Some of you may entertain the fancy that your personal coffee savior is The One, but you are mistaken: there is only one Coffee Messiah, and it stands at 1554 East Olive Way in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle, Washington.

It was night in the land of macromicrobrewing and the mermaid with the nipples, and Jane and I were riding out to the Little Theater to see Hell House, having stopped at our room at the Green Tortoise Hostel to freshen up and repack. We were riding the Metro bus (filthy clueless foreigner that I am, I don't recall the route number) up Olive Way, when out of the darkness for a fleeting moment glowed the red neon sign Coffee Messiah, and below it a blue Caffeine Saves. We had a movie to catch, so we merely enthused and attempted to note the location for later.

Later came the next day, as we explored the town on foot, walking from downtown to (eventually) the University District, with me and my brand-new camera snapping pictures along the way. As is my wont when in a new city, we spent most of our time wandering lost, moving by a sort of dead reckoning and climbing a hill now and then to get our bearings. While a-wandering, lost and thirsty, lo! what should appear but our messiah, far richer visually in the daylight, and offering us manna in the form of iced chai, my taste for mocha not yet having revealed itself.

The decor is awesome, a rich and colorful (yet tasteful and earth-tone-y) mix of Christian and secular art and kitsch, the obligatory cat friendly, the girls and boys all a suitable mix of hipster and hippie, pretty and pleasant. We chilled for five or ten minutes and left, satisfied, vowing to return after we had fully laid claim to the city. The chai was spicy, sweet but not too sweet, generally well-executed.

We didn't manage to meet up with the famed Tycho Brahe that day as we might have hoped (perhaps because of The Incident?), but we did wind up at the Wallingford Pizza House again with a good set of memories and suitably achy legs for the plane ride home.


  • The Coffee Messiah has (gasp!) a web site at (gasp!) , and it turns out not to be just a coffee house but rather a sort of community arts center in the manner of AS220 in Providence, but with vegan donuts.
  • Google tells me the owner, Howard Bialik, was arrested for slapping Coffee Messiah stickers on the window of an interloping Starbucks and various nearby city property. It does not tell me what happened after he was let out on $885 bail.