News Blog for Seattle's University District Neighborhood

 

#Mugshot Monday #12 -Trabant Coffee & Chai: Satellite of (coffee) Love

November 13th, 2014 by master

WELCOME TO #MUGSHOTMONDAY *: A CAFFEINE INSPIRED JOURNEY TO UNCOVER THE UNIVERSITY DISTRICT’S CAFÉS

*Apologies for the Tartiness…Let’s just pretend this week’s been like one long Monday!

From the German word meaning satellite or traveling companion, Trabant was an East German car that had somewhat of a bad reputation as poorly performing with an outdated and inefficient engine. It was a symbol of the East Germany as many East German Trabant owners abandoned their cars upon migrating to the west after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

I am not sure what Trabant  has to do with coffee or chai. Perhaps Trabant Coffee & Chai gravitated to VEB Sachsenring Automobilwerke‘s Trabant for its name because it was inspired by Russia’s Sputnik; sputnik is the Russian word for satellite or companion. If you look around the cafe, you will notice a space-traveling theme.

Or maybe the owners went a little deeper into the meaning as dark, hot beverages can really serve as companions through the dismally cold winter months of the pacific northwest. I can also see that, as a patron of local cafes, I could be seen as a satellite of sorts since I seem to orbit reliably around my coffee habit.

Regardless of its namesake, Trabant is a cafe just off the ‘Ave’ on 45th right in the middle between the Neptune Theater and American Apparel.

I showed up on a Monday afternoon and ordered a split-shot americano. I was going to order a Chai and a shot but I chickened-out on trying a new chai that I hadn’t tried before. They Serve Maya Tea‘s Chai which is a concentrate (not my favorite way to make chai). Readers of this column know that my bias is towards my favorite local chai company. Maya is a tea company out of Arizona and according to one of the Trabant baristas, their chai is really good. I will have to be brave and try it next time.

The barista pulled my americano (they serve Kuma Coffee here) and then re-pulled it when he decided the shot was off – I like a barista who knows what he’s doing! Ultimately, my cup was perfectly poured and hit the spot, albeit being half decaf.

Trabant has that subtle anti-artsy artsy vibe. A place for the intellectual bookish crowd, students, after movie chats and pre-show meet-ups at the Neptune  Theater.

They serve the usual coffee house assortment of snacks and they have bagels and cream cheese, soups and some other more hearty meal like options.

There is plenty of seating including a balcony for a more intimate atmosphere. The place has full front windows overlooking the hustle and bustle of 45th street, yet it doesn’t feel hectic inside.

I liked it here. I had always felt a little too intimidated to come in here because it’s on a busy street, but like I mentioned before, once I got through the doors the atmosphere was calm and had a good vibe. Next time you are in the u-district for a movie at the Grand Illusion or the Varsity or after a book signing at the U-bookstore or just need a quite place to read the comic book you just bought at the Comic Stop next door, this is a nice little spot.

I had fun chatting with my two baristas, Elias and Ben about what Trabant meant.

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#Mugshot Monday #12 -Trabant Coffee & Chai: Satellite of (coffee) Love

November 13th, 2014 by master

WELCOME TO #MUGSHOTMONDAY *: A CAFFEINE INSPIRED JOURNEY TO UNCOVER THE UNIVERSITY DISTRICT’S CAFÉS

*Apologies for the Tartiness…Let’s just pretend this week’s been like one long Monday!

From the German word meaning satellite or traveling companion, Trabant was an East German car that had somewhat of a bad reputation as poorly performing with an outdated and inefficient engine. It was a symbol of the East Germany as many East German Trabant owners abandoned their cars upon migrating to the west after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

I am not sure what Trabant  has to do with coffee or chai. Perhaps Trabant Coffee & Chai gravitated to VEB Sachsenring Automobilwerke‘s Trabant for its name because it was inspired by Russia’s Sputnik; sputnik is the Russian word for satellite or companion. If you look around the cafe, you will notice a space-traveling theme.

Or maybe the owners went a little deeper into the meaning as dark, hot beverages can really serve as companions through the dismally cold winter months of the pacific northwest. I can also see that, as a patron of local cafes, I could be seen as a satellite of sorts since I seem to orbit reliably around my coffee habit.

Regardless of its namesake, Trabant is a cafe just off the ‘Ave’ on 45th right in the middle between the Neptune Theater and American Apparel.

I showed up on a Monday afternoon and ordered a split-shot americano. I was going to order a Chai and a shot but I chickened-out on trying a new chai that I hadn’t tried before. They Serve Maya Tea‘s Chai which is a concentrate (not my favorite way to make chai). Readers of this column know that my bias is towards my favorite local chai company. Maya is a tea company out of Arizona and according to one of the Trabant baristas, their chai is really good. I will have to be brave and try it next time.

The barista pulled my americano (they serve Kuma Coffee here) and then re-pulled it when he decided the shot was off – I like a barista who knows what he’s doing! Ultimately, my cup was perfectly poured and hit the spot, albeit being half decaf.

Trabant has that subtle anti-artsy artsy vibe. A place for the intellectual bookish crowd, students, after movie chats and pre-show meet-ups at the Neptune  Theater.

They serve the usual coffee house assortment of snacks and they have bagels and cream cheese, soups and some other more hearty meal like options.

There is plenty of seating including a balcony for a more intimate atmosphere. The place has full front windows overlooking the hustle and bustle of 45th street, yet it doesn’t feel hectic inside.

