Monday, July 22, 2024

The Best Coffee in Seattle: 24 Best Coffee Shops (2021)

Coffee is sacred in Seattle. But why is that? And where should you go to experience the city’s coffee culture? Read on to learn why Seattle is synonymous with coffee, as well as the best places to drink drip, espresso, and more throughout the city. 


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Why Is Seattle Known for Coffee? 

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. 

During the late 60’s and early 70’s, coffee houses began to pop up all over the city. Seattle’s cold and rainy months combined with the bohemian culture of this time period made for the perfect place to start serving the hot beverage. The Last Exit was created in 1967 in the University District as a very popular gathering spot for poets, students, and artists alike.

Some years later in 1971, three coffee connoisseurs did something that would jumpstart and forever change the coffee industry in Seattle. Gordon Bowker, Jerry Baldwin, and Zev Siegl wanted to share their love of high-quality beans. In order to do this, they pooled their money, ordered coffee in bulk from Peet’s Coffee and Tea in Berkeley, California, and opened up the nautical-themed Starbucks Coffee on Western Avenue. In 1976, these roasters moved to Seattle’s historic Pike Place Market, known as the original Starbucks location.

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The creation of Starbucks paved the way for coffee. But in the 1990’s, we started to see an increase in independent roasters and coffee shops in Seattle (and elsewhere in the country). Even with a Starbucks or Seattle’s Best Coffee shop on seemingly every corner, the growing coffee consumer culture has taken an increased focus on speciality coffee, which allows local roasters to thrive.

The 24 Best Coffee Shops in Seattle 

Ready to drink the best coffee in Seattle? From longstanding favorites to rising stars—many of whom are our partners—these are the best coffee roasters and shops in Seattle.

1. Fonté | 5501 6th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98108 | 206-762-0760

A short walk from Pike Place Market, Fonté’s signature cafe is upscale, with a robust menu of single-origin roasts. If you enjoy medium-to-dark roasts, Sage Lattes, and could use a snack (that’s not a protein box), this is the place to go while you’re in town. 

2. Seattle Coffee Works | 108 Pine St. Seattle, WA 98101 | 206-340-8867

Seattle Coffee Works was once home to Seattle’s first original multi-roaster cafe. Today, it’s 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 photos from his latest trip to Kenya. Try one of the lightly roasted single-origin roasts brewed your way at the pour over bar.

3. Caffe Ladro | 801 Pine St, Seattle, WA 98101 

Caffe Ladro (Ladro Roasting) is an iconic Seattle coffee brand with 15-plus cafes around town. The location on Pine is a short walk from Pike Place Market, making it one of the most popular locations. They always have a lighter single origin roast on tap from a farm that Ladro owner Jack Kelly has visited on his annual pilgrimage. Ladro bakes its own pastries and always has uniquely crafted coffee drinks on the menu, such as Medici, a mocha with fresh orange zest.

4. Monorail Espresso | 510 Pike St, Seattle, WA 98101 | 206-422-0736

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

5. ETG Cafe & Bakery (Longshoremen’s Daughter Roasters) | 3512 Fremont Pl N, Seattle, WA 98103 | 206-633-3685

Note: This cafe is temporarily closed as of August 2021. 

Established in the early 90’s, 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 (Walk’n Boss and Bearded Lady by Longshoreman’s Daughter Roasters), which have become staples for locals and Bean Box customers nationwide. Delicious pastries are baked fresh every morning.

6. Lighthouse Roasters | 400 N 43rd St, Seattle, WA 98103 | 206-633-4775

Nestled in Fremont, Lighthouse Roasters is Seattle’s first cafe and roastery combination, known for its full-bodied dark roasts. The roasting is done in the center of the cafe on a vintage machine.

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7. Milstead & Co. | 754 N 34th St, Seattle, WA 98103 | 206-659-4814

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. All of its coffees are brewed-to-order on a scale with an AeroPressFun Fact: Milstead & Co. was Bean Box’s first ‘satellite office’ as we grew from an idea to a business worthy of a bigger space.

8. Slate Coffee Roasters | 5413 6th Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107 

Note: This location is temporarily closed as of August 2021. 

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 ChemexSlate Coffee Roasters isn’t just a cafe; it’s an experience. 

9. La Marzocco Cafe & Showroom | 472 1st Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109 | 206-388-3500

Note: This location is temporarily closed as of August 2021. 

La Marzocco Cafe & Showroom is a beautiful coffee institution at the base of the Seattle Space Needle. A high-end espresso machine manufacturer with equipment crafted in Italy, its cafe invites a new roaster to hold court each month. La Marzocco shares a space with the local radio station, KEXP, and a great little record store, too. 

10. Victrola Coffee Roasters  | 310 E Pike St., Seattle, WA 98122 | 1-800-575-5282

Since 2000, Victrola has been spinning the coffee hits that fuel Seattle. Through longstanding relationships with farms and endless experimentation, Victrola refines each roast into a true masterpiece. It has four locations in Seattle, with its flagship store on Pike Street in Capitol Hill. 

