Photo by Holly Hollopeter

By Danielle Nye

Caffé Rococo is a well-known coffee shop in downtown Kirkland, and is certainly a favorite among NU students and locals alike. What began solely as a wholesale coffee roaster has turned into a familiar environment for locals to get work done or bond with friends and family.

Rococo Coffee Roasting began in 2008, with Kent Beidel and Adam Olsen, friends through high school and college who share a love for coffee and community. After moving from their original roasting location to a prime spot in downtown Kirkland in 2010, Caffé Rococo was born. Eight years later, the café remains one of the most popular coffee shops in Kirkland, and is highly rated and recommended.

Upon entering Rococo, one is met with the aroma of deeply roasted coffee beans which are roasted in-house so every cup of coffee is as fresh as possible. The front wall of the store is built out of windows, providing natural lighting and a pleasant view for people-watching. The walls of the café are covered in black and white portrait photos of customers throughout the years, an homage to patrons of the café. The otherwise white walls contrast the dark cherry wood furniture, accented with soft, warm lighting. There is an abundance of seating, although due to the popularity of the coffee shop, it can be difficult at times to find a place to sit. Booths line the walls and there are coveted round tables at the front of the store right next to the window, where people often sit with groups and chat or work.

The quality of the coffee at Rococo is a priority, which is why they purchase their beans from farmers they trust in various parts of the world. They provide descriptions and backgrounds of each farming organization on their website for consumers purchasing coffee wholesale. Each drink served at the café is carefully crafted by the well-trained baristas, although their menu does not have as large of a variety of coffee drinks as other chains may include. Rococo offers the coffee basics (i.e., espresso, drip, cappuccinos, lattes) as well as their very popular chai tea latte, and other tea-related options like their London Fog. They also provide most milk substitutions including hemp and rice milk for only an additional $0.60, and flavored syrups are also offered for an additional $0.50. The menu is very reasonably priced compared to other coffee shops, with cappuccinos ringing up at $2.89 before tax and tip. Rococo also offers a variety of pastries form the local Alki Bakery such as quiche, biscotti, muffins, sandwiches, and more.

The staff is friendly and enhances the inviting atmosphere of the café, which is immediately comforting upon entering. Rococo will certainly be a safe-haven from the cold for many students with final exams and papers coming up, who will retreat to the café for warmth, community, and caffeine.