the space.

IMG_2944The cashier was buoyant and full of personality that lit up the place.  She took our order and delivered it to the barista who expertly pulled an espresso.  This was our second visit to Hotwire and the quality of espresso was good on both occasions.  The aroma was rich, the crema, while not pristine, had good depth.  The flavor of the coffee was excellent with a robust satisfying character and sweet chocolaty finish.  We were provided a splash of soda water on request.  The presentation of the espresso was different each time, it came once with saucer and spoon, another time just the cup, and a third time in a small cappuccino cup.

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Hotwire we enjoyed our visit very much and will certainly return for another delicious espresso.  Bravo to you!  We give you three out of five wheels for the  espresso experience.  The flavor was very good and certainly will make for the best espresso based beverages.   The service was wonderful.  The crema had some minor outcroppings of bubbles and needs a touch more fullness to provide an exquisite accompaniment to the delicious flavor.

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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

Cortona Cafe

Cortona Coffee – 2425 E. Union St., Seattle, WA

  • Espresso:  ⨷ ⨷ ⨷  ⨷  ~
  • Cycle accommodations:  ~ Good; Two U-Racks observable from inside plus over-flow space to lean cycles.
  • Cafe setting:  ~ Good neighborhood cafe
  • Interior seating: ~ Cozy entry level with loft seating
  • Exterior seating: ~ Uncovered
  • Pastry selection:~ Fresh waffles, average pastry assortment

2013IMG_2641CortonaIt was a foggy friday morning and we took the day off to extend the President’s Day weekend to a four day holiday.  We plotted out a 50 mile ride that included a loop around Mercer Island, a stretch along Lake Washington Boulevard past Seward Park, and a return route home including  one of our favorite cross town passages through the Central District.  Our destination stop was Cortona Cafe, which was exactly at mile forty of the ride.  We took no stops until we reached Cortona Cafe; making it a welcome site.  As we arrived the sun was burning the layers of fog away and casting a beautiful light onto the cafe.

2013IMG_2585CortonaCortona was founded in 2009 “with a desire to foster a place of reconciliation and community in Seattle’s Central District neighborhood…with a focus on empowerment, hospitality, and community building” as stated on their website.  Cortona, a hillside town in central Italy, is the namesake of the cafe.

Tucked into the corner of a newer development directly on the southwest corner of 25th Ave and E. Union Street, they offer a quality neighborhood presence.  Three timber frames contain the exterior seating area that has access to quality morning and mid-afternoon sun.  Exterior seating is without cover and makes it is a fair-weather offering only.   There is space for half dozen or so seats.  A small corinthian pedestal column, minus a few letters, resides at the border to advertise the cafe.  Two u-shaped bike racks are easily observable from inside.   If more space is required for cycle parking, the timber frames can do in a pinch.

2013IMG_2652CortonaOne enters directly on the corner of the building into a very cozy first level.  There is limited seating provided by benches. More seating is available in an upstairs loft that can be reserved for special occasions.  Two large divided light windows are the key feature within the space.  Free Wi-Fi is offered to encourage one to sit and stay a while.

 

2013IMG_2662CortonaWaffles are the specialty gastronomic draw at Cortona. The pastry case has an average variety of selections. Empanadas and hummus are also on the menu to satisfy those in need of savory.   The kitchen and espresso bar are efficiently packed in to the confines of the lower level.  Cortona uses Seattle based Herkimer Coffee as its roast of choice.  They also offer a variety of teas and other beverages.

 

2013IMG_2594CortonaJoe the barista, was dressed smartly in proper barista attire; black slacks, tie, and pressed shirt.  He apologized that it was casual friday and that he was not wearing his typical vest.  This added a quality touch to the espresso experience.  He said he was inspired from a trip to Italy and witnessing how baristas typically dress.  While preparing the espresso, Joe simultaneously managed pleasant conversation, readied a waffle, and provided a high level of customer service.  We were offered a soda water which we gladly accepted.

Cortona, we give you three out of five wheels for our espresso experience.   The espresso aroma was good.  The crema was consistent, had quality coloration, and sustained good stamina.  The flavor was appealing, provided a good progression, and finished with a lingering sweetness.  We appreciated the quality of service and that a soda water was offered as an accompaniment.  A quick tidy up of the cup to remove the spatter from the rim and the addition of a cafe spoon would have taken the presentation of the espresso to the next level.  We visited Cortona Cafe the previous week and found the espresso to be consistent with the exception that a soda water was not offered, however, the cup was tidied. In spite of the fact that the cashier on our first visit seemed to be having a bad day and serving customers was an inconvenience.  We  enjoyed our experience and will stop by again in the future.

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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

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.

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