Your Guide to Coffee in the U District, One Sip at a Time

This is a guest post written by Hannah Pickering. Hannah is a journalism student at the University of Washington, a feminist, writer and amateur photographer. She enjoys espresso, traveling to new locales, finding new books and asking hard questions.

Luck doesn’t come my way every day, but I lucked out twice over by having the opportunity to attend the University of Washington and dive heart-first into the coffee scene in the University District of Seattle.

Since when did I deserve this?

The beauty of the situation is that I’ve been able to explore all the coffee shops in the U District and have found that each offers unique personalities and specialties that can fulfill all my coffee dreams – from a wet cappuccino to a cozy interior that will make an early-morning commute better.

If you’re in the mood to try some new coffee shops and find yourself in the area, check out my top recommendations and…happy sipping!

Slate Coffee

Slate Coffee

Slate is by far my favorite coffee shop in the U District. Light, modern, and with a touch of understated cool, the cafe is located less than one block from University Avenue (otherwise known as “The Ave” by members of the UW community) and offers a selection of delicious roasts.

If you’re a sucker for a wet cappuccino (i.e., more steamed milk and less foam), I would suggest trying their espresso and milk. I’ve never been a latte fan.  I was converted after my first sip of the beverage, served in glass mug.

Seriously, it never ceases to make me feel sophisticated.

Ugly Coffee

Ugly Mug Cafe

Some say that looks can be deceiving and the same applies to names. Don’t let the name of this adorable cafe deceive you, because it’s anything but ugly. Ugly Mug’s cappuccinos are made more like a latte — lots of steamed milk and a smooth, light texture — but I don’t even care because they’re that perfect balance of sweetness that marks a true shot of espresso, in my humble opinion

The small interior feels up fast, but if you find a table and order a for-here beverage, you can take a moment to explore the intriguing and eclectic art that covers the surface of the tables — everything from pencil sketches to notes.

Cafe Solstice cup of coffee

Cafe Solstice

Solstice is a favorite for college students and is sure to be packed during the peak hours that seem to be every hour it’s open.  You will have a higher chance of snagging a table and people-watching if you get there earlier in the morning or during class times. (i.e., best times are a quarter before the hour).

The cafe has patio seating in the back, so I’d suggest taking your drink out in the summer months and enjoying some of that rare, blue Seattle sky.

Cafe Allegro

Cafe Allegro

This coffee shop has first digs as Seattle’s oldest espresso bar. If you live for the quirky, the eclectic, and the clustered chaos of a narrow cafe, then this place will be your match made in heaven. Next thing you know, you’ll be snapping photos and posing in front of its grungy brick facade for the ‘Gram.

Don’t make a visit here without stopping by Magus Books, which is located at the alley entrance. Bookworms are sure to be enthralled by the aisles of used books. It’s a bit of everything: poetry and literature, history, and a hint of mystery.

Bulldog News U District Seattle Washington

Bulldog News & Espresso

This is the closest that you’re going to get to “drive-through” coffee off the Ave. This part of the U District that is more pedestrian-heavy than anything. A broad opening faces the avenue and you can order your coffee at the bar and choose from a decent variety of pastries. I’m a self-professed, nerdy college student and geek out over the newsstand inside. Here you can buy a bona fide paper newspaper or magazine and drink coffee while reading the news. Does it get more classic than that? The prices here are decent, too, so you’ll be getting your dollars’ worth.

 Wherever your coffee wanderings take you in the University District — or Seattle in general — may you never sip a bad cup of coffee and I hope you appreciate the magic within the smallest of experiences.

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  1. Anonymous on January 16, 2019 at 5:58 am


  2. Anonymous on January 18, 2019 at 7:14 am


  3. […] but tasty and tasteful participating establishments can also be found in the Magnolia, Wallingford, University District, West Seattle, Ravenna, Interlake, Georgetown, and Leschi […]

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