At this present moment, I am curled up on the couch at Makeda Coffee in Phinney Ridge, wearing both sweater and scarf, eating rice pudding, sipping espresso, and enjoying Seattle's summer. It has been years since the fickleness of Northwest weather could astonish me. In contrast, I never cease to be amazed by the depth of possibility in coffee shop atmospheres or the chameleonic variation of coffee across the flavor spectrum. One would think, if one drank enough coffee (which this one does), the point where "X-roaster espresso tastes just like Y-roaster espresso," would be reached and reviews would become circular.
(The littlest espresso.)
At least to date, it doesn't happen. Sure, all coffees have similarities (they are, after all, coffee), but each and every variable from growing region to roasting time to brewing temperature drastically impacts the profile of the final product. Consequently, after years of drinking several cups of coffee a day, a person still has the casual option of tasting a coffee unlike any they've tasted before. Rather incredible, when you think about it.
Makeda Coffee serves coffee from Seven Coffee Roasters, which is a new to my coffee vocabulary - another marvel in the coffee world: the ever expanding number of roasteries. Unique to Seven's espresso blend are the inclusion of a sweet Mexican Chiapas, a comparatively light roast, and a lower acidity content, giving the espresso a lingering hint of maple and lemon. Floral notes more common in single origin coffees and less frequently identifiable in espresso blends sneak through as well, particularly in the scent. Overall, the resulting coffee is one I would characterize as nothing but pleasant. Pleasant on the order of a summer picnic, and thus particularly pleasant in its friendly, light elements on this dreary and drizzling summer day.
If you're looking for a place to write or study, know that there is a limited amount of table space at Makeda. The wireless is great, the music is relaxing, and it's not difficult to focus, but if you were planning to work on anything that required spreading out, there simply isn't room. Come for coffee with a friend instead, or on a rainy day to write poetry or blog. Makeda is a good muse.