I said it. The espresso is wonderfully rich, earthy, sweet, and made perfectly. Monorail Espresso is a walk-up window on 5th & Pike, next to the Banana Republic. There are a few metal tables situated under huge leafy trees and a ton of bike messengers who use the cement barriers as a meeting place. I won’t go on about how it’s the best coffee I’ve had since Italy or France (even though it’s true), or that the baristas know what they are doing and don’t have an attitude about it (which is also true). I’ll just say this: it’s the best coffee in Seattle. Period. I have walked past other coffee houses in the pouring rain, with the wind blowing sideways, and sat in the cold just to savor an 8oz Americano. It was usually the best part of my day, sitting amongst the bicyclists, listening to their stories about getting insanely wasted the night before, the business men trying their hardest to flirt with the skilled and adorable barista, and the shoe shine guy asking someone to “give me a chance!” as he tries to make a few bucks. It was all a background, a moving canvas to my espresso beverage of choice. A short Americano in the morning, with a bit of milk, I could sit outside and breathe the fresh air, taking in the city.
They only accept cash, the prices are fair and the product is impeccable. Try the macchiato with a touch of honey and cinnamon.
Last Christmas, Eddie and I were holiday shopping downtown for those last few gifts. I made it a point to go to Monorail Espresso for a tasty treat and warm up. When we got to the window, there was a man in front of us with whom we started chatting. We discussed how good the coffee was and how we always bring people here from out of town. “Oh no, I don’t have any cash!” Eddie said. The guy in front turned around and said, “You need cash? I’ll buy it for you. You really have to have their mocha, it’s amazing.” I found a few dollars in my pocket, so we thanked the gentleman for his thoughtfulness. “See,” I said, “that’s how devoted people are to this shop. You need a coffee from here, it’s the best.” When a total stranger will buy you a coffee just so you can experience the bliss, you know something is truly special.