What does a heritage business look like in Seattle? In a city that’s rapidly changing both physically and culturally, a coffee shop from 1997 is an outlier from the era of dial-up internet, affordable rent, and the Seattle Supersonics. Yet Zeitgeist has been in Pioneer Square for over 25 years, consistently serving simple, strong, European-style coffee.
No Ordinary Outlier
This is because Zeitgeist is no ordinary outlier. Besides the coffee, the cafe is elevated by its architectural finery. The bones are classic Pioneer Square brick, yet Zeitgeist takes on European design with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, enormous glass windows, and finely-wrought metalwork. The cafe hosts a neighborhood art walk and sometimes screen films. One founder described the cafe’s vibe as “a 1940s college library.” And that pretty much nails it.
“We always strive to show interesting, challenging, and thought-provoking works,” said owner and founder Brian Yeck.
The name “Zeitgeist” is also key to the cafe’s longevity (zeitgeist being a word derived from German and meaning “the signs of the times”). From the beginning, Yeck intended the coffee shop to be a cultural hub where Pioneer Square regulars and even international travelers could convene in a world class city to talk about current events and art over a cup of delicious coffee. A European cafe after all is a place to exchange fresh (and freshly-caffeinated) ideas and perspectives.
What hasn’t always been a consistent factor for Zeitgeist is the quality of their coffee. The owners of Zeitgeist cycled through several coffee roasters before discovering Fulcrum Coffee.
“We went through roasters quickly, and kept changing before we met Fulcrum,” says Leesa Kunke, manager of Zeitgeist. “It’s awesome working with a company that has integrity. If we have issues all we have to do is call Blas and someone comes out that day. It’s been wonderful knowing that we are partnered with a company that is actually here to help us and not just make money from us.”
Fulcrum is also happy to partner with a legacy coffee company like Zeitgeist. Times change. Neighborhoods change. Cities change. Fresh ideas come along and are exchanged in public spaces, often over cups of delicious coffee.
As long as Seattle is known for its great cafes and quality espresso, Fulcrum is here for it. Here’s to another 25 years for our friends at Zeitgeist.