I first walked by Mirage Coffee attracted by their bizarre sign which is of some woman who looks like the stereotypical Virgin Mary images you tend to see. Being that I live on Capital Hill, the home of everything wonderful and bizarre, I have seen my fair share of signage including those that border on anti-Christian sentiment. So naturally the first question that popped into my mind, did the owners have something against Christians? Even though the store was closed for the day the inside was rather dark and rather unappealing and for these reasons the place just did not look like anything worth going to investigate further.
Fast forward to the beginning of this month when I was in Victoria for another trip. Some friends of mine, also from Seattle, had been to Victoria the week before and they totally raved about Mirage. And of course me being to some extent sort of open minded guy, decided I was going to put this place on my list of coffee shops to visit. In fact I decided that was were I would go for my Sunday morning breakfast latte… so they’d better have good coffee!
So when I stepped into the place that Sunday morning, I was actually pleasantly surprised at how nice the inside looked compared to that I had imagined all these months. The decor was actually pretty comfortable and inviting with the warm, reddish and copper tones. I’ll speak more about the copper tones in a bit. There were a few people in there, a mixture of older and younger crowds, and some visitors from out of town who apparently had also heard about the place.
Now the copper tones I mentioned earlier were the two huge vintage style Elektra espresso machines they have sitting on the counter. These machines are really beautiful copper and brass machines that are styled to look like they are at least 60 years old!
So when I saw these machines, the first thought that came to my mind was Vivace! That is, Espresso Vivace up in the Capital Hill area. The original Vivace store location and roasting ‘plant’, which was torn down last year also had similar copper vintage style espresso machines on display. I don’t know what make/brand those were, but so seeing these ones at Mirage immediately made me think of the one at Vivace. And yes I know, Vivace’s actual original location was the espresso stand that’s still on Broadway.
I talked to the barista about these two machines and yes they do on occasion pull espresso shots from the larger machine. I tried to look up information about the machines and what I can tell you is that the larger machine is a part of the Belle Epoque range of espresso machines from Elektra. The other, smaller one is also an Elektra but I don’t know what make/model it is. This smaller one sits on top of the La Marzocco, which is their main espresso machine and is primarily for display purposes. Oh! how I would have loved to see the machines at work… well maybe next time I’m in town.
And what about the coffee? I actually though the coffee was pretty decent. Nice, strong and bold… I enjoyed it… so at least I didn’t feel like my Sunday morning latte was a waste. Their espresso blend does not have a specific name, but simply, Espresso Blend. I talked to Percy the owner and he told me that Mirage does roast their own beans. I however, do not know who the master roaster is. It first I assumed that it could have been Percy, but later when I when to their website, they did not give much specifics… and I didn’t realize this but they do have a number of other locations, a least four at the time of this writing. I suspect that these might be franchises. I visited the one on Government Street.
The one thing I did not really do was get a chance to enjoy their latte art which I guess they are really big into. They do have a picture of an Elephant latte art which I think is pretty incredible in itself…. like I said, maybe next time 🙂