11. Caffe Vita Roasters  | 532 Broadway Ave. East Seattle WA 9810 | 206-712-2132

Caffe Vita is one of Seattle’s largest independent roasters, with several locations throughout the city (as well as two locations in New York City and one in Portland, Oregon). Its cafe and roastery on Capitol Hill is a tribute to its focus on coffee. 

12. Espresso Vivace  | 1005 E Pike St. Seattle, WA 98122 | 206-860-2722

A blend of art and science, Espresso Vivace serves espresso only and serves it well. Vivace’s owner, David Shomer, is a local legend. He’s known as the godfather of latte art and is famous 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. 

13. Broadcast Coffee Roasters  | 1005 E Pike St. Seattle, WA 98122 | 206-860-2722

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

14. Ghost Note | 1623 Bellevue Ave, Seattle, WA 98122 | 

Order the Lush Life (espresso, almond milk and orange blossom honey syrup) or London Smog (pine-smoked black tea, oat milk, and spiced honey) at Ghost Note, which sources its coffee from Broadcast Coffee Roasters. “Every beverage is crafted meticulously with the attention to flavors and complementary aromatics that you expect from high-end cocktail bars and mixologists, but it’s coffee and tea!” says Parka Garrett, former Fulfillment Lead at Bean Box. “Its mainstay offerings are all vegan, too.” 

15. Seven Coffee Roasters Market & Cafe | 2007 NE Ravenna Blvd., Seattle, WA 98105 | 206-517-5572

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

16. Herkimer Coffee  | 901 Dexter Ave. N Seattle, WA 98109  | 206-274-8242

Herkimer Coffee is a roastery and cafe combination by Seattle coffee veterans Mike Prins and Scott Richardson. Order a Herkimer Drip, cold brew, or espresso and get ready to enjoy one of the most well balanced cups you’ve ever had. “The staff is friendly, the coffee is always exceptional, the service is quick, and the local pastries are pretty tasty, too,” says Maesy Hughes, Partnerships and Community Strategist at Bean Box. 

17. Anchorhead Coffee | CenturyLink Plaza, 1600 7th Ave Ste 105, Seattle, WA 98101 

It’s all about the house-made burnt honey at Anchorhead Coffee, one of the best coffee shops in Seattle. The burnt honey is featured in popular drinks such as Honey Bunches of Cold Brew (cold brew, oat milk and honey) and Shy Bear Fog (oolong tea, oat milk, and honey, a combination that Rosie Sun, Bean Box’s e-Commerce Fulfillment Manager, refers to as the “chef’s kiss” of Anchorhead). The staff also make a killer pour over, as well as fun seasonal drinks. Anchorhead Coffee has two locations in Seattle: Downtown and next to Pike Place Market. 

18. General Porpoise | 1020 E. Union St. Seattle, WA 98122 | 206-900-8770

Go to General Porpoise for the espresso, stay for some of the best donuts in Seattle (made onsite), says Nicole Kendall, Customer Delight Coordinator at Bean Box. General Porpoise is a multi-roaster coffee shop, so there’s always something new to try. You can find General Porpoise in Pioneer Square, Capitol Hill and Laurelhurst. 

19. Zoka Coffee | 2200 N 56th St, Seattle, WA 98103 | 206-545-4277

Zoka Coffee does an Iced Honey Lavender Latte that’s floral, sweet and rich. It pairs especially well with the outdoor seating. 

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20. Sound and Fog | 4735 40th Ave SW Seattle, WA 98116 

Andrew Maier, Customer Delight Coordinator at Bean Box, recommends the Cardamom Latte at Sound and Fog. “There’s enough cardamom to remind you that it’s a floral and citrusy spice and not just something you add a pinch of to other recipes.” It’s a tiny shop with a small, but well-curated natural wine selection and an occasional selection of Northern European roasted coffees. Sound and Fog is located in West Seattle. 

21. Olympia Coffee Roasters | 4824 Rainier Ave S, Seattle, WA 98118 | 206-906-9543

The seasonal Latte with Strawberry Beret Syrup is a must at Olympia Coffee Roasters, which has two locations in Seattle (Columbia City and West Seattle). The latte features strawberries and pink peppercorns, combined with iced Rishi Peppermint tea. 

22. Moonshot Coffee | 9622 16th Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98106 | 206-620-0315

At Moonshot, Maier likes the the Espresso and Tonic, as well as the Golden Milk. “The Espresso and Tonic is bright, citrusy, and refreshing, and the Golden Milk is the smoothest turmeric drink I’ve had in a long time,” he says. You’ll find Moonshot in White Center. 

23. Boon Boona Coffee | 1223 Cherry St. C121B Seattle, WA 98122  

Boon Boona Coffee is based in Renton, Washington, but opened a Seattle outpost in April 2021. Owned by Efrem Fesaha, born in Eritrea and raised in Seattle, Boon Boona features single-origin African roasts. 

24. Cloud City Coffee | 8801 Roosevelt Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115 | 206-527-5552

Cloud City Roasting Company has a cozy cafe where you’ll find everything from a Cortado to a Sesame Latte, plus breakfast and lunch. 

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