Espresso Vivace

Overall Rating: 7.900

Address: 321 Broadway Ave. E
Cross Street(s): Harrison St. E
City, State ZIP: Seattle, WA 98102
Neighborhood: Capitol Hill
Phone: None
Hours: Su-Sa 6am-11pm
Type of Establishment: Espresso Bar (Chain)
Cafe Rating: 7.00
Barista: 9
Savvy: 9
Ambiance: 4
Presentation: 6
Consistency: N/A
Espresso Machine: Synesso
Coffee Rating: 8.80
Aroma: 9
Body: 9
Brightness: 9
Crema: 9
Flavor: 9
Taster's Correction: -1.0
Size: S
Primary Taste: Pungent
Coffee Beans: Espresso Vivace Roasteria
Cup Manufacturer: Tognana
Price: $2.00
Last Update: 05/17/2010
First Reviewed: 05/17/2010
Notes: Kiosk; Coffee Sales; Outdoor Seating

The subtitle for the location is "A sidewalk espresso bar," which it most certainly is. We normally have more than a few gripes about sidewalk coffee kiosks, but this one is different. It isn't just a cynical way to collect cash from customers who love "quaint" while you offer them no amenities in a low-rent space. They have four metal tables with chairs along the front sidewalk (three with parasols), turn up the Johnny Cash music, and offer some fantastic espresso - the best we had in our Seattle trip. The barista knows his customers, and they use a three-group Synesso machine to pull shots with a rich, speckled dark crema. It's the infamous Vivace crema that goes from highly textured to dissipating to nothing if you don't drink it fast enough. Served as an extremely short ristretto, the shot has a full, rounded, potent flavor with an emphasis on herbal notes in a concentrated shot. There are also cloves and a real layer of sweetness. It also comes with a very robust aroma. Served in a saucerless logo Tognana cup - as explicitly advertised on their drink menu. Brilliant, even if along some of the sketchier sections of Broadway Ave.