I really like Stella Caffé. It has to be one of my top five favorite coffeehouses in Seattle. The only problem for me though is that I just don’t find myself too often hanging out in the area around the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) which is the next block over, north of Stella Caffé’s retail location. But I certainly do make the effort to get there when I happen to be in the area.
I first heard about Stella Caffé from a workmate (lets call her A), who had heard about the place from another workmate (lets call him B). Workmate “A”, knowing that I am always looking for new and interesting coffee shops to try out told me how workmate “B” just wouldn’t stop raving about the Roman coffee that he would always get at the shop. The only thing here was they workmate “A” could not remember the name of the shop and exactly where it was located. I did talk to “B” and though he told me the general area where the store was located, he could not remember the actual name of the shop.
It was happenstance that a three or four weeks later I happened to stumble upon this coffeehouse looking store. I was a bit taken back because for as long as I could remember, that particular store was a clothing store, but now as I was walking right by it, it looked like a coffee shop. Clearly the previous business was no longer located at this space. And of course you know me, I just had to go in and check out the place.
From the moment I stepped into the store, I loved it. The decor reminded me of an Italian style coffee shop, and had a bit of the essence of Mirage Coffee down in Victoria BC… but just a bit. I loved the fact that they actually had a real espresso bar where you could stand and enjoy your espresso… that is if you weren’t interested in sitting down. I liked the Vespa they had parked in the window, and the other bike they had in the large, mostly empty room they had in the back. I really, really liked the fact that the pictures on the wall were not from “yet another artist selling their works”, but were pictures that were shot by Rob’s wife in Italy. Beautiful pictures of Italian coffee culture. Before I continue, maybe I should take a moment and introduce you to Rob.
Meet Rob. Rob Wilson. He is the owner of Stella Caffé, is a pretty cool guy and very interesting to chat with. We chatted for a while about how he came into the coffee business and told me about his stints in Australia and in Italy. It was in Italy where he was inspired to come back to the US and open a proper Italian style coffeehouse, serving world class authentic Italian coffee and give Seattlites a more authentic Italian style coffee experience. You can read more about his foreign experiences in this Seattle Times article by Melissa Allison and Amy Martinez.
Rob roasts his own coffee beans… and I must say that he does a really great job. As we were chatting, me made me great latte. It was nice and strong with really great flavor. The blend that they serve for the espresso drinks is called the Suprema blend… that’s good stuff right there.
I then had to ask him about the Roman coffee. At first he seemed a little confused then he asked me whether I was talking about the Roman Cappuccino, not the Roman coffee. I told him that must have been it… considering that the “B” couldn’t remember the name, Stella Caffé, it was highly probable that “B” also got the name a little mixed up. Anyway, Rob told me a bit about the Roman Cappuccino and offered to make me one. Since I already had a latte, I declined his offer but suggested that next time I was in the place, I would take him up on his offer… and that I did a couple of weeks later. I thought the Roman cappuccino was great.. though I don’t normally drink cappuccinos, I understand why “B” totally loved to drink.
I think Rod and his baristas are great. He does a great job of chatting with and getting to know his customers. While the baristas are friendly and seem to be genuine and they do a great job with the drinks.
I have to say that I like the place, been there on more than a couple of occasions and I still plan on dropping by for an espresso drink whenever I am in the vicinity.