5 Reasons to Bring Your Work to a Coffee Shop

“I usually bring what I’m working on to coffee shops because, with as many puns as you can imagine are intended, it helps the bundle of ideas in my head percolate and drip by drip their way to life.” –– Tom Robbins

This post was written by Josh Zinn.

J.K. Rowling does it. So did Gertrude Stein, Franz Kafka, and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Heck, even unabashed tea-drinkers like Stephen King have, most certainly, done it from time to time. All across the world, in fact, people are doing it right now and, in all probability, you have too. Whether it’s the next Great American Novel being wrought out or a clever spin on tomorrow’s investment report, there’s no denying coffee shops have long served as a prime location for folks to get their creative juices flowing and hungers––not to mention caffeine fixes––satiated.

Why is this? What is it about the environment of our neighborhood coffee purveyors that directs our minds to a level of productivity which our offices and cubicles cannot? Is there something in the water? Perhaps in the doughnuts and assorted pastries we nibble on? Or is it simply a combination of comfort, familiarity, and delight that can only come from a place many consider to be their home away from home?

In addition to whichever reasons works for you, here are five more reasons coffee shops are fantastic places to bring work to and to get work done.

  1. Community: Coffee shops have become the modern-day town meeting hall. Where else can you count on seeing friends and neighbors on a daily basis, taking a break from their busy lives? Maybe you’re working on your thesis and need a little bit of friendly inspiration and encouragement to finish those last few pages? Maybe you’re in need of a babysitter so you can go out and celebrate having finally finished those last few pages? Chances are you’ll be able to find both––and a little friendly gossip––at the coffee shop.
  1. Caffeine: Yeah, it’s a need. Don’t deny it and don’t deny your overworked brain the pleasure (and relief) it provides too. When the day is looking dark, you need to wake up, and even your yawns are yawning, that triple-Americano you just ordered will work better than any buzzing alarm clock––just try not to hit its snooze button.
  1. Fewer Distractions: Sure, your neighbors are here, and you’re getting the 411 on what’s happening in the community garden, but chances are your boss or professor isn’t and that can often make a HUGE difference when you need to finish something without someone gawking over your shoulder. Bringing your work to the coffee shop still shows you’re getting out of bed and getting things done, but, gosh darn it, you’re doing it on your terms and with a coffee by your side.
  1. Ambiance: There’s something to be said for the sound of coffee grinding and the hiss of milk steaming. Take a hint from Goldilocks: When the din of TV or radio is too much to bear and the sound of silence is something best left to Simon and Garfunkel, the lulling, dulcimer tones of the coffee shop can provide just the right amount of background noise to get your mind a’movin’.
  1. Delicious Food: Let’s face it, sometimes we all need a treat––especially when we’re knee-deep in a project and have no clue where to go or what to say next. Though by no means a scientific study, I’d wager to say there’s a direct correlation between the smile that comes from that first bite of an old-fashioned doughnut and the congratulations you receive at the office for a job well done. Coffee shops stock themselves with all the tasty things we aren’t likely to find in the break room and you, me, and we are all the better for it.

Needless to say, there are a myriad of reasons why coffee shops have long been trusted with not only our bellies, but our brains too. Did you recognize some of your own here? If not, what are some of your favorite reasons for working on stuff in a coffee shop?

Now, if you’ll pardon me, I have an essay to write and a cappuccino to sip.

How to Host a Top Pot-Inspired 4th of July Party

It’s almost time for the big midsummer celebration. That’s right, can you believe it’s the 4th of July already? The 4th has always been one of my favorite holidays; the weather is warm, the days are long, and there is a feeling of celebration in the air.

Here are some Top Pot inspired ways to spice up your Independence Day. Almost all of these items are available at our cafes, but all can be replicated at home! Feel free to drop by the stores for the supplies you need, or try your hand at them in your own backyard.

Raspberry, White, and Blue

There’s nothing like a refreshing Italian soda on a warm summer day. These thirst-quenchers can easily be made into a perfect celebratory drink. Use raspberry, vanilla, and blackberry syrups in soda water to create a patriotic treat. Or, layer these flavors to create a flag in each cup. Start by pouring the raspberry syrup, then slowly pour blackberry syrup on top. Vanilla can be added after that, or can be substituted with a little splash of half and half.

As American As Apple Fritters

Top Pot Doughnuts Blueberry Fritter

Blueberry fritters are one of Top Pot’s featured summer doughnuts, and it couldn’t come at a better time. Serve a mix of our apple and blueberry fritters as a sweet appetizer or as a pairing with your after-dinner coffee.

Espresso Topped Ice Cream

There are lots of amazing recipes out there for espresso ice cream toppings (I have a whole list I want to try). The easiest way is to melt one tablespoon of espresso powder in four tablespoons of hot water. Once dissolved, pour over vanilla ice cream and serve.

If you really want to liven things up, add one tablespoon of Ovaltine powder to the espresso powder before melting. This will transform your plain old vanilla ice cream into a dessert version of Top Pot’s classic ovaltine latte.

