While I am in Seattle, I thought it would be fun to explore some new coffee shops and blog about it here. I'll still be hitting up my old favorites, but I've mentioned them on here before. Instead I'm going to mention places that are new, new to me, or just really interesting.
Tuesday, for instance, I was at Victrola on 15th, which is my old tamping grounds. That beautiful old Synesso is still in there (first one ever in a coffee shop... I remember the day they installed it... serial number #0002). I had a lovely cappuccino and ran into some old friends. In fact, I saw fellow erstwhile Brooklynite Liz Clayton fresh on her return from the Nordic Barista Cup in Iceland. She's in town for Coffee Fest, which is this weekend. Also happening this weekend, FYI, is a Seattle VS Los Angeles latte art competition being held by Victrola at their Pike Street location. 10 Seattle baristas against 10 LA baristas, with booze and music to follow. Apparently it's predicted to be a rager and they are planning for hundreds of people to be there..
But! It being a positively glorious late-summer Seattle day (78 degrees, no humidity, not a cloud in the sky, green trees everywhere and a light breeze off the Sound), I decided to take a long walk. My trek took me down 23rd Avenue to Montlake, where I happened upon a store that was new to me.
Fuel Coffee opened up not too far from Victrola, on 19th Avenue, a few years back. That first store was a nice place, with a pretty small footprint. Well, the newer store on 23rd is a lot bigger. [There is now also a third location in Wallingford.] It has a nice big, open floor plan which is very inviting. When I stopped by, six or seven young women in business casual wear were sitting around a table laughing and drinking their coffee, while several other patrons sat scattered throughout the place. Out front was the requisite Seattle bearded guy poking at his iPhone.
Barista Laura answered my several questions about the place with friendliness and aplomb. They have a very beautiful shiny black La Marzocco given pride of place right in the middle of their nice, long countertop. In general, I was impressed with the visual flow of the place, the easy-going and yet coherent feel. It's one of the hardest things to get right about a coffee shop. Couple that with good service and you've got a winning combination.
Oh, the coffee, you ask? I had a pretty good cup of the house blend, drip style, that Laura served me. Fuel's coffee is roasted by longtime Seattle bean people, Caffé Vita. My cup was sweet, mellow, and fairly drinkable, with low acidity. I'm ashamed to admit that I didn't do my normal "Cappuccino, espresso, cup of drip, etc. etc. routine" because it was late in the day, I'd already had several cups at Victrola, and I hadn't even been planning on visiting Fuel at all. But it was good coffee.
Now that I know I like the place, I plan on going back. If you are in that neighborhood of Seattle, I highly recommend checking it out.