Coffee is the heartbeat of the PNW. Seattle has some of the best coffee out there and chances are you may have tried some of the coffee at your local coffee shops. There are so many roasteries throughout the entire state of Washington that supply coffee all over the United States. If you’ve been to Starbucks before, then you’ve had Seattle coffee since it is the birthplace. You can even go visit the original Starbucks in Pike’s Place. I have left Starbucks off the list because while it is technically local to Seattle, there are so many amazing, smaller coffee shops and roasters to try. The list below highlights my absolute favorites ranging from classics to unique spots you won’t find anywhere else. See how many you can try while you’re in Seattle!
- Storyville – located inside Pike’s Place and a bit challenging to find if you aren’t looking for it. If you haven’t been here before, ask them about the free mug for first time visitors! The coffee is smooth and strong with a comfortable, warm space to drink it in overlooking the market.
2. Olympia – it is only fitting that the capital has a roastery and coffee brand named after it. Olympia has an extensive list of different roasts and works to promote fair trade in eight different countries. You can find Olympia beans in many shops in and around Seattle. Olympia has a few cafes around with my favorite in Columbia City. Their cafe menu is simple but the coffee is rich and so silky. Try their Haupia Latte with housemade haupia syrup – a hawaiian coconut milk pudding.
3. Cafe Umbria – a Seattle classic. The flagship store is located in Pioneer Square, but they have several locations throughout Seattle. The coffee is so rich and smooth, just how it should be. This is an Italian Roaster so the majority of their beans are on the medium to dark end. When I think of Seattle coffee, THIS is what comes to mind and represents the best of the best. You won’t find any trending, specialty coffee here but you don’t need it. Grab a classic cappuccino or traditional macchiato and spend some time on their outdoor patio really sipping and tasting the espresso.
4. Cafe Ladro – another Seattle staple that you can find everywhere with over a dozen locations throughout the area. Their espresso is creamy and smooth. It is a bit more on the bitter side but not too acidic or overpowering. You’ll find a pretty standard coffee menu here – cappuccinos, lattes, americanos etc. Grab a cappuccino and you’ll be able to tell they mean business. Perfect foam to milk ratios every single time.
5. Fulcrum – a modern spot featuring classic and specialty drinks. They also roast their own beans and have a line of different roasts -Fulcrum, Silver Cup, and Urban City. Fulcrum Cafe is in the center of downtown Seattle. I love this spot for their unique lattes like Snuggle Me, Sesame (toasted black sesame + brown sugar), Pretty in Pink (pink beetroot latte with rosewater), Purple Rain (ube latte), and the Anacortes (lavender, chamomile + espresso topped with soda water and coconut milk).
6. Herkimer – my favorite coffee shop in Seattle. I used to live across from their Dexter location and the baristas are so knowledgeable and make an excellent coffee. Their coffee quality is one of the highest and they pride themselves on sustainability, dedication and partnership. They also practice old world cultivation processes to ensure sustainable practices when harvesting and roasting. Herkimer is the smoothest and creamiest I have had. Their espresso is almost sweet because of the richness and smoothness they have achieved. You won’t find an ounce of bitterness or acidity in their beans.
7. Coffeeholics – this coffee spot has taken Seattle by storm and is the first of its kind. It is a Vietnamese coffee shop featuring drinks you have probably never had or heard of. The staff is super friendly and the coffee drinks are incredible. They do tend to be on the sweeter side, so I always adjust the sweetness down. My Recommendations: Coffeeholic Dream + Ube Drizzle, Bac Siu, and White Hazel.
8. Papa Chango – one of a kind and the tiniest coffee shop in Seattle. It only has enough room to fit two employees and maybe 3 customers at a time, but don’t let that steer you away. The coffee is strong and the drinks are inspired by Miami – very latin and caribbean forward. The Abuelita Mocha will warm your soul. My other favorites here include: Cafe con Meil, Cafe con Horchata, and Cafe con Leche. This is a great spot to grab coffee on a Sunday and walk around the market.
9. Hello Em – another Vietnamese coffee shop located in Little Saigon. This spot is all about community and educating Seattle on the history and culture. It is a small place with limited seating available. Even though they are also a Vietnamese coffee shop, their drinks are completely different from Coffeeholics. My Top 3 Drinks: Ca Phe Chuoi, Ca Phe Cot Dua, Ca Phe Brulee. Also check out their banh mi – the viet dog is my favorite.
10. Semicolon – So this one is technically in Bellevue, but it is worth the detour. It is a modern cafe with lots of white. My go to order: Iced Tiramisu Latte and Bulgogi Sandwich. Their coffee is light and smooth and their specialty lattes are so fun! If you want a stronger espresso drink I recommend their cappuccino.
There are constantly more coffee shops popping up in and around Seattle. Did I miss your favorites? Let me know in the comments and I’ll add them to my list to try.