Palazzo Coffee

Palazzo is a tiny, tiny coffee shop in Wallingford. This is one of those places that you can easily drive right by and not even notice. It is also one of those things where by I would drive by, usually on the weekends, and especially Sundays, and the place was always closed. In fact for the longest time I thought that the place had actually gone out of business and they never bothered to actually take down the sign.

So imagine my delight when I happened to drive by Palazzo and they were actually open. This was on a weekday lunch time and I was actually on my way to the Ballard area to my appointment. As always, as I drove by I looked to see if the place was open, and indeed it was. Then I thought about the coffee I was going to be offered by the office administrator at the office. Their coffee is pretty bad and so whenever I visit them, I would normally pass by some coffee shop to get an espresso drink. This time around I noticed that Palazzo was actually open. I knew that if I did not stop and get a latte, I may not have another chance to since it was pretty clear to me that I seem to pass by during their after hours.

And so I dropped in.

The inside was really tiny… did I mention before the place was tiny? But it was also cozy. There were a group of older folks there enjoying coffee and conversation. In fact it totally reminded me of what I would expect to see if I went to a small espresso bar in a small Italian town. The owner was behind the counter and he is the one who both took my order and pulled the espresso to make my latte.

He was actually pretty cool to chat with. He told me that they do roast their own coffee, right there in the shop. I think he said that they do so daily, I can’t quite remember, but I do know that they roast their beans pretty regularly so the coffee is always relatively fresh roasted. He also told me that they primarily use South American coffee beans. I asked him why he did not also use beans from East African, i.e. Kenya and Ethiopia? He agreed that the coffee from East Africa was really high quality but it was also really expensive. In other words using those beans would certainly drive up the his costs and the final prices of his coffee.

Since I was in a hurry, I couldn’t hang around and chat, so I picked up my latte and headed on my way, savoring my latte as I drove to my appointment. I must say I liked the latte. It was nice and strong, just the way I like it, with great taste and flavor. As I was drinking I was thinking how I wished I had been able to try out the coffee more often… but alas, I don’t think I will have the opportunity to go back now that I am getting ready to leave Seattle in a week’s time. But I would certainly encourage you espresso lovers out there to go check out Palazzo and let me know what you think 🙂

The Diva Espresso on Greenwood

Espresso Diva, originally uploaded by andai.

I know a couple of folks who love going to get their espresso drinks at Diva Espresso.

Now I don’t often go there much simply because none of the Diva Espresso locations are close to my usual haunts. But when I do go, I usually to the one located on Greenwood Avenue in the Greenwood area of Seattle. This is actually the flagship store for the Diva Espresso coffeehouses and has been there for as long as I can remember. And they seem to be doing pretty well as they have been increasing the number of their store locations. At the time of writing this post, there are now five retail locations in the Seattle area. The furthest one up north being located in the Shoreline area on Aurora Avenue.

This is how I think it works, the owners of Diva Espresso are Laurie Cheeley and Mele Olsen. At the same time, Laurie is somehow involve with starting Highlands Coffee Company. I don’t know if she has any ownership in that company but I know that she is the roast master for that company. I think that is cool because Diva Espresso uses Highlands Coffee Company’s beans and I thought the coffee was actually pretty decent.

The actual blend that they use for lattes and other espresso based drinks is the called… the Highlands Blend… of course. I love they way Highlands Coffee company describes this roast as “syrupy, creamy, with substantial body, inviting depth and a sweet finish”. That of course of coffee speak which really does not mean anything to me, but, I do know that I liked the coffee and I guess that is good enough for me …

The interior decor, of the Greenwood location is rather interesting, I love that the furniture is almost antique like and they have some great old style mirrors. I have a feeling that this store somewhat reflects the personality of the owner. Whenever I go there, the baristers are always friendly and seem of know a lot of the folks who step into the store for their daily espresso.

I also really like the fact that this is a woman owned business that is doing pretty well and I would support it more if they had a retail space closer to where I lived…

Makeda Coffee in GreenWood

Makeda Coffee Cup, originally uploaded by andai.

I discovered Makeda Coffee, a great little coffee shop, back this past summer during one of the Greenwood art walks. An artist friend of mine was exhibiting his work at the Espresso Diva coffee shop as part of the art walk and I was hanging out with him. A little later I took off to check out some of the other art on show at the various participating Greenwood businesses. This is when I noticed a small sandwich board sign on the pavement adverting 7 Roasters Coffee, coffee shop. The sign pointed out the direction of the coffee shop which was just of the main street i.e. Greenwood Avenue. If it wasn’t for this sign, I would not have noticed the coffee shop.

I popped into the coffee shop which I noted was not called 7 Roasters Coffee, but was actually called Makeda Coffee. As I ordered my latte, I asked the barista about this discrepancy. According to her, the coffee shop used to be owned by the guy who owns 7 Roasters Coffee which is a small Seattle based coffee roasting company. Apparently the chap wanted to get out of the coffee shop business and focus on roasting coffee beans so he sold the coffee shop to Prashanthi Reddy & Charlie Anthe. Not surprisingly the new owners decided that they would continue to get their coffee beans from 7 Roasters, hence the sign out on the main street.

I though it was interesting that one of the owners is this lady named Prashanthi, interesting in that I haven’t met anyone in the Seattle coffee scene who comes from an Indian (as in Asian Indian) background. I don’t know… I just thought that was interesting. But I did ask the barista about this and apparently Prashanthi has been into coffee culture for a while…

And I must say that they must be doing something right. Since Greenwood is out of the way for me, I am not in that area often, but I have to say that the two or three times I’ve been to the shop, I have really enjoyed my latte. Their espresso blend is called Espresso Huli. It was a nice strong latte with great flavor. In some ways it sort of reminded me of another excellent local roaster, Lighthouse Coffee down in the Fremont/Ballard area. And part of they having great coffee I think, is due to the fact that they are supporting the small local roaster so what you get is not the usual suspects in terms of Seattle coffee roasters.

Each time I have been there, the baristas are great, pretty friendly and always willing to chat about coffee and Makeda Coffee. By the way, just a little trivia, Makeda is the name of the famous Queen of Sheba and at the same time it is also a Hebrew word meaning bowl, cup or vessel.

I think the name works…


The Victrola on Pike, originally uploaded by andai.

I am excited to announce that Grounds for Burnt Offerings (GRBO) will be going through some transitioning and transformation. Come mid December, you will have a brand spanking new GFBO blog!

Now that I have been running this site for a while, I feel that the time is right to start the next phase of GFBO. The first thing I will be doing is moving this site from the free, WordPress hosted site to a self hosted WordPress site. There are a few reasons for this, but the two main reasons are, first, I will have a lot more flexibility to use much more slicker and complex WP theme. Second but closely related is that the move will allow me to use additional plugins, addons, widgets and scripts that are either not available on the current site or are not allowed.

The bottom line is that the move will give me better control over the look and feel and functionality of the site and also open up the ability to share and consume additional related content with like minded sites….

Finally, I am getting a domain name that better reflects the subject matter and content of this site then the current domain name… There is a long story of how this site’s domain name came to be and someday when I’m not too lazy I will post to details…

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