It’s known as the Starbucks of Taiwan. But sorry kids, you won’t find a frappucino here, unicorn or otherwise. It’s 85°C Bakery Cafe and it just opened its first Washington (flagship) location at Westfield Southcenter. Serving up more than 100 different breads and pastries alongside its signature iced sea salt coffee is only part of the reason this new locale has a line out the door at all hours. Read on to find out why this popular Taiwanese import is quickly becoming Seattle’s new go-to bakery and coffee house.
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The Long Lines
With almost 1000 stores throughout the world, 85°C Bakery Cafe is a growing phenomenon that is popular with both adults and kids alike. And when we say popular, we mean people traveling for miles popular, line out the door popular and people willing to wait in line for an hour or more popular! So if you plan on bringing your sidekick to feast on the freshly baked breads, treats and savory pastries, make sure you pack some patience and be prepared to play some games in line (think Simon Says, I Spy or Head Up).
You will smell the tempting aroma from the freshly baked bread while waiting in line. And it will hit you in the nose (hard!) when you get inside. Something else you’ll notice once you’re in the door is that the line is just as long inside as it is outside! We warned you this place was popular.
Depending on your little one’s levels of tolerance, you might want to move along quickly. Your first order of business is to grab a tray and a pair of tongs. It’s self-serve here and the cases are at eye-level and open easily. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself elbow to elbow jostling for that sweet treat. But don’t worry! There are breads and pastries galore, around 100 varieties on any given day, and freshly baked breads are brought out every 15-30 minutes.
Among the most popular treats are the brioche, the marble taro bread—a soft bread filled with taro paste, the pineapple cakes and the coconut twists. Kids will especially love the mango panna cotta and the dessert case which will call to them as the decorated pastries and cake slices are appealing for tiny tummies.
Fill up Your Trays
Once you and your sweet-loving sidekick have looked over the giant brioches, pineapple cakes, calamari sticks (which surprisingly are shaped more like a bun than a stick and are a lovely dark color because of the squid ink), salted butter bread, puffy and light jumbo borro (light and delicately sweet) there are decisions and tempting choices to be made. More than likely your tray will be piled high with pastries and breads, but that’s okay, because then it’s time to wait in that line to order coffee, and get your order boxed up and paid for. Psst… one of the tenets behind the 85°C Bakery Cafe was to create a quality bakery with affordable prices, so this means you’ll find that most of the buns and breads range in price from $2 to $5.
Once boxed up, and beverages in hand, it’s surely time to tuck in. If you can score a seat at a table you can reward your little sprout’s patience by eating inside the cafe. But be prepared. Table space can be scarce, especially during the opening phase.
Good to Know
The question that everyone asks is why 85 degrees? As any employee in the store will tell you… 85°C (185° Fahrenheit) is the perfect temperature to enjoy the flavor of a cup of coffee. Smoothies for the Littles and boba teas are available at this temp as well.
Another 85°C Bakery Cafe is slotted to open in Lynnwood in June… and by the looks of the popularity of the Southcenter location, the lines are sure to be just as long there.
If Monday’s aren’t your jam, then 85°C Bakery Cafe might be worth the drive and the wait. On Mondays, 85°C offers it’s incredibly popular sea salt coffee (an iced Americano with sea salt sprinkled whipped cream on top) for only 85 cents. This offer is good on every size, on every Monday, through 2017 (limit 4 per customer). Just remember we warned you about the lines!
85°C Bakery Cafe
1341 Westfield Southcenter Mall
Tukwila, Wa 98188
Hours: Daily, 7 a.m.-10 p.m.
Have you been to 85°C Bakery Cafe? What is your favorite menu item? Tell us in the Comments below!
Natalia Dotto (all photos courtesy of Natalia Dotto Photography)