Visions Espresso‘s Coffee Enhancement Lounge will be hosting round 3 of Barista Round Table, an interactive and highly involved forum for coffee professionals – managers, baristas, roasters, techs, et al. Wonderfully hosted by Sarah Dooley and Jared Mockli, the BRT is a means for all to come together, unencumbered, and simply geek out on all things coffee.
While some may argue that Seattle’s coffee scene has been lagging behind other progressive specialty coffee markets such as SF, NYC, and Portland, it does not necessarily represent all of us here in Seattle. Granted, there are indeed plenty of people (consumers and professionals alike) ok with the status quo of dark(er) roasted coffees or mysterious blends and defend tirelessly of Seattle’s “coffee city” repute. At the same time, however, there are also many of us that are actively working to further our understanding and appreciation of specialty coffee, collaborating with each other as well as many other leading establishments elsewhere. BRT is such a place where these people come together.
Perhaps it is a confluence of the economy, bad public policy, stagnant demand, a dash of complacency, and Seattle’s passive aggressive culture that have discouraged many progressive Third Wave cafes from opening up. Nonetheless, there are a handful of relatively new (within the past 1-2 years or so) and excellent places that are worthy of at least a visit by the most discerning amongst us.
- Urban Coffee Lounge – Baristas Andrew and Laila came in 2nd and 3rd at 2010 NWRBC. Features Stumptown coffee prepared with care and precision.
- Zoka Kirkland – Their new cafe is a daring departure, with two machines (one dedicated to single origin espressos) in a sexy urban setting.
- Tougo Coffee – Serves Stumptown and Ritual (only place in Seattle!).
- Dubsea Coffee – New cafe serving Stumptown coffee, bringing specialty coffee to an area of town (White Center) not previously accustomed to specialty coffee.
- Stumptown Seattle – Always pushing the quality above all else, of course.
- Makeda Coffee – Little shop in a sleepy neighborhood of Phinney Ridge, serving Seven Roasters coffee
This is not a comprehensive list of course (let’s not forget Aster, Trabant, and many more but keeping it short here to get to the point). Perhaps it is due to Seattle’s inherent culture of understatedness and avoidance of attracting attention to oneself that most of these establishments are not very well known (Zoka and Stumptown notwithstanding).
The point is, the BRT is a manifestation of the kind of progressive efforts a dedicated group of us in Seattle are actively pursuing. If you’re in town, this is your chance to geek out.