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Coffee Run

Any caffeinated beverage within 0.2 miles of the school didn’t stand a chance.

One day last week, I set off in search of the best coffee and tea within 0.2 miles of Seattle Central College and I found myself visiting 11 different establishments in less than two hours. Along the way I experienced taste bud bliss, a possible caffeine overdose and witnessed a coffee cup catapulted off of a skateboard spraying latte through the air. I also crafted a criteria for judging each location and what follows are the results.  


A barista preparing a white chocolate mocha.
  The first up is Central’s very own The Buzz. The best option for convenience and reliable drip coffee (or americano) made from Caffe Vita’s signature blend. With a wide variety of syrups, lattes and mochas are a good choice but you can’t go wrong with a macchiato. While lacking in distinguishing or decadent taste, you can’t beat the price. Though service varies at The Buzz, it is often great. The customer should be aware it’s student-run, so baristas are less knowledgeable than those at many off-campus establishments. [Wifi]:[✓][Use SCC Wifi] [Public Bathroom]:[✓] [Vegan Options]:[✓] [Accessible Outlets]:[✓][Nearby in the overhead seating area] [Study Friendly]:[✓][Use SCC Library] [Hours]:[Monday-Thursday (7:30 a.m.–8:00 p.m.) Friday (7:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m.)][These are the hours on the website, they are inconsistent with actual open hours.] [Location]:[First Floor of Seattle Central College, 1701 Broadway] Rating:




A matcha latte with hemp milk from Honor Coffee.
  Honor coffee, a tiny cafe, squeezed between apartments and shops, with some of the best coffee options you could choose from. With a variety of beverages, many of them unique, I have yet to be even slightly disappointed. My absolute favorite drink is the Matcha Latte with hemp milk (per a barista’s suggestion). It was a delicious sweet treat, with both the very rich matcha and hemp milk mixed together it creates the most decantant latte that I have ever tried. Honor coffee uses all Fairtrade certified or direct trade coffee, you can see the certified sticker marked on their coffee bags. Honor coffee is also known for its vegan options, including a variety of non-dairy milks such as coconut, soy, almond, and hemp. Customers also come for their vegan chocolate mocha syrup. [Wifi]:[✓] [Public Bathroom]:[✓] [Vegan Options]:[✓✓] [Accessible Outlets]:[✓] [Study Friendly]:[✓] [Hours]:[Monday-Friday (6:30AM–6:30PM) Saturday-Sunday (7:30AM–8:30PM)] [Location]:[131 Broadway E WA 98102] Rating:




An espresso and soda water at Caffe Vita.
  With a short walk, just a few blocks from Seattle Central College I went to Caffe Vita, the home to the coffee used so often and so widely in Seattle. Caffe Vita has a unique and energized atmosphere with dim lighting, loud music and rotating fantastic art by Seattle local artists. Whether you are ordering an espresso and soda water or a latte, Caffe Vita is the place to stop in or stay awhile with a friend in the neighborhood. Caffe Vita has a few kinds of coffee that are Fairtrade certified (look for the certified sticker on their blend bags), one of which is their Theo Blend, a collaboration with local Theo Chocolates to bring us all lush dark chocolate hinted coffee. Caffe Vita’s quality not only come in the coffee, but also in the customer service. For these reasons you’ll pay a little more for coffee, that is well worth the price. [Wifi]:[✓] [Public Bathroom]:[✓] [Vegan Options]:[✓] [Accessible Outlets]:[✓] [Study Friendly]:[✓✓] [Hours]:[Monday-Friday 6 AM – 11 PM Saturday-Sunday 7 AM – 11 PM] [Location]:[1005 E Pike St] Rating:




The bar inside of Annapurna cafe.
  If you are one to take the lightrail in Capitol Hill, or at least walk down Broadway, then you must have encountered the desirable smells of Annapurna Cafe. Located just  one block north of Seattle Central College, students often venture downstairs for their delicious food, but there’s another reason you should stop in, and it’s for their $1.00 Spiced Chai. It’s a spicy, caffeinated substitute for an espresso and it will give you much more of a flavor to enjoy than most other teas. [Wifi]:[X] [Public Bathroom]:[✓] [Vegan Options]:[X] [Accessible Outlets]:[✓] [Study Friendly]:[X] [Hours]:[Monday-Thursday (3 PM – 9:30 PM) Friday-Saturday (3 PM – 10 PM) Sunday (4 PM – 9 PM)] [Location]:[1833 Broadway, Seattle, WA 98122] Rating:




A view from the loft at Capitol Coffee Works.
  Another cafe, all about clean atmosphere and good coffee. Capitol Coffee Works is a minimalist, comfy cafe. Come here to knock out some studies and sip my favorite drink on the menu, a delicious oat milk mocha. Their oat milk mocha has an especially rich chocolate flavor while also having a natural creamy thickness to it from the oat milk. As a branch of Seattle Coffee Works, they have a high standard for their coffee, and their stuff comes far and goes far in terms of quality and flavor. According to them, World Fair Trade Organization sells cheap coffee, so they have a Guatemalan man (who you can get in touch with if you just ask) report coffee authenticity and then buy it directly from the farmers at $4/lbs.   With a loft, it allows for some space to stretch out, without any troubles of being bugged by some barista and getting kicked out. You can also choose to sit on the cozy swing they have mounted to the ceiling and sip your delightful drink. [Wifi]:[✓] [Public Bathroom]:[✓] [Vegan Options]:[✓] [Accessible Outlets]:[✓] [Study Friendly]:[✓] [Hours]:[Monday-Friday (7:30 a.m.–7 p.m.) Saturday (9 a.m. – 7 p.m.) Sunday (9 a.m. – 6 p.m.)] [Location]:[907 E Pike St] Rating:




