The last week was supposed to be a vacation, but I'm wiped out. Mainly from the travel schedule I put myself through, but hey, I'm young. Like I've said before, watch out Portland, stuff is on the move... everywhere. From Duane & Co. creeping North to Kevin and Billy moving a bit south... everyone is expanding and pushing things further forward! Heck yes.
I can honestly say that in my entire trip I had only one undesirable espresso... And I consumed somewhere around 30 doubles in the week I was there. Seattle was the high point, where I consumed around 8. Seattle is dormant, there's no doubt about that. Beyond the Stumptown crew, you don't really hear too much about what's happening up there. By the way, on the trip were some great friends! Bridgetta from Lava Java is a rad chick. She's been around the LJ for a good while, but we never really worked together much because just as I was hired, she took off to Mexico for a year. Then, just as I decided to move, she comes back. Ridiculous. Then, Ashley Raugh, who also worked at Lava Java joined us as well. Ashley is also a hair master at a salon near LJ, and she is the only person I will let cut my hair. She's that good. Ashley's good friend, and someone who I made many-a Honey-Vanilla latte for at Crema, Kelsey, joined us as well.
We stopped in at Batdorf & Bronson on the way up. It's always a decent mid point on the way, and I like to support the fact that they own a Clover. So, that's what I generally choose. This time my pic was their Harar... a bit disappointingly flat, but not bad. Still quality.
Once we arrived in Seattle, our first choice for coffee was Vivace. I had a decent double and a cafe Nico. The Nico never ceases to make me smile. Anyone can drink it. For the coffee fanatic it's candy, for the newb, it's a mini-S-buck kinda flavor. Jeremy Summer from Hotwire met my friends and I there. Jeremy and I met first in Charlotte last year. He's a cool cat who never ceases to amaze me with how laid back he can be.
After some catching up, Jeremy lead us to the new Victrola. The space is wonderful. Reminds me of Crema. Very open, very bright. The 3 group Synesso is a beaut. I enjoyed the roasting works being visible throughout the entire space. There is also a large window showcasing the cupping room. The barista mentioned they are still working on a new blend for the cafe. I really enjoyed it. It had one of the nicest spicy/sweet finishes I've had in a while.
Post-Victrola, we busted out to the University Zoka. It was surprisingly quiet in the space. Spring break I guess. Had a double. It was ok. The fun part was seeing the old school pictures of Jenn Prince on the wall. Even better was seeing the Seattle Times article on Phoung framed on the back wall. Go boss.
We visited Trabant as well. This was a first for me. They are working on the space, but the coffee was well pulled. It was cool to walk in and see the new Intelly packaging. Oh, how I love the packaging. Smile... Anyway, the double Black Cat I had was lovely. One of the better I've had in a bit.
The Seattle trip wrapped up in a visit to Cupcake Royale. This place is cool. It was the first Stumptown wholesale account in Seattle. I had already cut myself off from coffee at this point, but the cupcake made me smile!
Well, I'd go on about the rest of my trip, but this is long enough... if you get a chance, head over to Billy's blog (myspace.com/xristrettox) and catch the video clip of a documentary on the barista competitions. It's well done. I really liked it... and make sure to note my good friend, Philip Surge... Peace. Love. Coffee.