New Favorite Coffeehouse

Herkimer Coffee is my new favorite coffeehouse. Why?

Location: At the corner of Greenwood and N. 74th St. in Seattle, it gets a good deal of foot traffic, lots of morning coffee commuters, and there are a number of cool funky shops nearby.

Caffe Vita Coffee: Caffe Vita is a Seattle coffee roaster that’s starting to make a name for itself. The blends are rich, not overly dark and not bitter.

Free Wireless Net Access: Yes, I’m biased, but having free Wi-Fi clinches the deal here. I like to work on my laptop in coffeehouses, and judging by the number of people I see here with computers, so do lots of others. The fact that it’s free makes it an immediate draw for those who don’t want to go to Starbucks. At some point all Wi-Fi access will be free, just as you don’t pay for comfortable seating or pleasurable decor. Largely because of the free wirelessness, I’ve been here several more times than if they just offered good coffee.

Compare this to Diva Espresso down the street, which still ranks right up there for me but doesn’t have wireless Net access. When wireless networking first started popping up, I dreamed of ways to get a place like Diva set up, going so far as to start working on a business plan before realizing that I didn’t have the time to pursue it thoroughly. I’ve asked the folks at Diva about putting in some type of Wi-Fi, and while they seem open to the idea, they haven’t yet been able to justify the added costs. (And I don’t blame them: the coffeehouse business operates on slim margins and is notoriously difficult. To give you an idea: I know a guy who used to have an extremely stressful job at a technology company who decided to get out and start his own cafe; although it’s been rewarding, from what I understand, he sometimes wishes he could go back to his “easy” job at the former company.)

Although I don’t see Diva folding, I’ll bet they’re going to lose a significant amount of business to this upstart six blocks away. As a freelance writer I know who lives in this area says, “Herkimer is my new office.” After all, I’m writing this blog entry from Herkimer now.

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