The Seattle Weekly

Visit for coffee on Mondays, at The Seattle Weekly.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

and I'd had too much caffeine

Four-odd centuries worth of motets later, 9:00 on a Saturday night finds me sitting in a little coffee establishment in the Queen Anne neighborhood, listening to a room full of people, who have materialized out of nowhere and apparently all know each other, loudly sing Marcy Playground. Today was an interesting day in coffee.

I started out at Lighthouse Coffee in Fremont, which I'd heard good things about. While I'm forced to admit that a persistent sinus infection seems to be interfering with my sense of taste, I was unimpressed. Aside from an unforgivable lack of wifi, an awkwardly arranged room, and a distracting selection of bebop jazz... I just didn't find their coffee (or their options for in-house mugs) interesting. It is worth noting, I suppose, that fellow coffee-lover (with more training than I) Kyle showed up to have a cappuccino with me and says my assessment of the situation is overly harsh. But there you have it.

Wandering on from there, I have been, since about five and half hours ago, sitting at a little table in a little place called "El Diablo" on upper Queen Anne Avenue. It's bright. It's full of people studying. It's got decent coffee. And before the band showed up, I actually got quite a bit of work done. The selling feature here, though, is not the (Cuban origin) espresso, not the abundance of exuberant art, not the live music, not the wifi, and not even the mango salsa. No, it is the mug in which my orange-ginger-mint tea resides. A good mug is essential to a good beverage experience, and yet good mugs are few and far between.

This particular one is shaped exactly right to fit in hand, cheerfully blue and yellow, and an ideal thickness for insulating the drink without being cumbersome for drinking. I'm not sure what it says about the coffee shop that this is what I'm taking away from the day, but... it can't be a bad thing.

Hmm. Now off to see if I can remember where I parked my car.

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