Le Rêve Bakery Opens in Queen Anne

After weeks of anticipation, Le Rêve Bakery has finally opened in Queen Anne. The little French cafe features beautiful pastries, freshly made sandwiches and soups... but I went for the coffee. It isn't often I purposely go to a bakery to get my espresso, but since Le Rêve is one of the only places around town serving coffee from Olympia Coffee Roasters, I've been just as eagerly awaiting its opening as everyone else.

My introduction to Olympia Coffee Roasters came via sample of Colombia Finca la Florida, given to me at Coffee Fest, which I took home and made a mockery of with poor french pressing skills. The little roastery is producing some excellent coffee in our state's capital city, and in spite of my in-ability to properly press a coffee, Olympia's Colombia roast still earned my admiration.

As did Le Rêve. Set back from Queen Anne Avenue by a courtyard and porch, the bakery succeeds in creating an escape from the neighborhood. Walk in the door and you'll find yourself drawn away from the bustle of the street, into the pleasant busyness of the cafe, which lead barista Leah describes affectionately as "all family, all the time!" In fact, she doesn't seem to be far off in her assessment. Family and friends are already flocking to meet in this space, and it seems that every time the door swings open, someone already inside stands to greet the newcomer with excitement. Not knowing a soul in the place didn't make me feel any less welcomed, though. Le Rêve's owner went out of her way to say hello, and upon seeing that I was planning to pass up the pastries to order only espresso, shared her enthusiasm over their selection of Olympia's "Big Truck" blend, explaining that the philosophy behind choosing it had been to select a coffee whose quality would match the high quality of their pastries.

While there, I got into a discussion with barista Leah about "pre-infusion," or the technique they are using in brewing their espresso which allows the grounds to bloom for a certain amount of time before the shot is pulled. This enhances the flavor of the coffee, and after trying the espresso with, without, and then with several different lengths of pre-infusion, I was (once again!) amazed by the level of variation achievable with one coffee. With too little time, the shot tasted watery, yet burnt. Without any pre-infusion at all, it was a good coffee, with subtle flavor complexity. But time the pre-infusion and coordinate the length of shot with it correctly, and the coffee fairly sparkled, opening up into pomegranate and wine, intensely fruity and sweet, and not at all what I expected.

Newly opened, Le Rêve Bakery is admittedly still working out a few kinks on the espresso front, but keep an eye on them as they continue to learn and develop their relationship with Olympia Coffee. Queen Anne needs more excellent coffee shops, and although a bakery, Le Rêve is pretty clearly headed toward excellence in coffee.

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