Sipping from a Monk’s Blend milk tea with matcha boba at Tea Republik.
  Just a walk a few streets north of Seattle Central College is Tea Republik. For a soft sofa sanctuary to share a pot of warm herbal tea or sip tall glasses of iced milk tea with matcha boba from a straw, this is the place to go. While the service is never rude, beware that rules reign supreme when it comes to bathrooms here: you must present a receipt to get the lock code. The milk teas are a hit, though I found them to be a little watered down and pricey (boba costs extra). Milk tea is a softer (easier on the bowels), caffeinated alternative to coffee. The variety of choices for tea are very extensive and offer more choices than any other cafe in area. [Wifi]:[✓] [Public Bathroom]:[✓] [Vegan Options]:[✓] [Accessible Outlets]:[✓] [Study Friendly]:[✓] [Hours]:[Monday-Thursday        (10:30AM–10:30PM) Friday-Saturday        (11AM–11PM) Sunday        (11AM–10PM)] [Location]:[202 Broadway East] Rating:




Coffee and reporting go well together.
  In need of a run up spot for coffee that’s got your back even as late as 2 AM? Just down the street from Seattle Central College is Dick’s Drive In. Grab a cup, or a few, for your mates at Dick’s. Don’t come expecting more than the cup of caffeine to keep you warm. Still with a taste that didn’t require me to hold my nose, for just over $1, coffee from Dick’s can hit the spot. [Wifi]:[X] [Public Bathroom]:[X] [Vegan Options]:[✓] [Accessible Outlets]:[X] [Study Friendly]:[X] [Hours]:[Monday-Sunday 10:30 AM – 2 AM] [Location]:[115 Broadway E] Rating:




A Starbucks barista ready to take your order.
  Capitol Hill is festering with Starbucks establishments. There is a newer one just one block north of Seattle Central College and two more just a bit further in both directions. Known to all, in comparison to the other options near the school it comes down to preference with this one. While some are completely opposed to the corporation and refuse to pay a dime, others worship their drinks like members of a cult. It works well as a cafe that you can camp out in and one you can use bathrooms in with ease. And their special sugar filled drinks are what many flock for. Starbucks certainly has its reliability, or should I say, accessibility, since there’s almost always one nearby. But I would say, with all the other options in Capitol Hill you have no reason to go to Starbucks. In 2011, only 8% of their coffee was Fairtrade certified and only 2.2% was certified organic. These were the only statistics I could find on those categories, however there was much more information about the Coffee and Farmer Equity (C.A.F.E.) Practices, Starbucks’ inhouse program (1, Starbucks). C.A.F.E reports in Starbucks global impact report each year that 99% of their coffee is ethically sourced (2, Starbucks). However “ethically sourced” is not a third party verified practice, so we just have to take Starbucks’ word on it. If you want to learn more about Fairtrade coffee, check out Fair World Project and World Fair Organization. [Wifi]:[✓] [Public Bathroom]:[✓] [Vegan Options]:[✓] [Accessible Outlets]:[✓] [Study Friendly]:[✓] [Hours]:[Monday-Friday 4:30 AM – 9 PM Saturday-Sunday 5 AM – 9 PM] [Location]:[101 Broadway E] Rating:




Freshly Brewed coffee options at Panera Bread.
Next, I visited Panera Bread with my photographer Izzy. As I ordered a Caffe Latte, Izzy asked for permission from an employee to take pictures and when she received it, began to do so. When I was handed my drink I asked what coffee they used in it and the Barista told me it came from Columbia. When I asked again for a company name, he just repeated that it came from Columbia. Suddenly, from behind Izzy and I, a Panera manager told us to stop taking pictures. Despite the manager’s reluctance to discuss the origin of Panera’s “Freshly Brewed Coffee,” and whether it is Fairtrade certified or not, you can get an affordable cup of drip coffee in one of their usual four blends: Light Roast, Dark Roast, Columbian Decaf, and Hazelnut. And you can always get free refills if you bring back your Panera to-go cup (and a receipt with proof of purchase to be extra safe). That means that to get you through your classes you can skip across the street to Panera for a free refill as many times as you need. I would not recommend going to Panera expecting the most delicious coffee you’ve ever had. I wouldn’t even go expecting a decent Latte. Rather, you should expect luke warm doo-doo water. I couldn’t finish my Caffe Latte, so my photographer and I do what we always do with poor coffee. We gave it to a skateboarder and watched as he catapulted it into the street off the end of his skateboard. [Wifi]:[✓] [Public Bathroom]:[✓] [Vegan Options]:[✓] [Accessible Outlets]:[✓][Limited] [Study Friendly]:[✓] [Hours]:[Monday – Saturday (6:00 AM – 9:00 PM) Sunday (7:00 AM – 9:00 PM)] [Location]:[1620 Broadway] Rating:


  1. “Responsibly Grown and Fair Trade Coffee.” Starbucks Coffee Company,
  2. “Global Social Impact Performance.”, 2016, pp. 1–24.,

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