Spotlight: 5th Avenue Cafe

5th Avenue: our flagship cafe.

Top Pot’s second café is located on 5th Avenue in Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood. This densely populated urban area is filled with old-school charm. Brick buildings line the street, while the sleek, silver monorail, built for the 1962 World’s Fair, glides overhead. Just a few blocks from the Space Needle, the 5th Avenue café is a place where famous guests, excited tourists, and neighborhood regulars come to mingle.

Beautiful two-story greenhouse windows allow passersby to observe the old-school interior, complete with Top Pot’s signature bookshelves, a 1960s-style television, and a balcony seating area. It’s a beautiful, large café and it’s a staple of Seattle’s downtown.

The roastery for all 20 Top Pot locations is housed at this location. This is where all of our coffee beans and cold brew coffee is produced. It’s amazing how much hard work and dedication the men and women of the roastery have put into their work. Whether you’re sipping a latte on top of Queen Anne hill in one of our first locations, or grabbing a quick drip coffee at our newest café, Sky House in Dallas, you’re tasting the same great quality coffee.

Tourist Hot Spot

The 5th Avenue location is conveniently close to many of Seattle’s great tourist destinations. After enjoying our doughnuts and coffee, visitors can take the 10-minute walk to the Seattle Center. There they can take a trip to the top of the Space Needle, visit the International Fountain, or spend an afternoon in the EMP/SFM, otherwise known as the “Experience Music Project/Science Fiction Museum.”

This nonprofit museum features exhibits focused on pop culture and music both nationally and internationally. Their most recent exhibits have included a Star Trek retrospective, an in-depth Hello Kitty display, and, of course, several rooms devoted to our hometown hero, Jimi Hendrix.

If you choose to set your feet walking south, you’ll arrive at Seattle’s historic Pike Place Market. Yup, that’s the place where they throw the fish. There is also fresh food from over 85 local farmers as well as various artistic wares from the 225 local artists that can be found along the market’s 9 acres.

Local Favorite/Famous Hang Out

But it’s not just tourists who love our Belltown store. It’s also a neighborhood place. With its extensive seating and retro vibe, it’s a great place to meet with a friend or five. Knitting clubs, tech workers check-ins, and senior meet-ups all take place on a weekly basis. Not to mention, it’s a great place to take the family on a Sunday morning.

Even the famous crowd gets in on the action. Over the years Top Pot 5th Avenue has been visited by many familiar faces: Conan O’Brien, Joel McHale, Sir Mix-A-Lot, and Philip Seymour Hoffman have all come to visit. But nothing quite beat then time when this guy showed up.

President Obama Top Pot Doughnuts
President Barack Obama at Top Pot 5th Avenue

That’s right, we were lucky enough to be visited by President Barack Obama. It was an incredible experience (yeah, that’s me hiding back there on the left). He greeted everyone, shook our hands and generally made us all smile. And yes, he tried a doughnut (it was the glazed pumpkin old-fashioned) and pronounced it “addictive.”

The Inside Scoop

It’s not only our customers who love the 5th Avenue location. We’re also big fans of it as well. Founder, Mark Klebeck was one of the main forces behind the build and design of the café.

When I asked him what was his favorite part of the creation and build of the 5th Avenue location, he had this to say:

“The downtown 5th avenue café is unique in that it was built slowly and carefully thought out in design. The entire space is covered in birch wood, terrazzo and was designed to match the late 1940’s structure. It is special for me because my wife and I got married inside on the stairs two weeks before it opened to the public.

“My favorite thing about the build out was working side-by-side with my brother Michael from start to finish. We took our time and carefully incorporated design as we went along.”

Our flagship store is a hustling, bustling place filled with excited customers, delicious doughnuts, and robust coffee. The line can get a little crazy from time to time, but there’s no denying it’s a lot of fun. In fact, this quote from Clara, a 5th Avenue staff member, pretty much sums it up:

“It’s a fast-paced environment that can go from zero to jam packed in seconds. Most days there are customers waiting before we even open the door. It can be hard work, but when you get into the rhythm it transforms into a doughnut-slinging dance party.”

Have you visited our flagship location? What was your experience? Let us know in the comments below!

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.

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.

