Matty’s Pacific Northwest Coffee Adventures: Part One

Seattle, as viewed from Elliott Bay

see Part 2 and Part 3

Just back from a family vacation in the Pacific Northwest. Of course I drank a lot of coffee. As when I did my coffee tour of Denver three years ago, I ordered a traditional macchiato at each stop rather than my usual quad shot version. This kept my body in check on those days when I had three or four coffees. So let’s get to it!

First Stop: Seattle

We flew into Seattle to start the trip and stayed downtown. Very walkable center of the city, though hillier than I expected. And I was struck that everyone obeyed crosswalk signs, even if there wasn’t a car in sight. As a lifelong jaywalker this took some getting used to.

Sightseeing highlights included the Fremont Troll,

the Seattle Art Museum, a hike through Discovery Park, lots of great food, Pike Place Market (no, we didn’t have fish thrown at us), and a sailboat trip out into Elliott Bay.

Here’s a quick hit coffee breakdown:

First coffee of the trip was at Victrola Coffee Roasters‘ downtown café. The macchiato was fantastic, nice smooth balanced flavor, making for a wonderful start to the coffee portion of the trip.

Next was Caffe Ladro, Union Street location across from the Seattle Art Museum. Nothing special, relatively bland and leaning toward overly roasted.

Monorail Espresso‘s Pike Street outlet is a tiny storefront serving out a window to the sidewalk. A table or two at the curb if you want to enjoy your coffee on site. Spunky baristas, another excellent macchiato made right. Nice branding, too.

Caffeinated Coffee, near the Space Needle. The shop is a labor of love for its owner/barista, who clearly has a lot of technical knowledge. Beans are from Fidalgo Roasters. Toning back the roasting just a little bit would improve what is otherwise a decent coffee.

Fremont Coffee Company, a very comfortable neighborhood café, this was another really good macchiato. If you’re in the neighborhood, don’t miss the Troll, and grab a meal a couple doors down from the café at Local Tide.

the amateurish photo quality we all aspire to achieve

People were lined up at the downtown outlet of Anchorhead Coffee before it opened at 8am. Beautiful, modern café. People working here clearly knew what they were doing. I wanted to love it, but I just didn’t. The flavor of my macchiato just wasn’t very good, bitter and over roasted.

So if I had to pick the best coffee I had in Seattle, it would be a tossup between Monorail and Victrola.

We headed out of Seattle by train, headed to Portland. We took a midday stop to visit friends in Olympia, the state capital. Lovely town. Our friends picked the coffee shops, we stopped on arrival at Dancing Goats Coffee at the Farmers Market, and then after lunch hit the Dancing Goats outlet downtown. The chain is an offshoot of roasters Batdorf & Bronson. Loved the aesthetic of the shops and their branding, did not like the coffee. Tasted watery and lacked flavor. I picked up a single serving pouch of the same Dancing Goats blend they were serving, and when I made that at our AirBnB it also came out watery and bland.

Next up in part two: the Oregon leg of the trip.

2 thoughts on “Matty’s Pacific Northwest Coffee Adventures: Part One”

  1. Damn – love the DG signage and so wished for youz a cool sweatshirt or bb cap to compliment the “best brew” but as always, you see past the shiney stuff when it comes to great tasting coffee. Too bad. Their loss.

  2. yeah, if their coffee was anywhere near as good as their branding they would really have something special

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