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Coffee City

Melissa Allison follows the world's biggest coffee-shop chain and other Seattle caffeine purveyors.

August 10, 2009 at 3:17 PM

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Baristas train at Seattle's new Coffee Enhancement Lounge

Posted by Melissa Allison

CEL 003.jpgThis weekend, while some of us were soaking in the great outdoors, a handful of coffee devotees holed up at a new barista training ground in SoDo, pulling shot after shot of espresso.

Among them was August (top photo), who goes by one name and is head barista at Coffee to a Tea, home of Sugar Rush Baking in West Seattle.

Instructor Jared Mockli of Bellissimo Coffee InfoGroup put him and his classmates through the paces, pulling and tasting espresso with increasingly darker roasts. Mockli used to work for Bellissimo's headquarters office in Portland and now teaches for them in Seattle, where he also works on Starbucks' new 15th Avenue Coffee and Tea shop.

The classroom space -- called the Coffee Enhancement Lounge -- was put together over the past few months by Sarah Dooley, who started her coffee career as a Starbucks barista when she was 18 and has since owned her own coffee shop (Java & More in Federal Way) and been a retail manager and lead trainer for Caffe D'Arte in Georgetown.

CEL 001.jpgNow she's created the CEL at Visions Espresso Service, a coffee equipment company just south of Starbucks' headquarters (see the mermaid to the right of Visions in the bottom photo). The CEL is filled with grinders, espresso machines and cupping tables, and was used to train baristas for Starbucks' new 15th Ave. venture.

It's also given Bellissimo a place near Seattle to hold classes, and Dooley hopes will attract more classes and events for baristas and other coffee aficionados.

View Coffee Enhancement Lounge in a larger map

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