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Some of the best coffee shops in Seattle

It’s kind of our thing.

Coffee being poured into an orange ceramic mug

Sound and Fog makes well-crafted espressos in handsome ceramics.

Photo via @soundandfog

Table of Contents

For richer or pour over, Seattle’s sensational coffee shops are what keep us going in the morning. Our city helped create cafe culture more than 50 years ago — thanks to a certain coffee giant — and we’ve been sipping right along ever since.

The Emerald City has no shortage of masterful baristas, aromatic roasts, and foamy lattes. But if you’re having trouble deciding on a spot, gather some brews clues with our guide to some of the best coffee shops in Seattle.

Pro tip: If you need to refine your order, review the different kinds of coffee before stepping up to the counter.

The inside of Caffe Vita's coffee shop located at the KEXP building with a large front counter, roasts on display, and dim golden lighting.

Caffe Vita’s flagship KEXP location often hosts cupping events.

Photo via Nathan Lowe

Espresso yourself

Caffe Vita, Various locations | You’ll find a strong cup here made by baristas so skilled they’ve competed in national championships. We recommend the spacious KEXP outpost if you want to spread out.

Overcast Coffee Co., Capitol Hill | This little shop aims to create a space where people can nerd out about coffee roasting without some of the pretension — bring your questions and a need for caffeine.

Santo Coffee, Ravenna | As a roasting business, this spot pays quite a bit of attention to how it prepares its brews for guests — those cortados are practically whispering sweet nothings in our ear. The Panela latte with unrefined Colombian cane sugar and orange bitters is also calling our name.

Cafe Allegro, U District | With a history that goes back nearly 50 years, it’s hard not to get nostalgic for those shaggy early days of Seattle coffee — and the original espresso blend has delightful smoky notes.

Espresso Vivace, Various locations | Those who love caramel flavors will want to hit up this old-school joint, which uses a Northern Italian style of roasting.

Moonshot Coffee, White Center | This part-cafe, part-bottle shop serves up rich double shots from Olympia made with care. Take home some well-curated natural wine, too.

Monorail Espresso, Various locations | From humble beginnings 40 years ago as a roving cart, Monorail’s smooth drinks are now a staple of the downtown crowd.

Three plastic cups filled with a purple-colored coffee drink and labels that say "Hood Famous"

Hood Famous is known for smooth ube lattes, but has other specialty drinks, too.

Specialty drinks

Hood Famous Cafe + Bar, Chinatown-International District | The Filipino bakeshop known for its cheesecake also makes a mean ube latte as delicious as it is pretty.

Dote, Bellevue | In addition to offering its own roasted beans, one of the company’s owners is a chocolatier who’s created a series of ganaches that are blended into the shop’s drinks. Talk about decadence.

Grumpy Bean, Various locations | This biz, which has been keeping downtown workers from getting too crabby for years now, partners with brands like Aditi Chai to create a whole host of yummy drinks. We’ve got our eye on that churro latte, for sure.

Cloud City Coffee, Maple Leaf | We all like a solid seasonal sipper — try out winter drinks like the ChaiNog or the Cranberry Matcha Latte.

Matcha Magic, Bellevue | Yes, yes, this shop technically focuses on matcha — but, you won’t complain once you take a sip of its drinks, like its toasted marshmallow latte, macadamia nut latte, or the matcha colada.

Cafe Avole, Central District | Espressos here are brewed in a clay pot as an homage to Ethiopian traditions, while the sweet macchiatos can be customized with eight different flavors and sauces.

Hello Em, Little Saigon | This Vietnamese coffee shop (and sibling to Pho Bac) serves a creamy drink known as the pandan egg cloud — it’ll have you floating.

Anchorhead, Various Locations | You may recognize the name from roasts on grocery store shelves, but visit one of the cafes to try its experimental cold brew flavors, like the one made with burnt honey.

Empire Roasters and Records, Columbia City | Sip on a matcha latte with cashew milk made- with date syrup, while perusing the extensive collection of vinyl albums.

