In a handsome café in Seattle’s oldest neighborhood of Pioneer Square, Caffé Umbria not only pours one of the best coffees in Seattle, they also serve up three generations of family tradition that dates back to the 1940s.
It all started back in Italy… by one Mr. Ornello Bozzarri, who roasted coffee beans in the traditional Italian method and passed the skill down to his son, Umberto. The current master roaster at the Caffé Umbria , Emanuele, is the Ornello’s grandson and has done a fine job of carrying on the family love of coffee. When it comes to Seattle coffee, Caffé Umbria ranks among the top.
The whole story seems fitting for me as tradition blends well into this historical part of town. Caffé Umbria provides patrons with a wonderful selection of coffee blends but it also provides them with a romantic backdrop for casual strolls on a tree-lined, red bricked street which is ever so softly lit by classic streetlamps when the sun is down. The scene wouldn’t play out so well, if say, a Dunkin’ Donuts were there instead, and so I am grateful to the Bozzarri family.
If you could imagine yourself slow dancing in front of any café with your lover as many coffee lovers do, then the Caffé Umbria would be that café. Sitting in one of the café’s sidewalk chairs while sipping on an espresso on a brilliant morning or having a glass of red wine during a waning sunset, would gently imprint the feeling that life is simply be grand.
At Caffé Umbria, it would certainly be easy to forget what year it is, that is until a young man sits down next to you with tattooed arms and nose rings and makes a call with his “smart phone” using his outside voice and chats up a storm about his weekend plans…
Yes, as I was saying, the café lends itself to another era long gone with its deliciously filled glass counters, fresh cut flowers, a generous, elegant parlor, and large attractive windows, all of which contain a spacious comfortable seating area to sit and people watch or simply read the newspaper.
There are many reasons to like Caffé Umbria: its excellent coffee, its friendly baristas, its helpful staff and selection of pastries and food. But what I genuinely like is the subtle way it provides an elegant sense of community. Yes, they serve great coffee, but their real value – the value of which all good coffee shops should be measured with – is that this café offers a wonderful space for neighbors to meet, lovers to dream, families to connect, and freelancers to work (I shamefully threw that last one in).
In the aftermath in what historians call the Great Fire of 1889, Pioneer Square was reborn and from what I understand, it looks very much the same since. Taking in the architecture and the historical significance for visitors and neighbors alike is made much more pleasant with places like the Caffé Umbria around the corner. And so, with much love, they get 5 out of 5 stars in my book.
FYI: They also serve wine, Italian beer, and plenty of coffee essentials, including heavenly pastries, panini and Mmmmm… wait for it… Gelatiamo Gelato!
Location: 320 Occidental Avenue South
Neighborhood: Pioneer Square