If the tongue-in-cheek staff bios, the colorful mission statement, or the laugh-filled video of its Bellevue store is any indication, Seattle Coffee Gear is run by happy folks. And why wouldn't it be? With two retail locations and a wealth of bright, accessibly written online resources, the company clearly loves coffee and has plenty of energy with which to share that passion. Should they choose, shoppers visiting the stores encounter interactive experiences. They can test over 80 espresso and coffee machine models, learn how to whip up the perfect latte, or put a leash around whatever floating cloud of frothed milk that they want to take home. The stores' new and refurbished gear ranges from simple electric kettles to restaurant-grade, multi-cup espresso machines. An on-staff team of technicians also maintains and repairs the machines that java fans bring in.
The founders of Salud Whisky & Wine Bar have turned their passion for spirits into a massive collection?one that includes more than 125 wines and 150 whiskies. The bar's inventory features products from around the globe, but focuses primarily on wines and whiskies that have been crafted or grown in Washington. Visitors can dip into both selections on a daily basis, all while soaking up recommendations from Salud's wine- and whisky-wise staff. They can also try out the bar's own barrel-aged cocktails: pre-mixed drinks that have gone through the same aging process as other distilled spirits in order to alter their character and flavor.
Local artwork adorns the walls within Java Zombie, a Kirkland café with an ambience as cozy and comforting as a pantsuit sewn from deconstructed teddy bears. Baristas here brew Vivace espresso, steam milk for lattes, and top rich hot chocolate with dollops of whipped cream.
In the morning, patrons can sink teeth into breakfast sandwiches and burritos. Later in the day, the focus turns to gourmet sandwiches made with Boar's Head meats and artisanal breads from The Essential Baking Company. The menu also includes vegetarian and vegan options and gluten-free pastries from Stone Layne. Free WiFi signals drift through the air, and bands play live music during special events.
At locations dotted all over the Pacific Northwest, Black Rock Coffee Bar’s baristas dazzle patrons' taste buds with their simple and elaborate coffee creations. Served in ink-black cups emblazoned with their understated lowercase logo and red stars, their hot drinks range from brewed coffee to chai-tea lattes to flavored mochas. The baristas infuse the mochas with extras—including white chocolate and caramel to create the caramel blondie and hazelnut to concoct the blackout mocha, which, unfortunately, will not make you black out for the entire workday. On the chilly side of the menu, their blended drinks include shake-like delights made sweeter with Oreos, mint chips, and chai, as well as smoothies and icy coffee granitas.
Cherry Street Coffee House displays local art, hosts live music, and holds events at each of its locations. Steam rises from blends of house coffees, forming the shape of perfume bottles that spritz the cafes with the aromas of Brazil nuts and dark cocoa. A medley of coffee beans from Papua New Guinea and Central and South America flavor the signature espresso, which guests can enjoy in between bites of house-made breakfast bagels, quiche, pastries, sandwiches, soups, and salads. Cherry Street's kitchen staff supplies a list of ingredients, highlighting which vibrant dishes are vegan, contain dairy and nuts, or plan to transform into dairy and nuts.
Cintli Latin Folklore's roots are in Zapopan, Mexico. That's where entrepreneurs Sergio Cueva and Beto Yarce discovered Cintli, a jewelry store they admired that sold silver pieces. Inspired by that store's bond with local artisans, the duo decided to open a Cintli branch in Pike Place Market, calling it Cintli by Beto Yarce.
But jewelry and knickknacks alone only convey so much culture, which is why Yarce and his business partner, Rafael Sanchez, branched out again and opened Cintli Latin Folklore, a cafe that works with local businesses such as Stumptown Coffee Roasters, Rapanui, El Chito, and Leticia to serve authentic Latin American food and drink. Their signature coffee drinks, such as the Mayan Mocha ,warm hands up on chilly afternoons and their empanadas and Oaxacan-style tamales are filled with ingredients such as chicken mole. The cafe's colorful walls are covered in crosses, figurines, and ornaments, and on some nights, Latin folk bands and singers come to perform.