Seattle’s eclectic roster of roasteries offers the best reflections of what’s brewing locally, be it buzzworthy neighbourhoods or cultural styles. Look no further than cool Caffé Vita, owned by Mike McConnell, a local kid who discovered the allure of good coffee during his challenging formative years.
“In the 80’s we used to save up our money and go drink espresso at the Nordstrom Coffee Bar,” he recalls, “a bunch of ragged teenagers with unintentionally ripped jeans sampling Italian coffees in a high end department store.”
McConnell’s flagship Caffé Vita sits on Pike Street, smack in the middle of the Pike-Pine Corridor, Seattle’s most dynamic district. The minimalist ambience reflects its founder; the baristas tattooed and pierced, the music loud, the coffee outrageously good.
Like Seattle’s grunge music movement, when musicians routinely sat in with other bands, Seattle’s espresso culture remains a cooperative affair. McConnell credits Espresso Vivace’s David Schomer with teaching him the trade and encouraging him to strike out on his own right around the corner.