A bag that says Onda Origins next to a small glass filled with espresso

Onda Origins gives detailed backgrounds of each farmer it works with to customers.

Photo via @ondaorigins

Roasts to boast

Victrola Coffee, Various locations | Grab a bag or a subscription for one of Victrola’s meticulously curated single origins roasts — free tastings every Friday open the floor to questions.

Fonte Coffee Roaster, Various locations | While this company spreads it finely roasted blends (like the Colombia Piendamo Cauca with notes of kiwi and cola) across our city, it’s also moving in on the Irish with an outpost in Dublin.

Elm Coffee Roasters, Pioneer Square | There are complex finds to delight coffee nerds here, pairing nicely with pastries from Sea Wolf bakers.

Armistice Coffee Co., Various locations | In addition to its four stores spread around Seattle, you can also find its blends at popular hangouts like Kamp Social House, Grappa, and Leschi Market.

Fulcrum Cafe, Belltown | It’s rare for a roaster to be led by a fifth-generation coffee farmer — but that’s part of what makes Fulcrum’s beans stand out.

Herkimer, Various locations | You’ll find roasts from small farms in Mexico, Guatemala, Rwanda, and other countries that taste equally great on-site or brewed at home.

Onda Origins, Hillman City | Baristas will happily help walk you through techniques to bring out the best flavors from each batch — your cash also goes directly to the original growers.

Three plates — one with wild rice, one with tacos, and one with blue cornmeal topped with green leaves.

By using pre-colonial ingredients, ʔálʔal Cafe aims to empower the Native community.

Photo via ʔálʔal Cafe

Best bites

Phin, Little Saigon | At this charming Vietnamese coffee shop, the pandan waffles — made with a crispy exterior — are becoming legendary. They go well with those sweet, rich drinks.

Little Jaye, South Park | Flavors from smokehouse Lady Jaye have been set loose upon a bakery menu that includes treats like biscuits, rice krispy treats, and cakes. They’re all complimented by excellent brews from Stamp Act Coffee.

Cafe Hagen, Various locations | This biz has its own bakery plus a huge selection of dishes like grilled brie + prosciutto toast, ginger chicken salad, and salmon breakfast buns. They’ll go nicely with your salted caramel latte.

ʔálʔal Café, Pioneer Square | Items like bison tacos and Navajo Nation blue corn bread are just a couple of breakfast highlights at this new Native-owned cafe.

Cherry Street, Various locations | Grab a hearty lunch with your iced coffee — there are gyros, falafel salads, spinach pies, and Persian rice bowls.

Brightspot, Mount Baker | This shop looks a little like what you might imagine would happen if a unicorn opened a coffee shop, from its cheery interior design to its bright snacks and merch. Plus, it’s got a pretty solid menu of avocado toast, burrata bowls, and ham + cheese croissants.

Tailwind, Capitol Hill | This cafe prides itself as having the “finest avocado toast in the city.” Sounds like we’ll all have to go try it for ourselves.

Volunteer Park Cafe & Pantry, Capitol Hill | The cozy spot serves delectable pastries crafted by an ex Canlis pastry chef + fancy toasts. Whipped goat cheese with marmalade, anyone?

Makeda and Mingus, Greenwood | Forget light snacks — you’ll find rotating weekly dinners inspired by the owner’s Indian roots, from aloo gobi to curry and beyond.

Shelves of books and a painting in the background; a white cafe booth in the foreground

Grab book and something hot to drink at Little Oddfellows.

Photo via @oddfellowscafe

Where to write your novel

Boon Boona, First Hill + UW | The relaxed vibes at the cafe and African coffee roaster is perfect for those who want to sit and ponder life.

Cafe Solstice, U District | It’ll be hard to not feel focused on your work as you sit among all of the UW students sweating and studying for their next exam. Plus, with a solid menu of snacks and drinks, you won’t need to move anywhere once you’re in a groove.

Dubsea Coffee, White Center | Though not a large space, the light-filled cafe just a block away from a library has plenty of peace and quiet.

