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Cafe and coffeehouse reviews

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So - what are your favorite espresso bars and coffeehouses in the area? Be sure to include restaurants that serve exceptionally good or bad caffeinated drinks if you can think of any. Don't hold back - give us the skinny - enquiring minds want to know!

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As soon as Iris gets up from her nap we're heading down to Vivace for a macchiato. The only problem with Vivace is bad croissants. I guess I could get a Le Fournil croissant at Le Petit Cafe and get the macchiato to go, but then it wouldn't be in a porcelain cup, and that would be quite lame. Maybe an anonymous note is the way to go.

Matthew Amster-Burton, aka "mamster"

Author, Hungry Monkey, coming in May

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The only problem with Vivace is bad croissants. ... Maybe an anonymous note is the way to go.

Tell them to get their croissants from Besalu. Oh my god what a combo that would be.

Born Free, Now Expensive

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Please don't slam me for what I'm about to say... :shock:

I love going to Tully's on Alki to get some of their really good soft serve ice cream (vanilla) with a shot of espresso over it. It's not about the coffee, which is servicable. It's about the creamy rich ice cream surrounded in the spoon with the sharper espresso, the contrast of hot and cold, sweet and almost savory... while sitting at the beach, watching the ferries glide by... I love the overall experience...so simple, so nice. It's the best dessert on the beach.

As for coffee, (other than Vivace), I'm an Uptown girl...Uptown Espresso, that is. Or Lladro.

“"When you wake up in the morning, Pooh," said Piglet at last, "what's the first thing you say to yourself?"

"What's for breakfast?" said Pooh. "What do you say, Piglet?"

"I say, I wonder what's going to happen exciting today?" said Piglet.

Pooh nodded thoughtfully.

"It's the same thing," he said.”

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I get my coffee at Diva Espresso on Stone Way. They roast their own beans (the roasting part of the business is called Highlands Coffee). The people who work there are great and it is in my neighborhood. I like their coffee so much that I now only use their beans when I make coffee at home.

Practice Random Acts of Toasting

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The only problem with Vivace is bad croissants. ... Maybe an anonymous note is the way to go.

Tell them to get their croissants from Besalu. Oh my god what a combo that would be.

Katie and I have been known to get Besalu and Vivace on some glorious weekends.

My coffee picks are:


Hines Public Market



I havent been to Victriola but hear they know what they are doing.

Gimme what cha got for a pork chop!


I have two words for America... Meat Crust.


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It's been about a couple years since I really made the rounds of espresso joints in Seattle. Most of my exploration was documented in a pictorial discussion thread over in the Cofeegeek discussion forums

Phaelon56's Northwest Espresso Road Trip

I returned to Seattle in the spring of '03 for a more limited visit. This time I sampled a few drinks at Ancient Grounds - downtown on 1st if I recall correctly. The owner, Roland, takes great care in offering a good selection and uses both Vivace and Lighthouse Beans. I've had much better microfoam but he's a nice guy and it's a very unique space, serving as a gallery of sorts that has Pacific Northwest tribal art and other unusual objects on display. They even have a cool historic espresso machine....

Here's the seating area - plenty of books and magazines to browse


and.... Alaska's first espresso machine - now retired from service


I also visited Lighthouse Roasters on the spring '03 trip. The drink I had while there was very good but the beans I took home totally rocked. Vivace uses a bit of robusta in their standard espresso blend to bump up crema and add that bit of bite so typical in the better Italian espresso blends. Lighthouse does not use robusta in their blend and it has a much different flavor profile than Vivace. It is, as always, a matter of personal taste, but the Lighthouse blend is thus far my favorite of all the Seattle area beans I've tried.

It's in a residential neighborhood - I also got decent latte art on my take-away cup


The inside is cool - a bit stark but very quiet. The roasting gear is right up in the back just beyond the seating area


The short version of my Seattle impressions thus far..... (please note that I have not been able to visit Hines Public Coffee or Zoka yet but hear great things about both places)

  • Vivace - it's everything that I thought it would be - top of the heap
  • Victrola - best overall combo of atmopshere, food quality and espresso quality. They used Vivace beans when I was there but may roast their own now - can someone confirm this?
  • Cafe Lladro - pretty darn good for a chain - not one of the very best but decent and predictable
  • Caffe Vita - nice place but their Del Sol espresso blend was disappointing and drinks were just "okay"
  • Bauhaus Books & Espresso - love the atmosphere and good espresso - not in my top 3 but very good
  • Top Pot - gotta love those donuts! Had decent lattes here but rumor has it that they also now roast their own beans
  • Ancient Grounds - really cool and inviting space to hang out and read whilst sipping a drink. Decent espresso drinks - mostly a daytime place - I think they're closed at night.
  • Uptown Espresso - I went to the Belltown location - twice. Had a really average drink both times and the service was indifferent. Your mileage may vary - I hear good things from other people.
  • Cafe D'Arte - seemed to me like they're resting on their laurels. Decent drink but nothing that wowed me and the service/attention to detail by barista's was lacking.
  • Coffee Messiah - love the funky atmosphere and decorating but sorry.... the espresso drinks weren't too great
  • Cherry Street - uhh..... nothing memorable - just another generic espresso joint - not really terrible but not all that good.

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