Which Seattle coffee shop should I review next?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

El Diablo Coffee Company

The Basics:

El Diablo Coffee

Where is it?
1811 Queen Anne Avenue North, #101
Seattle, WA

Is there wi-fi?
Yes, and it's free!

When are they open?
Mon-Thur: 5:30am - 10:00pm
Fri: 5:30am - 11:00pm
Sat: 6:30am - 11:00pm
Sun: 6:30am - 10:00pm

Is there parking?
Yes, 2-hour limit angle back-in street parking on Queen Anne Ave.

What's the price range?
The cheapest coffee option I saw was the Cafe Cubano at $2.10; a medium Cafe con Leche (comparable to a latte) is $3.35, plus tax.

The Experience:
The coffee is excellent; I ordered the Cafe Cubano, their signature mixture of espresso and caramelized sugar, and enjoyed the sweet-yet-bold taste combination which embodies this coffee shop's vibe. The drink was sweeter than I expected, but had the bitter and fruity tang you would expect from quality espresso.

I visited El Diablo mid-morning, around 9:45, and while there were a few people in line (three, myself included), service was very quick--much better than I expected in terms of an early-morning crowd. The people I was in line with left with their coffee, but I decided to stick around for a while and check out the atmosphere.

There were a few people in the eccentric and well-decorated sitting area, some reading and others chatting quietly with friends. The main part of the shop has five tables, plus around 12 seats set up at tall cafe tables and counter tops, and three little alcoves of plush chairs and couches, including one dubbed the "Love Grotto," which is decked out with images of angelic figures. There is also a covered patio out back with a few more chairs and tables; these would be lovely in warmer weather, butI opted to stay inside, out of the chilly April weather.

For atmosphere, El Diablo has a distinctly Latin vibe, complete with a menu full of Spanish coffee names, a cold-case stocked with Mexican soda, and colorful murals all over the walls. As you can see in the picture, this coffee shop has a lot of character, and in fact a lot of characters, as demons and angels tempt you from the wall to "eat more dessert" or "drink more coffee." Even the tabletops are adorned with various colorful paintings of devils and fantastical creatures such as mermaids, all of which seem more tongue-in-cheek than truly frightening, although small children may disagree.

When I was there, the music was quiet enough to be considered background noise, but El Diablo does sometimes host performers, and when this happens there are no guarantees as to volume level.

Overall, El Diablo impressed me with it's uniquely yummy signature drink, free wi-fi, and fun atmosphere. I understand now the buzz I've heard surrounding this quirky coffee shop; in many ways it is an ideal stop for a few free minutes of reading or chatting with a friend. Because of the difficulties of parking there in busy Queen Anne traffic, though--word to the wise, don't approach from the downtown side of Queen Anne Ave--I wouldn't necessarily recommend it as an in-and-out coffee stop.

But if you have a minute to enjoy it, El Diablo delivers a devilishly good Latin coffee experience.

{Review by Bekah}

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