Ancient Grounds – Seattle – 1220 First Ave, Seattle WA 9810
Ancient Grounds is a Combination Oriental Art Gallery (with a touch of North West Tribal art) and Coffee Bar (with a fine selection of beer too). It’s just a few doors south of the Seattle Art Museum.
One walks in to see tapestries, kimonos, partitions and all sorts of oriental art. In the center stands the espresso machine.
When proprietor Roland Crawford first opened more than a decade ago he put out a sign saying “Best Espresso in Seattle?” with a question mark. At that time there were two others who could claim better. Both of those establishments have since lost their leases. Now the question mark is missing.
Roland has deliberately sought to bring extreme excellence into his espresso shot pulling. So many places I have gone to pull shots that I would call an Americano (weak with no body and no creme) To watch Roland pull a shot is to watch a man balance the elements of a good espresso (bean freshness, fineness of grind, tamping tightness, water quantity, water temperature). He does not rest on the reputation of his last pull. One can almost see the wheels turning in his head as he works the various components to pull his next shot so that it is as good or better than his last shot. His beans come from Lighthouse.
On my last visit there the shot he pulled was Earthy with citrusy almost peppery shades. Slurping the shot on the pallet brought a sweet/bitter aftertaste with just a hint of cocoa tones.
Is it the best espresso in Seattle? I don’t know. I haven’t yet had all the espresso in Seattle. What I must say is it is certainly one of the most conscientiously pulled shots in Seattle.
Roland is a social media non believer, so if you read this blog and go there, tell him that you read about his place in my blog.