Back to Features

Satellite Coffee is now Cosmonaut

The rocket ships stay

COSMONAUT COFFEE: It's rocket science.

Email Article Print Article Share on Facebook Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon

It's often we hear tales of corporate giants bullying our small town heroes. It's a common enough occurrence nowadays, though not so often do you hear of small to moderate sized businesses seeking victims in other small to moderate sized businesses in entirely different regions of the nation.

During your morning routine, when snagging that cup of roasted bean to start your day you may see the by-product of the latter. Certainly you will, if you seek to fill your caffeine needs at what was once Satellite Coffee. Yes, you heard me correct - what was once. If you're not paying attention you may think you're not fully awake but alas the café has a new moniker, Cosmonaut.

Fear not Satellite groupies, owner of Cosmonaut, formerly known as Satellite Coffee, Pat Brown says of the name change, "Once you get used to something nothing else is as cool but we are gonna have fun with it. Nothing has changed but the name. Same service, same feel and we still serve Stumptown." This is a relief being as Satellite knows their coffee. During my conversations with Brown his admiration for the roasted bean was clear. We talked about temps, time, caramelizing of sugars, the history of espresso in the Northwest as well as the "unmatched ethics" of Stumptown Roasters - all of which made it very evident why Satellite has received numerous nods as best coffee house in the past.

With the trademark application in, Brown says, "Legally I feel solid. Rebranding sucks though."

So why the sudden change and why the inclusion of legalities?

Satellite Coffee began its coffee making adventure back in 2007. Shortly thereafter some folks in Albuquerque, New Mexico contacted the Tacoma shop. You see, they too were Satellite Coffee, completely unassociated and though many miles away, they threatened legal action. Initially Brown didn't consider it as a problem, "They didn't have a case. We weren't impersonating them and there was a geographical remoteness. There was no threat of someone taking a wrong turn in Albuquerque and spending their $3.75 at our shop in Tacoma. It was a rookie mistake. We spent too much time and money to have lawyers correspond back and forth. Finally I wrote them a letter myself."

Brown received a "man to man" response from the husband of the husband and wife team, informing him that the Albuquerque chain had intentions to franchise their operations and the wife was going to move forward with legal action unless Satellite here in the Northwest changed their name.  

So there you have it. It was time for a name change. Brown wanted to keep it space themed given the rocket ships and murals that help define their image and ambiance. Naturally, he went with a 1959 Soviet Space Program Poster to announce to the Interwebs of the name change. "We will keep the rockets and other stuff and get some new things in. I want to borrow the style from the ‘50s and ‘60s era Russian space program propaganda," says Brown.

Brown paid due diligence and did his research before committing to the name change. Sputnik was one of the considered monikers, though posed the potential for the situation to reoccur due to its popularity. Cosmonaut was a consideration with the inception of Satellite so seemed a natural choice and now with the trademark application in is under no threat of having to be changed in the future.

What does the future hold? Brown wants to find a witty interpretation of the Russian Space "CCCP," redefining it to Cosmonaut Coffee Café and P....... - yet to be determined. Whatever the case you can continue to look forward to coffee and service held to the usual stellar standards.


Read next close


Eric Carle's "Art Art" at Tacoma Art Museum

comments powered by Disqus