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Where should I go to drink coffee in Seattle?

over 1 year ago by S. Reddi
Tags: seattle coffee, tasting coffee
2 responses
over 1 year ago
by Ryan F., Chief Coffee Schemer
According to an old tale, Seattle got its start in coffee when a dock worker found a mishandled bag of beans, roasted them himself, and started peddling them around town. Seattle was a frontier settlement with an active sea port, and the combination of access to bean importers and an appetite for strong coffee among Seattleites gave birth to the capitol. Fast forward to today, Seattle is home to coffee giants, innovative coffee gear makers and a thriving small-batch roasting community. With the most coffee shops per capita, Seattle boasts an incredibly rich cafe scene for all types of coffee lovers. Here’s my shortlist of Seattle coffee shops by neighborhood.

Pike Place Market / Downtown

Fonté
Directions
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A short walk from Pike Place Market, Fonté’s signature cafe is upscale with a robust menu of single origin roasts. This is your stop: if you enjoy medium-to-dark roasts, Sage Lattes, and could use a snack not called a protein box.

Seattle Coffee Works
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Seattle Coffee Works was home to Seattle’s first original multi-roaster cafe. Today Seattle Coffee Works is known for roasting coffee sourced directly from some of the world’s top micro lots. You’re bound to see Seattle Coffee Works’s owner Sebastian, making conversation with regulars, and showing off his photos from his latest trip to Kenya. Try one of their lightly roasted single origin roasts brewed your way at the pour over bar.

Ladro
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An iconic local Seattle coffee brand with 15+ cafes around town. Ladro’s cafe on Pine is a short walk from the market. They always have a lighter single origin roast on tap from a farm owner Jack Kelly has visited on his annual pilgrimage. Ladro bakes their own pastries and always has uniquely crafted coffee drinks on the menu like their Medici a mocha with fresh orange zest.

Monorail Espresso
Directions
The coffee cart turned ‘hole in the wall’ espresso bar on Pike has been a Seattle phenomenon since the 1980s. Monorail has quite the cult following so be prepared to get in line. Espresso only! No drip here.

Fremont

ETG Cafe & Bakery (Longshoremen’s Daughter Roasters)
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Established in the early 90s, the ETG Cafe & Bakery is one of the oldest coffee shops in Seattle. Owner Lori Mason roasts a rotating menu of single origin coffees and blends (Walkin’ Boss and Bearded Lady) which have become staples for locals and Bean Box customers nationwide. Delicious pastries are baked fresh every morning which is remarkable given the tight quarters. This is the spot Matthew and I discovered how wonderful freshly roasted coffee can taste — full of flavor without any bitter edge. Lori’s coffee was featured in our very first Bean Box.

Lighthouse Roasters
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Nestled in a Fremont neighborhood, Lighthouse is Seattle’s first cafe and roastery combination. Lighthouse is known for their full bodied dark roasts. You can watch the Lighthouse team roasting your coffee evert Monday-Friday from 8am-12pm. 

Milstead & Co.
Directions
One of the only multi-roaster cafes in Seattle, Milstead serves up a rotating menu of lightly roasted single origin coffees roasted in Seattle, Portland, and Vancouver. Coffee snobs will love the experience as all their coffees are brewed-to-order on a scale with an AeroPress. This was Bean Box’s first 'satellite office' as we grew from an idea to a business worthy of a bigger space.

Ballard

Slate
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One of the most popular third wave coffee roasters in Seattle, Slate’s first location in Ballard is a shrine to the new coffee movement. Enjoy single origin coffee tasting flights, deconstructed lattes, and Slate’s owners methodically brewing your coffee in a Chemex. This is an experience worth having. Slate’s coffees are delicious.

Queen Anne

La Marzocco Cafe & Showroom
Directions
A beautiful coffee institution at the base of the space needle. La Marzocco is a high end espresso machine manufacturer with equipment crafted in Italy. Their cafe invites a new roaster every month to hold court for the month. It’s the who’s who of specialty coffee and a worthwhile experience for Seattleites and tourists.

Capitol Hill

Victrola
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Since 2000, Victrola has been spinning the coffee hits fueling Seattle's thriving Capitol Hill neighborhood. Through longstanding relationships with farms and endless experimentation, Victrola refines each roast into a true masterpiece.

Caffe Vita
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Caffe Vita is one Seattle’s largest independent roasters. Their cafe and roastery on Capital Hill is a tribute to their focus on coffee. It’s also ground zero for hipster sightings. 

Espresso Vivace
Directions
A blend of art and science, Vivace only serves espresso and serves it well. Vivace’s owner David Shomer is a local legend. He’s known as the godfather of latte art and is infamous for his obsession with pulling the perfect espresso shot. You can attend his espresso training series for a crash course, or drop into Vivace to experience it yourself.

University District

Broadcast Coffee Roasters
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One of Seattle’s most beautiful and modern cafes, Barry Fought’s Broadcast cafe on Roosevelt is elegant and serves up his growing line of lightly roasted single origins and blends. The coffees are as bright as his the open cafe space.

Seven Cafe & Market
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A neighborhood gem, Seven Cafe & Market is one part coffee shop and one part Hawaiian grocery store in Ravenna. The owner is a Hawaiian native and head roaster for Seven Roasters. Get your Kona coffee in Seattle fix here!

Greenwood

Herkimer
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A roastery and cafe combination by Seattle coffee veterans Mike Prins and Scott Richardson. Herkimer’s coffees are directly sourced and without question some of the best in the city. Order a Herkimer Drip or an espresso and get ready to enjoy one of the most well balanced cups you’ve ever had. 

Colombia City

Tin Umbrella
Directions
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Tin Umbrella is a charming cafe in south Seattle’s Colombia City neighborhood. Roasting their own unique blends onsite, Tin Umbrella has united Seattle’s most diverse community over a cup. Joya Iverson, Tin Umbrella’s owner was a globe trotting consultant who has found her passion in serving her neighborhood. 

over 1 year ago
by Matthew B., Chief Coffee Wrangler
If you can only visit a single cafe in Seattle, I'd suggest one of three options based on your interest.

  • Traditional Seattle Dark - Lighthouse Roasters (Fremont). The roasting is done in the center of the cafe, on a vintage machine, and Lighthouse is known as the grandfather of Seattle roasting.

  • Innovative, 3rd Wave - Slate Coffee (Ballard). Tiny cafe run like a bar. Just ask the barista to wow you, and he (or she) will, without a doubt.

  • Espresso - Cafe Vivace (Capitol Hill). The absolute expert when it comes to a consistently amazing espresso, with flawless milk art. In my book, the signature drink is the macchiato.

As a lark, if you're keen on visiting our Beanery (Capitol Hill), just drop a note to hello@beanbox.co, and we can schedule an appointment to visit.

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