Language Learning: Take Advantage of Your Local Coffee Shop

 In Travel Tips

Foreign phrases can sneak up on you in the most unlikely places.

When the Kaffeeklatsch opened up in Lake City, a neighborhood on the north side of Seattle, residents were so excited to finally have a coffee shop to type and talk away in. They weren’t really thinking they would get much more out of this local watering hole, but owners Brian and Annette snuck a little learning into the coffee experience.

At first you might not think much of it. Pastries written in German just sound more fun, if sometimes unpronounceable by novices like me. But then you notice there is a sign in front of the cash register. This sign changes every day.

What in the world were they up to?

Annette, a native of Germany, was giving us a word or phrase a day to learn. Last week when I popped in I saw that the sign said “Die Sommersonnen-wende.” Well how appropriate. It was summer solstice after all. Now I know how to say it in German.

Browse the Kaffeeklatsch Facebook page  and you can pick up a few phrases there as well. Customers will post their thoughts and comments in German and get a response back in kind.

This neighborhood hot spot has slowly become a bastion for German speakers, both native and learning, to brush up their language skills and converse in their mother tongue. I’ve run into people who live in various neighborhoods and when the conversation turns to travel and that they are bilingual I ask them if they have been to the KaffeeKlatsch. “But of course” is always their answer.

Word gets around fast in the German-speaking community. 

While I will be focusing my language learning on Italian for our upcoming trip, I do plan on popping into the KaffeeKlatsch a little more often. It wouldn’t hurt to know a few more German phrases (or have a little more coffee) before the boys and I head off to Switzerland.

Do you have a local coffee shop, bakery or restaurant that features another language? Have you tried it out lately?

Food Find

  • KaffeeKlatsch, 12513 Lake City Way NE, Seattle
  • Hours: Monday through Friday 6:30am- 5:30pm, Saturday & Sunday 8am-5:30pm
  • Recommended treats
    • Pastries and cakes– Apfeltasche (like and apple turnover), Caramom Coffeecake, Fruit Blechkuchen, Cinnamon roll
    • Breads– olive rosemary garlic focaccia (if they have croutons buy them! Makes amazing stuffing)
    • Sandwiches- breakfast sandwich, caprese focaccia
  • Dek’s food picks: pretzels and buttermilk biscuits

Are you inspired to find exciting places to travel with your kids that you can enjoy too? Sign up to receive posts via email or RSS feed and keep up-to-date on all of our travel tips, destination reports, food favs and adventures. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

written by Keryn Means

Recommended Posts
Showing 2 comments
  • Jen

    One of my favorite parts of traveling through Germany was the brotchen and a sandwich served on rye with butter, ham, swiss cheese and a fried egg served on top (extremely unhealthy but oh so delicious!). It is called a Strammer Max…the etymology of the name is not appropriate for a family site! 🙂

  • Jade @ Tasting Grace

    Oh wow that’s awesome! And man, do I wish I had a place I could get fresh Laugenbrotchen around here. We moved to Thailand a couple of years ago, and I can definitely confirm that reading menus is one of the major inroads to learning to speak the language well enough to survive in a country! 🙂

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.