Cold Brews for a Hot Day

Cold Brew Coffee Top Pot Doughnuts

Spending a day out in the sun can be exhausting. Serving a cold brewed coffee is a great way to jump start your second wind. Cold brew is made by steeping coarse-ground coffee beans in water for an extended period of time–usually 12 hours or more! Serve this super caffeinated drink as the sun sets and the fireworks begin.

Doughnut Dessert

patriotic sprinkled doughnuts

No 4th of July party would be complete without dessert. This year, why not mix up the traditional dessert offerings and create a doughnut cake by stacking Top Pot’s vanilla cake doughnuts on your serving tray. These doughnuts have a patriotic theme and require less clean up than sheet cakes or pies.

What are some of your favorite Independence Day foods? Let us know in the comments below.

Father’s Day Special at Top Pot

Father’s Day is coming up and we want to honor all you dads out there with a Father’s Day gift card special.

Starting Monday, June 13, a $10 gift card can be purchased for only $5. Take dad out for his favorite doughnut and coffee and still have enough to get something for yourself. It’s our way of saying thank you for making your family part of Top Pot’s family.

This offer will run through Father’s Day, Sunday, June 19, and is available at all locations.


In the spirit of the holiday, I asked some of our younger patrons to tell me what they thought was their father’s favorite doughnut. Here are some of the answers:

“…I’m not sure what would be my dad’s favorite doughnut. I’m probably pretty sure he likes them all.” – Daniel, age 6

“Umm…I don’t know. I only know the ones that I like.” – Olivia, age 10

“My dad doesn’t eat doughnuts, he just drinks the… [whispers to dad] …the expresso” – Matt, age 8

“I eat the top and my dad eats the rest.” – Jackson, age 5

“If I had to guess, I’d say my dad is a cinnamon sugar old fashioned.” Katelyn, age 16

“Glazed because he’s big like the glazed doughnut.” Madison, age 8

Happy Father’s Day from all of us at Top Pot Doughnuts!

Top Pot Doughnut Eating Contest!

How many doughnuts can you eat in 5 minutes? Our last doughnut eating contest was in 2008 so we’re bringing it back! 

Join us this Friday June 3rd at our downtown flagship cafe for this fun-filled event. Hosted by Nancy Guppy and music by @recess_monkey ! 

Win a dozen doughnuts a month for a year! To enter, sign up from 12 noon until 3:00 pm Friday June 3rd at the 5th ave cafe. Six participants will be selected to compete!

National Doughnut Day–An Unexpected History

National Doughnut Day? What will they think up next? But there is more to the story than you might expect.

On the first Friday in June, America celebrates National Doughnut Day. I know what you’re thinking: “National Doughnut Day? What will they think up next?” But there’s more to the story than just a quirky reason to indulge in a sweet treat.

The calendar is full of strange holidays commemorating everything from cheesecake to teddy bears. Each holiday has its own quirky history and devoted followers. Top Pot loves National Doughnut Day, but we love it for more than the obvious reasons. The story of the creation of NDD is more complicated than you might expect. It’s a story about caring for others and being brave in the face of danger. Didn’t expect that from a doughnut holiday, did you?

WWI and the “Doughnut Dollies”

In 1917, not too long after America entered WWI, The Salvation Army sent volunteers to France. The idea was to set up huts where the soldiers could receive baked goods, write letters back home, and have their clothes mended.

It wasn’t long before two of the volunteers had the idea to serve doughnuts. The life of a soldier was hard, and doughnuts were the perfect treat to brighten their spirits. The doughnuts were an instant hit, with one of the volunteers reporting that she made 300 doughnuts and 700 cups of coffee in one day!

Due to the doughnut’s instant success with the service men, the women became known as the “Doughnut Dollies.” Although the nickname was cute, no one forgot the immense service these men and women were contributing to the fight for freedom.

National Doughnut Day is Born

National Doughnut Day was born out of the struggles of the Great Depression. In 1938, the Salvation Army created the holiday as a way of fundraising for those in need. It also served the dual purpose of commemorating the men and women who had fought in WWI.

The tradition continued throughout the years. The Red Cross took over the Dollies’ work during WWII and the Vietnam War, raising spirits wherever they went.

Top Pot and Northwest Harvest

Top Pot is proud to contribute to the history of NDD. Each year, we partner with Northwest Harvest, a local nonprofit, to collect donations for those in need in our community. Each cafe will be collecting non-perishable food items to support Northwest Harvest’s mission to eliminate hunger.

“Northwest Harvest is Washington’s own statewide hunger relief agency. Our mission is to provide nutritious food to hungry people statewide in a manner that respects their dignity, while fighting to eliminate hunger. Our vision is that ample nutritious food is available to everyone in Washington.”

But that’s not all! In addition to food collections, we host a raffle with the chance to win some awesome prizes. A single ten dollar ticket gives you the chance to win one of ten prizes.

Come by any cafe to purchase your tickets. All raffle proceeds go to Northwest Harvest, so you can win big and do good.

We would love to see you at one of our locations on NDD. It’s a very busy day for us, so if you would like a large order it’s best to call ahead! Come support a great local nonprofit and celebrate the surprising history of National Doughnut Day.

Come into any Top Pot location this Monday through Thursday and show the barista this blog post to receive a free 12 ounce drip coffee.  This offer is good through June 2, 2016.