Podcast Update on 9/28/2013
Here is a very recent interview with co-owner Rafael Sanchez. He discusses launching his cafe, their product offerings, and much more!
Or listen to this coffee podcast directly here:
If you ride the number 49 bus as much as I do in Seattle, you may have noticed a glimpse of bright orange using your peripheral vision as you ride through Capitol Hill.
Well, chances are that bright orange isn’t the sun on the horizon, but the bright hues of Capitol Hill’s newest cafe.
Cintli Latin Café is a wonderful and culturally eclectic place with a twist – not only does it serve up coffee, Latin American foods and pastries that you wont find anywhere else, but it also sells art from all over Latin America.
While you can get a “traditional” Americano or Cappuccino here, you can also get a Mayan mocha, infused with a little spice – or any number of other Latin influenced coffee drinks. Since its opening, I have dropped by a couple of times and found it to be a warm and friendly place to get a cup of coffee, which I had with guava and piña empanadas – which are incredible.
Adding Flavor to the Seattle Coffee Scene
“The vision for this store is to provide an experience that as soon as you walk in…you’re in a different country, from the sights, the smells, and the food,” said co-owner Rafael Sanchez, who is originally from the Dominican Republic. Co-owner, Beto Yarce, also owns and operates a jewelry store at Pike’s Place Market with the same name.
“Our café started as two separate visions that came together in one,” Rafael said. “As you might already have figured out, we also have quite a bit of retail that acts as décor for the store. The reason for this is because Cintli’s predecessor store which resides in the Pike Place Market is an art and jewelry store themed with Mexican folk art and tradition. The café component came as Beto and I talked about an expansion. I had envisioned a tropical/Latin American themed café for some time… and once we talked, it seemed like such a great combination to have a store/café that would be a tropical haven as well,” Rafael added.
As the months and years passed the vision of a cafe was never lost. Rather, they used that time to refine their expertise in coffee and developed strong professional relationships with dozens of small vendors, where they now get their food and art for their café.
Both Beto and Rafael were longing for something different. “(Cintli Café is) a full sensory experience of Latin American culture… Coffee, food, deserts, plants, colors, art, jewelry… all act in unison to transport the customer to a different place, a different time. We don’t want to be a Starbucks, we don’t want to be a Vivace. We want to engage the customer on multiple levels, offering things that you don’t typically find in your traditional coffee shop.” Rafael added.
The business is personal journey for Rafael, who fondly remembers having “Café con Leche” with his grandfather back in his native Dominican Republic. He left that Caribbean nation over 22 years ago and settled in Seattle.
The café offers foods and snacks from El Salvador, Venezuela, Mexico, and Chili. Their coffee is provided by Stumptown, who Rafael mentioned “sources their coffee with the same respect and care for their farmers by using direct trade and offering above market prices for their beans.”
They also source much of the artwork that you find at Cintli in the same manner. “Beto goes to Mexico and buys directly from the artist making sure to pay a price that sustains them and gives them the ability to make a living from their craft. We will continue to work this way with new artists as we find them throughout Latin America and locally,” Rafael said.
Cintli Café is must visit for those who want to try something new in Seattle’s Coffee Scene. Warm churros, Venezuelan arepas, pupusas, and tamales are all made by local vendors and go perfectly with their coffee.
Check out Cintli Cafe. They're at 202 Broadway East, Capitol Hill. Look for the Bright Orange Cafe!
UPDATE: We regret to update you that Cintli has closed.
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