Fuel Coffee in Seattle, WA
Often times, when I tell people I live in Seattle, their reaction is usually a combination of assumptions about non-stop rain, suicide rates, and that everyone listens to grunge music & wears fleece. Sure, there’s some truth to some of those things (except suicide rates, that’s a total myth), but there’s one reputation we have that I am very proud to boast: we have the best coffee in the USA. Period. Not Austin. Not Portland. No, not NYC. Sound a little biased, do I?
It’s true. There’s so much more to our coffee culture than the green and white mermaid cup you can buy in any city in the world. Seattle is peppered with artisan spots in every corner of every neighborhood. Whether it’s the espresso, baked goods, or friendly barista-next-door, each one has its own unique way to make you never want to leave. In the spirit of Get Out There, I decided to explore a Seattle Coffee Gem- Fuel Coffee. The endless choices of artisan coffee in Seattle can be a double-edged sword. There are so many great shops that it’s almost impossible to make the time to visit them all. But on a beautiful and cold autumn evening, there was no better place for me to spend my time last week than Fuel.
The Perfect Latte
Fuel Coffee was started about ten years ago by entrepreneur Dani Cone. That’s right, a woman-owned coffee company. She got her chops as a barista at the Seattle coffee icon Cafe Vita. From there, Dani went on to open three of her own coffee shops, bakery High 5 Pie (you can get pie with your coffee!) and general stores Cone & Steiner.
My wife, Sarah, and I visited their spot in the Capitol Hill neighborhood in Seattle. Fuel is that quintessential neighborhood coffee shop. When we walked through the door, it was bustling with folks intently focused on work and study, laptops propped open and textbooks in hand. One women, tucked in the corner, was slowly enjoying her cup while knitting a scarf. Just her presence gave me permission to slow down and be present for a moment. That is what this place does to you.
Busy at work: Fuel Coffee Manager Scott Cayton
I got the opportunity to chat with their manager, Scott Cayton. He showed me all the tools and practices they use to ensure that perfect cup. First the beans; Cafe Vita remains a good friend of Dani and they supply a special roast of beans just for Fuel Coffee. Every barista carefully takes the time and practices patience to create a consistent and pure espresso drink every time. And then there's the “slow bar.” The gadgets get really serious here. They start with Cafe Vita’s single origin roasts (Scott’s favorite is Ethiopian Yirgacheffe) and then use methods such as AeroPress and Pour Over brewing to extract the most layers of flavor from every bean.
I sipped on a latte while Sarah enjoyed her Mocha in a mug. My latte had subtle aromas of caramel, vanilla, cocoa and a bit of toasted almond. The milk added a slightly creamy finish. And to top it off, Scott finished the drink with beautiful leaf art. Who doesn’t love that? If just for a short moment, we were able to sit back and talk. No phones or other distractions. We slowly savored our cups and got caught up on the week. It was simply delightful. One of the last things I asked Scott was what he loved most about the shop. He said it was the customers. He had the pleasure of serving a small neighborhood of families, artists and professionals. He described Fuel as the welcome wagon to this community. And I couldn’t agree more.