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.

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Milstead & Co.

Milstead & Co. – 770 N 34th St Seattle, WA

  • Espresso:  ⨷ ⨷ ⨷ ⨷   ~
  • Cycle accommodations: Limited to street, convienient off the Burke-Gilman trail  ~
  • Cafe setting: Spacious, daylight, ~
  • Interior seating: Good quantity; low and high tables ~
  • Exterior seating: Access to a large court of the History House ~
  • Pastry selection: Average pastry selection ~

Recently, we have stopped at a number of boutique coffee houses around town, that are keeping with the trend of serving single origin artisan roasted coffee.  Some of the roasts recently tried include Stumptown, Intelligencia and Heart; Kenyan, Ethiopian, and Guatemalan single sourced beans.  Much like a single malt scotch, or a fine wine, a single origin coffee has distinct regional characteristics attributed to describe its flavor, aroma and texture.  Tasting and exploring the different world varieties is a journey of discovery of the delights released from the bean, brought out by the roast, and ultimately the proper brewing of the coffee.  While the enjoyment of the flavors is a worthy experience, it often does not result in the finest cup of espresso; particularly in the hands of a an unskilled barista.  The grinding and timing of the shot needs to be dialed in precisely.  If the cafe has not completed the appropriate amount of discovery regarding the qualities, the flavor, and the chemistry of the roast, the results can be a disaster.

Stumptown

We made a stop at MIlstead and Co. and think that they have got it dialed in.  Milstead did not serve a house go to espresso blend; our choices were a Kenyan from Heart and a Guatamalan from Stumptown. They appropriately advised us on what to expect in the flavor, and suggested that we stir the Kenyan to emulsify the sugars.  They made the appropriate adjustments to the grind and the machine to draw the most from the finicky disposition of the single origin coffees.

Heart

Milstead and Co. is tucked under the Aurora Bridge.  If you are tourist in the area, you can make a quick stop up the hill to see the Fremont Troll, followed by a quality single origin at Milstead & Co., then continue on to take in the rest of Fremont.  There is not a big sign, so one can ride past without even noticing Milstead; the 770 address number is the most evident way-finding element signifying their existence.  The cafe is spacious, with ample seating, and room to host cupping events.  The interior is simple and smartly completed; natural wood is the unifying element of the design. Warm seasonal decorations filled the centerpieces on the tables, and embraced the tip jar to add a personal touch of decor.  The swag ropes and stanchions begged for a different solution to manage queue control for the coffee starved masses; there should be a market for resale on Ebay.   Coffee, tea, and brewing accoutrements are tastefully displayed for sale.  Outdoor seating is provided complimentary by the courtyard of the adjacent History House, when they are mutually open.

We give Milstead four out of five wheels for our espresso experience.  They greeted us warmly, introduced us to the coffee they were offering, and provided some instruction, on how best to enjoy each espresso made from the single origins being brewed.  They provided a soda water unprompted with the espresso.  We appreciated the flavor treat and the adventure of the single origin, however,  it is difficult to bring home a top notch espresso flavor with a single origin.  In our humble opinion, we think it is advisable for quality coffee shops to have a go to constant for an espresso blend and keep the option open for single origin roast.

*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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