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.
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