August 6, 2008 – 3:01 pm


the cultish thrum of stumptown orders you around, like a badgering shoulder angel.

pretend you’ve been here before — DON’T scan the furniture. sit at this uber-sleek window bar … it’s where the dressier people hang. maybe text someone. don’t EVER study the menu board. act as if it’s perfectly chill for the girl with the red hair explosion and lolling demeanor to say “oh, sure” when you order and then DO NOTHING, while a second girl rings it up by way of eavesdropping and the barista polishes his portafilter with indifference to all. amble downstairs. ALL the “in” people go down there. you can tell because they’re happy.

without tonx, we don’t know what we would have done. sit there, drink a stellar capp, dream out the window and ignore everyone, we guess. as it was, we felt empowered by the tip that there was something down there worth seeing, and so descended to strike up a convo with roaster stephen, he of the Downstairs Demeanor. meaning chatty and normal. it’s not every seattle espresso bar that idles a kees vanderwesten espresso machine in the basement training lab.


as noted previously, this stephen of the handles scored us a batch of hot panama carmen estate so fresh it virtually dropped out of the vintage baby probat roaster directly into our gaping bouche. the people standing around nearby probably thought, “hey, look at that hot panama carmen estate dropping out of the vintage baby probat into that guy’s gaping bouche.” and they were probably jealous.

unlike 2006, this blog later found the carmen to be substantially more subtle in the propagation of her blackberry chocolate. all upper nasal, no middle tongue.

back upstairs, and a recognizable face appeared. this blog blanked on the name, but thought “moped.” jen prince! clearly, she was unnerved that random south carolina persons would know her by sight and transportation mode, and so bade us drink some ethiopia misty valley on the house, that its wondrous aromatic wiles might distract us permanently.

and they did. distracted us from the melancholy minions filling the cafe seats, from the jaunty red-haired girl hypnotically saying “oh, sure” over and over again while DOING NOTHING, and from the ridiculously grapefruit-heavy shot of hairbender we’d just downed. as in, grind the rind and soak it in wine strong. where, we ask, was the notorious chocolate back end?

no matter. we were now sufficiently soaked in the silvery atmospheric stumptown haze that we could trip obliviously toward broadway, waving at the taxis and murmuring about that ridiculously cheap san ignacio they had back there.