Coffee Shop Review – Monorail Espresso

I love this little stand; it’s in Seattle and it is pretty close to the hotel where my girlfriend and I were staying when we went out to Seattle and Portland last summer. During the trip I got to go to a bunch of great local places such as Stumptown in Portland (review coming soon, promise!) but this counter was definitely one of my favorites. I probably went there a half dozen times during the three days that we were in Seattle and got to try their espressos, machiattos and lattes, and all were consistently excellent (not sure what their basic coffee was like, I was kind of on an espresso and espresso based beverage binge at that time). 

While the coffee was excellent, I have to say the thing I most liked about this place was the setting. A beautiful part of downtown Seattle, tables out on the street, all the fresh air coming off of Puget Sound. It was a very special experience that no independent coffee shop has ever quite matched. If anything, the nearest thing to this was getting coffee from Blue Bottle at the Ferry Terminal Farmers Market in San Francisco. I also really liked the fact that this is a place that knows what it is: an espresso counter. It’s not a place to linger over a twenty ounce latte, but a place to get your drink, stand at the metal counter, either sip it or drink it in one gulp (in the case of espresso) and get on with your day. What an experience; I will say that this place is 180 degrees from some café’s I’ve been to elsewhere. There are just so many places that focus on the “coffee house experience,” complete with couches and fireplaces, that completely ignores the fundamental reason for their existence: to serve coffee.

I can honestly say that I miss this place. While Stumptown is excellent, and I’ll be writing more about it soon, I don’t miss it the same way that I miss this little stand. I will definitely be back.

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