Seattle is the coffee capital of the United States; there really is no way around it. With a couple of the largest coffee companies in the world having been founded here, as well as a climate perfect for a warm brew in-hand at all times, the Emerald City has gained the reputation for producing great roasts and having a world-class café culture. Here are our picks for the places to get the best coffee in Seattle (not called Starbucks).
Now with three locations, Espresso Vivace’s founder David Schomer is credited for popularizing latte art in the United States. We recommend a stop at their flagship Brix location, where folks can also sign up for barista trainings. In fact, why not dive straight into the city’s caffeinated scene with this coffee tour of Seattle?
Under its full name, Caffe Vita Coffee Roasting Company was founded in the Queen Anne neighborhood in 1995 and is now praised as being a pioneer in the Farm Direct movement. This is where brewing companies hold direct relationships with coffee farmers. Caffe Vita is now heralded as one of the best places, not just in Seattle, but also across the continent to get a cup of joe.
La Marzocco Showroom
La Marzocco is one of the top espresso machine makers in the world, based out of Florence , Italy. They chose Seattle to be their US hub, meaning they have a café and showroom in the city to market their products and serve a few espressos while they are at it. Each month they feature a new roaster so their lineup of coffee is always changing. If you find yourself hungry to explore more of the city’s food and drink scene, this coffee, chocolate, and wine tour is not to be missed.
Cherry Street Coffee House
Now with 12 locations across the city, the original cafe is on Cherry Street. The team behind Cherry Street constantly strive to promote community, and do so by treating every customer with a friendly smile and a prompt “good morning”. Their coffee is great as well, as their baristas consider coffee-making an art, so much so that in 2014 the United States’ best barista award went to one of their employees.
Located just a hop, skip, and a jump away from the Space Needle (one of the Top 5 Things to Do in Seattle), Citizen brews up some great coffee, but also has a delicious food menu and is a lively spot to stop by at night. For those who need a bite along with their coffee (maybe to prevent tweaking out on caffeine), we recommend their tacos, especially the Korean-Mexican fusion option, or one of their crepes.
Not for the gluten intolerant, Macrina Bakery, on top of serving awesome caffeine bean juice, produces some of the best baked goods in the city. Macrina does their best to only use fresh, local ingredients in all of their award-winning breads, cakes, and sweets. Keep up with their website to see what their Product of the Month is.
Victrola Coffee Roasters
With locations in cool, trendy neighborhoods like Capitol Hill, Beacon Hill, and on Pike Street, Victrola are an extremely passionate bunch when it comes to coffee. Buying directly from farmers in some of the best coffee-producing countries in the world, including Colombia, Kenya, and Burundi, Victrola always delivers a good product.
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Seattle Coffee Works
Part online coffee retailer, the team at Seattle Coffee Works also roast at their downtown Seattle location on Pike. Inspired by a single macchiato, the founders of Seattle Coffee Works wanted to create a space where coffee aficionados could go to appreciate and taste new, sometimes experimental brews. Their hope was making the coffee equivalent of a tasting room for a wino or five-star restaurant for foodies. While you’re in the area, check out this taste of Pike Place market tour.
Milstead & Co.
The closest and best café to the iconic Fremont Troll is Milstead & Co. Just up the road from where the Lake Washington Shipping Canal meets Lake Union, Milstead is in the thick of the Fremont neighborhood, which has a unique feel and where locals call themselves Fremonsters. Milstead itself is a cozy spot with floor-length windows, a good space for pensively gazing out on a classic rainy Seattle day.
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OK, so we lied. But for coffee enthusiasts going to Seattle, it’s a must to see where the coffee giants made their start. The original Starbucks is only a block away from the famous Pike Place Market and visitors are sure to appreciate their humble beginnings and will be excited to see things like the original mermaid logo on display. This first-ever Starbucks is naturally a pit stop on the Seattle coffee crawl tour.