Getting Joe on the Go: A Guide to Cafes in the SAAS Neighborhood

coffeeEvery break hordes of kids march to their coffee shop of choice to gulp down the sleep that they missed the night before or grab the breakfast they skipped as they hurried to get to school in the morning.  Cupcake Royale, High 5 Pie, Starbucks, and Stumptown are all cafes within walking distance of the Seattle Academy campus.

Many factors must be calculated very quickly to answer the infamous question: Where do you wanna get coffee? Perhaps the most relevant of these factors is time.

Time is split into two factors of its own: distance and line length.  Line length can be estimated by the number of other SAAS kids you see walking to the different cafes, but the true length can never really be known. At Starbucks you could be competing with Seattle University students, at Stumptown you might contend with the plaid clad Capitol Hill residents (or lost Fremont residents), High 5 Pie usually has the most SAAS students, and Cupcake Royale can draw a long line of families or those hoping to cater an event.

With line length being a relatively unknown factor, distance becomes the most important. Stumptown and High 5 Pie are tied for closest location depending on which building you were in for your last class. Cupcake Royale is a little farther than High 5. This makes Starbucks the farthest away- but don’t let that discourage you. Legend has it kids have walked to Starbucks and made it to their class on time… at the Temple Building.

Cupcake Royale is my primary location for break time on Monday. When there are no meetings, or only a short one , I recommend walking to Cupcake Royale and getting their delicious specialty dish... a cupcake.  Cupcake Royale has bountiful seating including booths, tables, and bar seats for settling in comfortably. You can usually find me in the corner booth taking the extra Monday break time to happily shove my cupcake down my mouth and browse on my laptop to the tune of fast, already recognized WiFi.

High 5 Pie is always the closest for me since I have A and B Block in the Temple. In fact, no matter where you are, it has an easily accessible location.  I have been told they have a good selection of tea, but I usually get their hot chocolate, which is fantastic.  Obviously the pie is phenomenal, especially since there is a wide spectrum from sweet to savory to “wait... who knew that would be good in a pie?”. High 5 also has good selection of other freshly baked pastries, making it a great destination for sweet tooths.

Stumptown Coffee is also a close destination for a coffee fix, more so than High 5 for kids who have morning classes in the Arts Center. With a new management team, Stumptown has embraced their SAAS customers and continues to serve excellent brews and drinks. Their deliciously indulgent coffee and the indie music playing softly in the background are what give it the homey, refined vibes that slowly pull you back for more.

Starbucks has a large variety of drinks and many to-go food options. If you want your venti double mocha orange skinny soy frappuccino with whipped cream and chocolate sauce, and your chonga bagel with cream cheese heated to the point of warmth but not crisp, then it’s coming right up with your name on it and a smile from your barista. Starbucks has the largest size coffee and the largest selection of drinks, a key element for the adventurous first timer or a skilled coffee headhunter.

Whether you desperately need a double espresso to continue living or you just want to kill the awkward 20 minutes in between classes, getting coffee will always be a ritual for some. You never want to be the kid that has to chug his coffee and throw it away before arriving to class, or the kid that courageously walks in late with a coffee. I’m not saying getting coffee is a race but, if you know what you are doing, you can beat that group of ten freshmen to the High 5 Pie counter, and be in and out of there in time to study for your history test in C Block.

This guide is only that, a guide. To form your own preferences and opinions, pick a break to try out each of these great cafes.  Getting coffee at break can be artful if done correctly, and this guide is here to help.