Our ideal cafe consists of a simple but elegant space. It’s the kind of shop where you can pop in for a quick espresso, or read a book while you nurse a mug of autodrip. It should be easily accessible by bicycle or foot and staffed by hospitable baristas who don’t mind a little friendly banter. Of course, we would want coffee that is nothing short of exceptional. In other words, our ideal cafe looks a lot like Neptune Coffee in Seattle’s Greenwood neighborhood.
Neptune’s smart interior is more reminiscent of a Parisian bistro than the grungy Seattle cafes of the 90s. Repurposed pews line the wall opposite a smattering of pipe shelving. The stark white and wood grain color scheme is well complemented by a beautiful Synesso espresso machine, which, of course, are made locally. Fittingly, Neptune serves coffee from two of Seattle’s best roasters, Kuma Coffee and Velton’s Coffee.
When I visited Neptune they had two single origin espresso options: Guji Araga, Ethiopia from Kuma and Bolivia Caranava from Velton’s. The Guji had a lovely floral and citrus quality while the Bolivia had a sparkling acidity and a rich sweetness. Both shots were doubled weighed and brewed with care. We can only imagine these two roasters are proud to have their coffee so well represented.
On our second visit I settled down with a mug of Velton’s Mexico Nayarita, batch brewed with a Fetco autodrip. The naturally processed coffee smelled and tasted like chocolate covered strawberries. As it approached room temperature it was, as we like to say in the industry, chuggable. Although I’m a firm believer in the benefits of manual brew methods (and Neptune has plenty), some mornings it’s nice to skip the theatrics of the brew bar and enjoy some instant gratification. Whether you take your coffee with or without dramatics, you won’t be disappointed at Neptune.
Seattle is a city with a rich coffee legacy, but Neptune reveals that Seattle can be just as contemporary as Portland, or Los Angeles. If we ever find ourselves looking for real estate in Seattle, we can guarantee it will be biking distance from Neptune Coffee.