Case Study Coffee's new downtown cafe didn't open in time for our 2012 Coffee Issue, so I swung by this morning for a macchiato while waiting out a flash storm. It's only a week old, so I won't say anything critical, but here's a quick first glance:
[Inside baseball alert] During the making of the coffee guide, the A&C editor and I argued over whether one would describe Case Study's original Northeast Sandy store as "chic." He used it in his coffee and doughnut pairing article, but I wouldn't add it to my coffee shop review. Regardless, I would not describe the new outlet as "chic," either, so much as "classy." The large room is very heavy on wood, using a classic style of carpentry and fitted with old fashioned stools and tables. It's not uncool at all, but also not a space in which your mom would feel out of place. An older woman stopped to admire the store's three 4-foot Yama cold-brew siphons, her jaw flapping open like a dead codfish, and one of the baristas took time to explain step-by-step how they work and gave her a sample, which was lovely.
More modern is a gleaming glitter-covered silver La Marzocco Strada espresso machine that takes pride of place on the huge central counter that dominates much of the room. I'm a sucker for glitter, and though I don't think anything will ever top See See's fabulous airbrushed fantasy machine, it made my coffee taste better.
Floor-to-ceiling windows offer a nice view of the central library (whose wi-fi I was able to use at almost full strength), and you can keep an eye out for the next Streetcar, which always seems to be 17 minutes away.
There's also a sizeable range of Bowery bagels on offer, plus pastries from Bakeshop, Nuvrei and Petunia's.
Does downtown need another high-end coffee shop, given this one is already walking distance from Public Domain, Fresh Pot, Courier, Stumptown Ace and the new Barista? We'll see what the market bears. Its proximity to the library, and streetcar and MAX stops certainly give it a fighting chance. And though Case Study may not appreciate me saying this, it's quiet and spacious, and seems like the kind of place you could work for hours undisturbed (though I didn't check if there are electrical outlets available).
Here is a really blurry photo I took from the Streetcar because I forgot to take a photo before that:
GO: Case Study Coffee, 802 SW 10th Ave., Facebook. 7 am-5 pm daily.