Latte. Photo Courtesy of Road Dog Tours.
It is hard to believe it, but fall is just around the corner. In fact, around these parts there’s already a nip in the air in the mornings and there’s a good chance you are already dreaming of Pumpkin Spice lattes. While we love the PSL as much as the next person, it is hard to resist the variety of blends available from local roasters. Yet, being in the most caffeinated city in the U.S. means there are a lot of cafes to choose from.
Why not let someone else do the hard work of selecting which coffee shops or roasters to visit, and hop on the Seattle Coffee Tour to let local experts guide you to some the best places in town. Not only will you get a chance sample great coffee, but you will also get a chance to get a behind the scenes look at the coffee roasting process and chat with the roasters themselves. However, if you still haven’t had your fill of caffeine, check out some of our top picks for the 10 best places in Seattle for coffee.
Caffe Vita coffee.
One of the city’s old standbys, Caffé Vita has been roasting unique single origins and consistent coffee blends in Seattle since 1995. While they have seven cafes scattered around the state of Washington, you have to look no further than the Clipper Café to enjoy their drip coffee, espresso or a variety of lattes.
Milstead & Co.
Although Milstead & Co. is of the few popular cafes in Seattle that does not roast their own coffee, they are worth mentioning as they feature of rotation of delicious artisan coffee from well-known roasters like Heart, Kuma, Coava, Intelligentsia and Stumptown. In addition to great coffee and food, they also have an excellent outdoor patio that is only a few blocks away from the famous Fremont Troll.
Caffe Umbria. Creative Commons licensed by Kristal Kraft.
Located in Pioneer Square, Caffe Umbria offers a relaxed atmosphere and a nice patio for people watching. In fact, Caffe Umbria might be about as close a European café you will get this side of the Atlantic. The company’s coffee roasting roots go back to the 1940s, when the owner’s grandfather Ornello Bizzarri built a roastery in Perugia, Italy. Caffe Umbria roasts five unique blends, as well as one single origin, and serves espresso, drip coffee, milk based drinks, pastries, panini, Gelatiamo gelato and even Italian beer and wine if you are looking for something a little stronger than coffee. As an added bonus, the café will include a chocolate square with your coffee, which makes for a nice touch.
If you are looking for a fabulous cup of coffee and delicious in-house made pastries and sandwiches, look no further than Zoka Coffee, which has cafes in Tangletown, Kirkland and the University District. Satisfy your inner coffee geek by sampling their rotating selection of smooth and fruity single origins at their science lab-esque at their pour over bars in their Tangletown and Kirkland locations. A few of the café’s specialty drinks include an Aztec mocha, made with habanero peppers, and lavender chai. Zoka also sources their own selection of tea for those who prefer something different.
Slate Coffee Roasters
A new Seattle roaster, Slate Coffee’s cozy East Ballard coffee bar is the ideal setting for coffee purists. Coffee is served without any additives besides milk and there is no sugar available, but you can request simple syrup. The menu is simple, featuring hand-brewed coffee, espresso, espresso + milk, pastries, tea, tea tasting flights and the deconstructed espresso and milk. In fact, the deconstructed espresso has (which served in three wine glasses, one with steamed milk, espresso and the two combined so that you can savor each ingredient separately as well mixed together) has become an industry favorite. If you really love coffee, make sure to try the tasting flight, which is fun since it allows you to sample a variety of preps, such as iced coffee, hand-brewed coffee, espresso and hot chocolate.
If you prefer your coffee black, you will love the Fremont-based Lighthouse Roasters, who have been creating consistently smooth coffee that needs no embellishment since 1993. Perhaps the coffee (there about 12 different varieties to choose from) is so delicious because it is roasted in-house at their café on vintage cast-iron roasters. Of course, this also makes it convenient to stock up on freshly roasted beans while you are in the café, since all you have to do is pick up a bag or two. However, do not be surprised if you do have to wait in line, as this café is a popular spot for regulars (they are often remembered by name) and visitors alike. Luckily, the café often features works by local artists for you to admire.
Seattle Coffee Works. Creative Commons licensed by Marmaduke Percy.
Seattle Coffee Works
Located near Pike Place Market, Seattle Coffee Works is a fun experience for both visitors who are new to coffee or who are coffee enthusiasts. There is an express bar where you can order espresso drinks, drip coffee, pastries and snacks or there is the slow bar, which serves as a tasting room, providing you chance to try and experiment with coffee. The bar is stocked with a variety of coffee gear (such as a French Press, AeroPress, Hario V60, Chemex and vacuum pot) and a rotating selection of single origin coffees, allowing you to test different brew methods or taste different coffee varietals. Seattle Coffee Works also roasts their coffee next door, so there’s a good chance the oldest beans you will find in the store were roasted that day.
Caffe Ladro originally started out as a relaxing cafe on Upper Queen in 1994, and as word of how delicious their coffee is spread, they expanded to include 14 locations across the area. Ladro even began roasting their own beans in 1994 and now offers four different roasts and a decaf blend. You can also pick up a snack at the café as the Ladro bakery delivers fresh pastries and desserts to all of their stores every day.
Herkimer Coffee. Creative Commons licensed by Joe Mabel.
One of the newer additions to the Seattle coffee scene, Herkimer coffee has wasted no time in becoming known to locals as one of the go-to places for coffee. Herkimer roasts three full-bodied blends, for espresso, drip and decaf respectively, as well as six single origins. You can pick of their sweet brews and freshly roasted beans at one of three locations – Greenwood, Ravenna or South Lake Union. The clean, modern cafes are a great place to get some work done or just relax. The café also has delicious baked goods, which they sell at a discounted price if you stop by in the late afternoon.
Bauhaus Books & Coffee. Creative Commons licensed by Visitor7.
Bauhaus Books & Coffee
As its name suggests, Bauhaus Books & Coffee is a place where coffee and book lovers can combine their two loves. The walls of the café are covered in books, which you are free to read during your visit, proving the space with a cozy, library feeling. The original Capitol Hill location also offers great views of the Space Needle through its large windows. Of course, the coffee is great too, as Bauhaus uses Lighthouse beans to brew their tasty beverages. The café is also open until 12 a.m., so if you are looking for a place to study or need a caffeine fix to get you through a night out in the town, this is the place for you.