There is something about coffee and books that just fits. Perhaps it is because so many of us discover our desperate love for coffee during the long, late hours that accompany college finals. Perhaps it is the calming, ritualistic nature of the beverage, or its traditional portrayal as appropriate accessory to reading the morning paper. Whatever the origin, it's an easy association to forget after leaving academia and dragging coffee with us into the rush of everyday work, while relegating things like "reading" to the few minutes before sleep, when caffeine simply isn't suitable. But it's also an association worth occasionally remembering, if for no other reason than to give imagination a nudge and recall a moment when our attention was captured by something without High-Def.
I found myself moved to contemplate this connection anew at All City Coffee over the weekend. Not that the environment discourages social gatherings and conversation, but there is something distinctly library-esque about it. With, perhaps, a hint of used bookstore cafe thrown in. The little tables and chairs resemble desks, all pushed to one side of the room, away from the flow of traffic between door and bar. It is actually possible to sit here and read, with minimal distraction.The cafe baristas are great: good-humored, serious about their coffee, and inclined to share knowledge freely. My americano, served in a stout, practical mug, was curious for Caffe Vita - the coffee All City serves. Stronger than I can recall a cup of Vita ever being, and for no immediately apparent reason. (I will be making my way to a Caffe Vita proper within the week, to see if I'm imagining things.) Rich but mellow, with a classic coffee flavor about it (slightly sharp to the center of the tongue, and inclined to linger), the del Sol espresso centers around dark chocolate, caramel, and pecan, cooling toward non-fruity berries, such as ripe blackberry... all of its flavors, sweet and dense.
Georgetown, its own city in the early 1900's, has never really been fully assimilated into Seattle culture. Nor truly settled into any single dynamic on its own, either. A residential neighborhood etched around old, artistically reclaimed buildings on the edges of heavy industrial influence, Georgetown is home to art galleries and saloons, record shops, the occasional high-end restaurant, roasteries and bakeries scattered here and there, and this unshakeable feeling that you may, at any moment, witness a tumbleweed passing by. Unlike Seattle's harried forward motion, Georgetown walks a more sensible pace. I am usually the only person I notice being in a hurry.
Getting back to the origin of the coffee blog, allow me me to say this: If you are a student, the fact of the matter is that finals are staring villainously in your direction right now. Set aside some time, get away from your normal routine, and visit a place like All City in Georgetown with whichever reading it is you just can't quite seem to get through. Speaking from excessive student experience, I am willing to bet it will help.
Aside from which, All City Coffee's was recently named one of the Top 5 lattes in the city by Seattle Weekly's Siiri Sampson. So there you have it from two of us that this one is worth checking out.