Morning Espresso at Tutta Bella

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I don’t normally go to Columbia City often… but there are three main reasons I go there. 1. Whenever the latest Harry Potter movie comes out, we go to the Columbia City theater. 2. During the summer for the Columbia City art work and 3. For great pizza at Tutta Bella. Then there’s the forth reason that I will pass by and that is to go to the Department of Licensing… which just happens to be the reason I recently found myself going there first thing in the morning. It was on the way back from the DOL that I planned to stop at one of the coffee shops in Colombia City before heading on to work and so as I was driving through the main street, I noticed the signage advertising Attibassi Espresso right next to Tutta Bella’s signage. Since I had never heard of Attibassi before and I’m always looking to try out a new espresso roast and/or blend, I knew I had to stop and get my morning latte there. It was only after I stepped into the ‘coffee shop’ that I realized, “wait, this is Tutta Bella“.

It was a bit of a surprise to find the place open with a full on espresso bar and pastries (which looked really good I might add). Nonetheless, there were already a few folks getting their morning coffee and goodies.

I talked to the barista a bit about the coffee. What he told me was that Tutta Bella actually import their coffee beans all the way from Bologna Italy and they get in shipments a couple of times a week. This I found to be interesting, that Tutta Bella, unlike most of the establishments in Seattle that serve coffee, does not source their roasted coffee beans from local Seattle area companies but from Attibbassi, the Italian coffee roasting company from the region of Bologna. This was great cause I rarely do get to try European coffee so this was awesome.

One thing that was a bit worrisome was that the barista didn’t know what blend the coffee espresso he was serving was. I tried to explain but be kept thinking I was talking about the company. From what I was able to find from the Attibassi website, there are two espresso blends they roast. These are “Espresso Italiano” and “Espresso Italiano Crema d’oro”. I suspect that Tutta Bella serves the former.

Overall, the coffee was pretty decent. It was a nice Italian roast, medium, pretty soft. The only thing I didn’t like was that it was a tad, just a tad too mild… and they did not have raw sugar so I had to use regular white sugar which I generally only use when I have no other choice. Overall, I would certainly go back for another latte… and this time get a pastry too. I guess they now open at 6:00 am for morning espresso and pastries and I think serve a great need for those in Columbia City

As a side note, Attibassi was founded in 1918 by two Italians, Mr Agostino Atti and Mr. Marco Bassi and hence the name, Attibassi.

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6 Comments Add yours

  1. Sean Kelly says:

    Did you have the drip or the espresso?
    If it was the drip, then you are right, it is pretty decent. It is good, but the espresso is worth making a trip to Tutta Bella

    The espresso has a beautiful crema, rich body, and is served in a porcelain demitasse with a glass of fizzy mineral water to cleanse the palate. Unlike most espresso shops and chains, at Tutta Bella I have never detected bitter or harsh notes, only smooth chocolate and caramel. The pastries are smaller than the coffee shop standard, but the prices reflect the reduced volume and they are fresher and more flavor than you will find elsewhere.

    One word of note, Tutta Bella does not sling coffee like a certain mermaid emblazoned local chain. It takes a few minutes to get your espresso, but taking a moment to prepare such a fine beverage is the way it is done in Italy, and when it comes to the pleasures of the table, that is a nation wise eaters look to.

    I wish I was there right now…

  2. andai says:

    I had the espresso… or more accurately, I had a latte. I haven’t yet gotten to the stage where I can drink straight espresso shots without adding sugar… and adding sugar I think totally spoils it. That is something I am working on especially since I am thinking that I need to cut back on my dairy… I drink way too much milk….

    The problem with lattes is that milk also influences the taste, so even though the barista may make a great latte in theory, a bad brand of milk can spoil everything… and if the barista can make a pretty strong latte, that will help counter the milk effect..

    but I will certainly go back to Tutta Bella for another latte… or even try an espresso… or doppio if I feel up to the challenge…

  3. Sean Kelly says:

    Andai, sugar in espresso is OK. The Italians drink it that way. That’s how I roll.

    (FYI: the Masai drink 5-7 quarts of whole milk a day and are very healthy)

  4. andai says:

    Now I feel better… I will certainly place my order and add sugar to it. I think this will be interesting because many places will make a decent latte, but few will actually make a good doppio

    oh but the Masai also mix the milk with cow blood too 🙂 Not sure that I’ll be going there…

  5. JWD says:

    Dear Andai,

    I see from the date stamp on your blog I am some months behind your experience, but still wanted to take the time to answer your espresso blend question.

    Tutta Bella uses Attibassi espresso that is a 50% Robusta and 50% Arabica blend in our restaurants. We also sell whole bean and ground espresso retail, so that everyone can enjoy Attibassi at home as well. Our retail blend is slightly different to accommodate for residential grade grinders.

    Our morning espresso program did go through a few growing pains in the beginning of 2009, but I would highly encourage you to stop in on your next trip to the DOL or any morning you would like to have a handcrafted espresso or latte made by Giovanni weekdays or Rachel on the weekend, two of our very experienced baristas.

    I can also promise we will have raw sugar for you. I’m not sure why it wasn’t available before, but we do carry raw sugar, white sugar and Splenda regularly.

    Hope to see you soon.
    Ciao,

    JWD
    Former Barista
    Tutta Bella Neapolitan Pizzeria

  6. Tom says:

    Bologna is one of the most amazing places in Italy!

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