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Coffee Break! 10 Places to Get Coffee around Campus

Mmmmmm. Coffee

Mmmmmm. Coffee

For many college students, coffee is an integral part of school life. As we students cram in last minute papers and stay up late studying for exams, coffee often becomes a necessity. Fortunately for the thousands of students at UW, Seattle is the coffee-drinking capitol of the country.

Over the nearly four years that I have been studying at UW, I have probably drunk hundreds of cups of coffee. Here is a review of 10 coffee shops that I frequent regularly around UW.

1.Orin’s Place, PACCAR Hall

Location: 1st floor of PACCAR Hall, North Campus

Coffee: 6/10
Studying Ability: 5/10
Crowd: Undergraduate and graduate students
Why I come here: Studying in between classes

Review: One of the newer cafes on campus, Orin’s Place was added when PACCAR Hall was refurbished. Orin’s serves Starbucks coffee, unlike many of the other campus coffee shops, which serve Tully’s. The cafe is comprised of a section of PACCAR Hall’s first floor and contains several tables and chairs where many students choose to eat their lunches brought from home. Since the cafe is located right next to a main staircase, it can get extremely noisy during the 10-minute passing periods when students are getting out of their classes.

2. Parnassus Café, Art Building

Location: basement of the Art Building, North Campus

Coffee: 9/10
Studying Ability: 9/10
Crowd: Art students
Why I come here: For studying in between classes, reading, and to drink espresso.

Review: Parnassus is easily my favorite coffee shop on campus. The espresso drinks are always great and the cafe makes the dank basement of the Art building seem quite a bit cozier. Since there aren’t too many outlets, many students like myself choose to bring printed-out readings and study materials.

3. Suzzallo Café, Suzzallo Graduate Library

Location: 1st floor of Suzzallo, Central Campus

Coffee: 3/10
Studying Ability: 7/10
Crowd: Students, TA’s, Professors, Faculty
Why I come here: For studying in between classes and to grab coffee before class

Review: Suzzallo Café is probably the most frequented cafe on campus because it is located right next to Red Square. The coffee drinks served here may taste a little burnt, but nonetheless Suzzallo Café is a great place to get coffee to drink during class.

4. Café Solstice

Location: 4116 University Way NE, between 41st & 42nd streets

Coffee: 8/10
Studying Ability: 3/10
Crowd: Mainly students
Why I come here: white chocolate banana bread

Review: Solstice has really great drip coffee and a yummy selection of desserts. The service does tend to be on the slower side, which is fine if you plan on sitting down with your friends. The cafe is darkly lit and the music played is usually loud so I find it hard to study here. However the casual atmosphere makes this cafe a fun place to meet up with friends and hang out for a bit. This cafe also serves beer, which is attractive to the 21-and-over crowd. I visit Solstice for their amazing white chocolate banana bread that I crave every so often.

5. Starbucks

Location: 4147 University WA NE

Coffee: 8/10
Studying Ability: 2/10
Crowd: Everyone
Why I come here: Quick service for when I am in a rush

Review: Although this Starbucks is on the smaller side, the baristas are always upbeat and make sure that drinks are made quickly. They recently got rid of many of their tables, so it is nearly impossible to find seating. Whenever I am in a rush to grab a cup of coffee, I visit this Starbucks because I know that the service is fast and the drinks always taste the same.

6. Café on the Ave

Location: 4201 University Way NE

Coffee: 9/10
Studying Ability: 7/10
Crowd: Students
Why I come here: Espresso coffee, studying with other people

Review: Café on the Ave is a popular place for many students to go to study with other people. The tables are on the larger side, and there are several outlets lining the walls. The cafe has a wide variety of breakfast and lunch menu items, but the prices tend to be on the higher end of the spectrum. However, the price of the coffee drinks seems reasonable and the drinks always taste good. The cafe can get extremely noisy sometimes, to the point where it is hard to hold a conversation with the person sitting across from you.

7. Allegro Espresso Bar

Location: 4214 University Way NE

Coffee: 6/10
Studying Ability: 8/10
Crowd: Students
Why I come here: To relax and blog

Review: Café Allegro is supposedly Seattle’s oldest espresso bar. Despite the fact that Allegro is tucked away in a hard-to-find alleyway off the Ave, this cafe is nearly always crowded. The quality of the coffee can vary a little depending on the barista, but the desserts are consistently good. This cafe is filled with outlets so many students choose to bring their laptops to study here.

8. Ugly Mug Café

Location: 1309 NE 43rd St

Coffee: 10/10
Studying Ability: 9/10
Crowd: students
Why I come here: Curried Lentil Soup, Espresso Drinks

Review: Ugly Mug is my favorite place to get coffee in the University District for many reasons. The baristas are always nice and the quality of the drinks is consistently top notch. The ambiance is very cozy and casual, and is a great atmosphere for studying. The sandwiches are huge and the soups are delicious. This cafe might not be ideal for bigger groups since the tables are small and the cafe is a bit quieter than other coffee shops. Ugly Mug gets very crowded around lunchtime.

9. Starbucks, University Village

Location: 2650 NE 49th St

Coffee: 7/10
Studying Ability: 8/10
Why I come here: For studying long hours and getting coffee to-go while shopping at U Village

Review: This Starbucks coffee shop is very large and is filled with different sized tables and couches. The baristas work very quickly so even though the line can be long, the wait is short. Many students choose to study here because there is so much seating and a lot of outlets. Some students stay for hours during the weekend to get a nice chunk of studying done.

10. Zoka, Coffee, University Village

Location: 2901 NE Blakeley St

Coffee: 10/10
Studying Ability: 10/10
Crowd: Graduate students, families with small children, businessmen and women
Why I come here: For studying long hours and writing essays

Review: The baristas are always extremely friendly at Zoka. This specific location has dozens of tables and outlets. In fact, I was at Zoka during finals week where, despite the throngs of studying students, I still managed to find a table and outlet. Zoka also sells coffee that they directly purchase from coffee farmers in various Latin American countries which is neat.

How about you? What were some of your favorite places to grab a cup of coffee near the University of Washington?


3 Responses to “Coffee Break! 10 Places to Get Coffee around Campus”

  1. Pam wrote:
    February 5, 2013

    Thanks for the tips. I recently discovered ORIN’S (not Orion’s, like you have it) Place and I love it as it is good coffee and right across from the best fireplace anywhere! Parnassus is my go-to however. It brings back great memories of when I was an undergrad art history student (I am currently UW staff).

    • Greg Flanders wrote:
      February 7, 2013

      Fixed it. Thanks!

  2. Bryan Pearce wrote:
    February 8, 2013

    Check out the cafe inside University Book Store! Serves Caffe Vita coffee and sandwiches and pastries from local sources. Plus, your 10% UW Customer Rebate applies to all book store cafe purchases!

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