© Siiri Sampson 2010. Sipping down the creamy smooth foam of a Cowen Park latte; sitting next to their fire place, now all you're missing
So you live in the city of coffee, eh? (How did that happen, anyhow?) Whether it's a big name chain that feeds your caffeine addiction every morning on the way to work, an espresso stand by the freeway with scantily clad college girls pulling double shots for tuition, or an independent neighborhood joint that knows you by drink and name, chances are you're looking for your next piping hot cup 'o Joe. For coffee-cupping snobs and everyday amateurs alike, let's dissect where to go when you need to get going.
© Siiri Sampson 2010. Sipping down the creamy smooth foam of a Cowen Park latte; sitting next to their fire place, now all you're missing are your fuzzy slippers.
5. All City Coffee, 1205 S. Vale St., Georgetown
Come for the coffee, stay for the urban art, dog parade and bring a book. The crowd at All City Coffee savors their lattes and doppios like the aficionados they are. The roast is bold, full flavored and consistent, and that sharp, bittersweet aroma will linger on your sweater for the rest of the day. There are plenty of treats to pair with your hot, new companion, but pick something that won't overshadow the depth of the bean. This coffee is good enough to drink without doctoring up.
4. Victrola Coffee & Art, 411 15th Ave. E., Capitol Hill
The combo of baristas, art, regulars and vintage patio chairs give this place the eclectic feel the locals have grown to love. And, oh boy, can you taste the love in every cup. The extensive time spent sourcing, testing and roasting each batch of brew is perfectly complimented by the scientific execution of their experienced army behind the counter. With artistic pouring, well rounded flavors, and consistent milk-to-Joe ratio, Victrola delivers an old standard you can depend on, without disappointment.
3. Cowen Park Café, 1217 NE Ravenna Blvd., Ravenna
For some reason, lattes just feel bigger at Cowen Park Café. Sitting next to their toasty fireplace, waiting for your breakfast to arrive, all you have to do is hold your cereal bowl-sized latte under your nose, and smell the roses, er, beans. The whole cup maintains a refined blend of café-colored bliss, never separating or getting thin, even on the final swig.
2. Uptown Espresso, 525 Queen Anne Ave. N., Queen Anne
It's not called the "Home of the velvet foam" for nothing. The best way to savor the mystifying, out-of-this-world velvety foam is at the original location, complete with the occasional curb-side crazy or two. Besides the art laden chalk board menus, old-world study vibe and "Almond Moos" for the kids, the classic, drop dead delicious lattes are hearty enough to almost be a meal (you decide if it should replace breakfast or dessert). Somehow they're able to get the nonfat to taste exactly the same as full fat, and they're not pulling any switcheroos, honestly. Leave the artistry to them and enjoy the luxurious lactose.
© Siiri Sampson 2010. Almost too picture perfect to drink, but totally worth ruining for your tastebuds (and impending caffeine withdrawl).
1. Stumptown Coffee Roasters, 1115 12th Ave., First Hill
Just a few years ago, this new kid in town popped up to share a taste of Portland with Seattle natives. Thank God it did. Stumptown sits in the middle of a Venn diagram surrounded by indie rockers, artists, college coeds and sophisticated professionals. It serves all of the above with one hell of a latte. Ousting a hometown favorite from the number one spot, this sixteen ounce mug of perfection smells as distinctive as it tastes. Mild and basic it is not, with flavor profiles spanning Indonesia all the way to Panama (to name only a couple). The 12th Avenue crew grinds it, pulls it and steams it to highlight the best each bean has to offer, so if you have particular likes (floral?), dislikes (acidic?), or curiosities about where to start, ask before your order, there's a jolt for every palette. This latte might be life-changing, or at the very least make you to drive an extra five minutes out of your way.