Visiting Seattle and Olympia, September 2009
Insert obligatory apology for lack of blogging here. We were a bit preoccupied this month, and have some posts up at our company blog, an piece or two in Barista Magazine, and were, you know, working and stuff. But we still love writing about our coffee shop visits, so expect them to resume again regularly soon.
So long ago and far away, Neil and I were on vacation in Seattle. While we were there, we hit up some spots that we’ve yet to mention anywhere. And so, here we go.
The first thing we did when we visited Seattle was leave it. That was true the first time when we high-tailed it for Victoria, and once we got back we got right back in the road to Olympia. But there was a very special Michael Elvin there to visit!
And so visit we did, arriving just in time to slurp some new coffees on Olympia Coffee Roasting Company’s cupping table. Since we had managed to miss the visit to Espresso Parts during our trip across the country, Elvin was gracious enough to show us around the workshop, showroom, cafe and roastery. We also got to see the 5 group Darth Vader Linea getting souped up before it traveled to Japan. In the midst of such excess, we chatted about whether most cafes even needed a 3-group machine, really.
Elvin always manages to make espresso equipment modification and repair pretty interesting, so Neil was happy as a clam chatting about the ideal theoretical espresso grinder, wether complete pump pressure control is all it’s cracked up to be, and learning how to use an elvinator. We also got some delicious tacos out of the deal. Thanks again, Elvin & Terry!
Then we headed back to Seattle and to the newest Espresso Vivace on Capitol hill. Lovely as always, I was happy to see that the original spirit of the roastery on Denny was alive and well at the new space, along with some added features – like glass lined garage doors that open to the street.
On our trip, we also met Sarah Dooley, the lady in charge of The Coffee Enhancement Lounge at Visions Espresso. She gave us a tour of her new state-of-the art facility and as usual when we’re in the same room as other trainers we fell into chatting about the challenges of our work. We ended up staying well past closing time, but I was glad to have met my new partner in training, since we are now both teaching Coffee Solutions courses in our respective regions.
We also spent a fair amount if time in Ballard and Greenwood, my true home turf. A great stop we made in the NW corner of Seattle was visiting Will at Home Espresso Repair on Phinney Ridge. Will is a true Seattleite, who took on home espresso machine repair in the early nineties when he was working at one of the original Starbucks’ (University Village). Independently, HER has been around for over a decade and is full of great stories and funky espresso gadgetry. Perhaps the vest part was seeing the backyard, where bad espresso machines go to die! I highly recommend a visit to the shop.
We did a few other things, like visit Neptune Coffee and get ridiculously cheap banh mi in the international district. Bronwen Serna made us some unbelievable steamed mussels at her house on Queen Anne. I took Neil across a floating bridge and to the Ballard locks – but wait, what am I talking about? This is a coffee blog. So I’ll defer to my next coffee adventure.
This is Neil at the Locks, where he had a fun time watching water go up, water go down, and watching salmon jump.