5 Things to Know About Top Pot Coffee

When you think of Top Pot, you probably think about hand-forged maple bars and delicious old fashioned doughnuts. What you may not know is that we’re also coffee roasters. Our passion for quality extends beyond our doughnuts and is reflected in every aspect of the roasting process.

Here are the five things to know about Top Pot coffee.

100% Arabica

There are many different varieties of coffee bean, but Top Pot’s coffee is made from 100% specialty grade Arabica coffees.

Arabicas have a wide taste range, but tend to be sweet and fruity in flavor. In comparison to Robusta (another commonly used type of coffee), these beans have almost double the concentration of sugars. They grow slowly, taking several years to mature. One tree can produce anywhere from one to twelve pounds of coffee a year.

From Latin America to Africa, our coffee is sourced from the best co-ops and estates in the world.

Small Batch Roasting

Top Pot coffee is roasted in small batches, by hand, on our traditional cast iron coffee roaster.

Small batch roasting means that we can pay attention to every detail of the roasting process. With our concentration so tightly focused, we’re able to respond to each batch’s needs and make sure every bean is the highest quality.

Over Ten Years of Hand-Roasting

Top Pot has been hand-roasting since 2002. All of our coffee is made in downtown Seattle at our 5th Avenue location.

A Wide Selection of Coffee

Top Pot is proud to offer 5 proprietary blends:

  • Diplomat (Drip)
  • El Presidente (Espresso)
  • Decaf (Drip and Espresso)
  • Federale (Drip and Espresso)
  • French Roast (Drip)

We also have a variety of single origin coffees and seasonal blends. Come by any of our cafes to check out the selection.

Our Philosophy

At Top Pot we believe that coffee should be allowed to speak for itself! That’s why we roast on the lighter side of the roast spectrum to let the subtle nuances of our coffee really come through in the cup. Most of our blends are a full city roast, which leaves the coffee at its sweetest. This allows the coffee’s distinct flavors to come through.

Stop by any Top Pot cafe and get a free 12 ounce cup of drip. Simply show the barista this blog post and bam! You’ll be caffeinated in no time. It’s just our way of saying, “Thanks for reading!” This offer is good through Sunday, May 29, 2016.

Welcome to Our Blog!

We are Top Pot Doughnuts and Coffee, an independent company located in Western Washington and Dallas, Texas.

Welcome to the Top Pot blog! We’re super excited to join the blogosphere.

If you know us, then you’re already familiar with what we do. If you’re new to the table, let’s get introduced. We are Top Pot Doughnuts and Coffee, an independent company located in Western Washington and Dallas, Texas. Our passions are quality coffee and doughnuts, and we love sharing those passions with the world.

What To Expect

From new coffee tips and tricks, to fun interviews, we’re going to cover it all. Each week, we’ll be posting new content to the blog. If that’s not enough excitement for you, hold on to your hats, there’s more!

At the end of every blog post, we’ll be sharing an exclusive, free weekly item. Just come into any of our locations and show the barista the blog post on your electronic device of choice, and you’ll receive super awesome free stuff. It’s just our way of saying thanks for reading.

“But what exactly are we reading?” We hear you ask from inside your computer. Well, let’s take a look.

Did You Know?

We’ll be diving into some little know facts and fun tidbits–answering the hard questions like, “Why are coffee beans called ‘beans’ when they’re actually seeds?” or “Who named that delicious swirl-y doughnut the pershing?”

Armed with these facts you’ll be able to head out and impress all of your friends with your coffee and doughnut knowledge.

Turn On The Spotlight

We’ll be focusing on our different cafes, their staff, and their customers. We have always been firm believers in community. That’s why each of our stores is unique to the area in which it lives. We wouldn’t be where we are today without our incredible community. We can’t wait to share their stories.

How Do I Do It?

Have you ever wondered how your barista pours that perfect rosetta every time? Curious how to make a doughnut ice cream sandwich? Well, we’ve asked ourselves the same questions and have come up with some answers. Let us share our expertise with you, so that you can have a little bit of Top Pot magic with you all the time.

To The Future

We’re so excited to be exploring this new blogging path, and we’re happy that you’ve come along for the ride. We’ve got a lot we’re excited to share, but we want to make sure that it’s what you want to read. So let us know! Post a comment, send an email, or drop by a cafe and tell us what you’d like to see. So until next week, cheers! Continue reading “Welcome to Our Blog!”