Why This Latte Is So Damn Good

Solstice - Latte 3

DC coffee shops, take note: lattes should taste like espresso, not milk.

Finally, a latte that actually tastes like a latte. I don’t think I’ve had a coffee drink like this since the last time I visited Seattle three years ago – DC coffee shops just don’t know how to make a decent latte. It wasn’t until that coffee infused milk hit my lips that I realized how much I missed it.

For those of you who have never had the pleasure of tasting a real latte, and only know the faint, watery version you get at Starbucks, a real latte actually tastes like espresso. A real latte has a rich, complex, deep coffee flavor, and this particular specimen was slightly sweet on the tip of my tongue, and slightly bitter on the back. The milk enhances the espresso flavor, and adds a thick, creamy, slightly viscous texture to the drink.

In other words, lattes shouldn’t taste like coffee-flavored milk.

This latte comes from Cafe Solstice, a hipster coffee shop located near the University of Washington campus on University Way (aka, “The Ave,” as the locals and students call it). I logged many hours in this coffee shop during my college years at UW, and it’s funny to see how little it’s changed. The shop still sells the same cookies and brownies, the servers are still incredibly rude, and all the chairs are still mismatched. And the lattes are still some of my very favorite in Seattle.

Solstice - Latte 2

Look at that foam. That lovely, lovely foam. Beat that, Starbucks.



  1. Kayanna said


    one thing may have changed, depending on when you were there: I think solstice has some beers on tap now?

    • moderndomestic said

      They do – although I thought they started it right when I left. Or maybe they had beer on tap the last time I visited . . . I forget which.

  2. Rebecca said

    That is a beautiful latte. Joellen and I ran out and got lattes this morning. Your blog made me crave one. I have never had a Seattle latte and now I want to know what I am missing.

    • moderndomestic said

      Yet another reason to visit Seattle!

  3. […] Another excellent Seattle latte – this time from Espresso Vivace. I love the foam art. You don’t get that at Starbucks. I love the bold mix of styles at the Hotel Monaco. […]

  4. armsmasher said

    Ever come by the Big Bear Cafe?



    I work there on Sundays. I found your link through the Internet Food Association Flickr page (I’m part of the blog) and hey, I gotta tell you, the District does coffee well. Not as many spots as you find in Seattle (of course), but Chinatown, Peregrine, and Big Bear are quality.

    • moderndomestic said

      Nope, I haven’t been to big bear – I will check it out. Thanks for the comment.

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