I liked it here. I had always felt a little too intimidated to come in here because it’s on a busy street, but like I mentioned before, once I got through the doors the atmosphere was calm and had a good vibe. Next time you are in the u-district for a movie at the Grand Illusion or the Varsity or after a book signing at the U-bookstore or just need a quite place to read the comic book you just bought at the Comic Stop next door, this is a nice little spot.

I had fun chatting with my two baristas, Elias and Ben about what Trabant meant.

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#Mugshot Monday #9 – The Spirit of the Buffalo Thunders at Cafe Solstice

October 21st, 2014 by master

Welcome to #MugShotMonday: a caffeine inspired journey to uncover University Ave’s Cafés

The first thing I decide when I’m standing in the ordering line at Cafe Solstice is; if the zombie apocalypse happens I could b-line it here and be happy for a while.

Originally an old school espresso stand started in 1993 on Broadway in Capitol Hill,  Cafe Solstice re-imagined itself in 2002 and has now become one of the U-district’s coolest cafes. As of June of this year, they have even re-united with their roots by opening a second location on Capitol Hill.

I spoke with Sarah Schafer, general manager and long-time employee at Cafe Solstice who filled me in on the significance of the Buffalo in their logo.

It is told that the spirit animal of Cafe Solstice is the buffalo. Being the largest land mammal in North America, it represents the strength of a tribe. The folks at Solstice really feel that what makes this cafe a special place is their commitment to the community.

“WE ARE ADDICTED TO GOOD MUSIC, GOOD COFFEE AND GOOD TIMES” -General Manager, Sarah Schafer

Walking into the cafe, you are immediately greeted with a shelf of books to read. The counter area is a big open space to accommodate lines so you don’t feel to crunched while waiting to order. There are bottles of San Pellagrino, old school coke and ginger brews chilled and ready to grab. In the cases are a great selection of decently priced sandwiches ($5-$8), gourmet mac-n-cheese ($5.75), granola and greek yogurt options and a whole host of delicious looking sweets.

They serve Lighthouse Coffee, rotating beers on tap (always offering an Elysian brew) and have live music. This place is a go-to place for breakfast, lunch or an evening snack.

Schafer said that they try to support the artists and musicians who are regular clientele and often feature their art on the walls or book them to perform. Artists and musicians can bring in demos and artist submissions in person or through their Facebook page to be a featured artist.

Although conveniently situated close to UW, the patrons are a refreshing mix of students, professors, locals, artsy types and all sorts of people reading, drawing writing, chatting and computer-ing. People should note that Cafe Solstice likes their music, so this is not for the quite-study-corner types. There is plenty of seating, but it is a plus if you are open to sharing your four top if you are by yourself–no one likes a table-hog!

As always, remember to tip your barista and enjoy the good vibes.

Cafe Solstice U-district is Located at:
4116 University Way NE
Seattle, Washington 98105
(206) 675-0850

Cafe Solstice Capitol Hill is Located at:
925 E. Thomas St.
Seattle, Washington 98102

Their Hours Are:

Mon – Thu: 6:30am – 11:00pm
Fri: 6:30am – 9:00pm
Sat: 7:00am – 9:00pm
Sun: 7:00am – 11:00pm

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Mugshot Monday #6 – Tea Republik: Where Tea Holds Supreme Power Over the Bean

September 8th, 2014 by master

Welcome to #MugShot Monday: a caffeine inspired journey to uncover University Ave’s Cafés

I rolled down the Ave. on my bike past dense pockets of cannabis air, past Starbucks, past the Vape Store and found myself in front of Tea Republik.

Still on my coffee cleanse, I was thankful that my next MugShot Monday adventure would not be filled with the aroma of espresso while having to sip on a less-than-exciting cup of generic tea.

Tea Republic welcomed me with a nicely designed interior, warm lighting and a very friendly and helpful –would he still be considered a barista?– let’s just call him Tea-Guy!

I happened upon Tea Republik on a quiet morning, however, Manager Daniel a.k.a. the Tea-Guy said that once classes start up they get considerably more business. Although not strict about people ‘camping‘ with their laptops and school books, he occasionally has to remind patrons to help pay the rent!

While they have generous evening hours of operation, this republik is not for morning people:

Monday – Thursday 11am-11pm
Friday – 10am-12am
Saturday – 11am-12am
Sunday – 11am – 10pm

I ordered a London Fog, but after sitting down and looking at the tea menu I had buyers remorse and realized I should have ordered their Lavender Cream Earl Grey ($4.49 for a large pot, $3.99 for a small). Regardless, the tea arrived to my table and was delightful to sip. I had asked if he could sweeten it with honey instead of sugar of which he did without a blink of an eye.

In addition to House Specialties, Loose Leaf, Traditional, Caffeinated or Decaf, and an assortment of Flavored Teas, they also serve pre-made sandwiches and have bakery items if you have a hankering for something sweet.

I loved sipping and refilling my little tea cup. There is something so satisfying about pouring tea. I am sure I am tapping into the ancient art of the the Tea Ceremony. It’s a sweet reminder to slow down and breathe.

With its clean and inviting space (I even checked out the immaculate bathroom) the Tea Republic is the perfect atmosphere for students and people who need to get out of their home office. Daniel would like to add that this Republic is not a library, so make sure you purchase well and often if you plan to be there for a while — and I might add, tip your Tea Guy!

Tea Republik

4527 University Way NE

Seattle, Washington

(206) 497-7631

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