Mr. West, Various locations | As they say, write drunk, edit sober. This menu shifts throughout the day from yummy breakfast items and coffees to a selection of more robust sandwiches and wines in the evening hours.

Gemini Room, Capitol Hill | If you’re looking for a mood-setting atmosphere, this space leans heavily into those retro ‘70s vibes, without the odd wooden paneling or water beds.

Little Oddfellows, Capitol Hill | When you’re a coffee shop inside Elliott Bay Bookstore, it’s safe to say you like to keep it lit.

Four Funko dolls hover over a slice of sponge cake.

Distant Worlds has menu items named after geeky pop culture icons.

Events and pop-ups

Black Coffee Northwest, Various locations | In addition to brewing a great cup of joe, this local biz offers youth programs that teach kids about how to run a business. It also regularly hosts makers markets and festivals — and will soon have a cafe in the Central District.

Neko Cat Cafe, Capitol Hill | Check two things off your to-do list here — adopt a new kitty and grab a cup of coffee. Or, if you’re not in the mood to make a commitment, you can just hang out with the kitties while you sip instead.

C&P Coffee Co., West Seattle | Nestled in what was once someone’s home, West Seattleites note this spot for its cozy atmosphere that fosters those warm fuzzy feelings of community. Check out their silent reading parties, live music, poetry readings, and open mic events.

Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Capitol Hill | While the cavernous flagship can get packed with tourists, you can reserve a spot at the bar’s many tasting events and brewing demos.

Zeitgeist Coffee, Pioneer Square | After you’ve grabbed your drink of choice, check out the artworks on display from a rotating selection of artists or keep a look out for events like tarot readings and speed dating.

Mabel, Ballard | There’s live music and a flexible workspace in the back known as the “The RV Park” where pop-ups can test things out.

Fuel Coffee, Capitol Hill | Join the free, weekly “Sip Sessions,” which range from oolong tea tastings to the basics of coffee cupping.

Resistencia, South Park | The Cafe con Leche hosts open mic nights on the first Tuesday of every month, letting local musicians and poets shine.

Distant Worlds, Roosevelt | Geeks often gather here for a Star Trek discussion group or Dungeons & Dragons session — there are regular pie and Cuban pastry pop-ups, too.

A black bag of coffee beans with the Yellow Butterfly label next to a frothy raspberry smoothie-like drink.

Yellow Butterfly uses Puerto Rican coffee for its concoctions.

Where to cool off

Coffeeholic House, Various locations | You’ll wanna pack a sweet tooth when visiting this Vietnamese cafe sensation known for wild, frosty concoctions like the Ube Monster.

Yellow Butterfly Coffee, Pioneer Square | The raspberry white chocolate iced coffee may make you wonder why you ever drank hot beverages in the first place.

Bellden Cafe, Bellevue | Nicknamed the “nicest place in Washington” by Reader’s Digest, this coffee shop with reservable conference rooms has a community fund to benefit local nonprofits like Jubilee Reach, Vision House, and the Washington Trails Association.

Lula Coffee Co., West Seattle | It’s okay to be a little extra sometimes and order a toffee butter macchiato in front of a neon pink sign.

The Station, Beacon Hill | Grab a cold brew before hopping on the light rail — or order that dessert-like Mocha Mexicano on the rocks.

Cafe Red, Othello | Drinks like the iced vanilla latte infused with cinnamon hit the spot no matter the season — though we’d recommend sunning yourself on the patio when the weather is suitable.

A mug that says Moore Coffee with a cartoon drawing in latte milk on the top

Moore Coffee is one of the most playful latte specialists in town.

For latte art lovers

Moore Coffee, Belltown | From cartoon characters to lovely flowers, the pictures drawn via steamed milk at this quaint cafe will blow your mind (try the tamales, too).

Red Arrow Coffee, Ballard | The garden entrance and too-cute lattes make this an excellently Instagrammable spot.

Caffe Ladro, Various locations | The turmeric lattes at this old-school franchise add a little spice to gray Seattle days.

Tougo Coffee, Central District | Try the popular honey goat latte or the choc-oat dairy-free option, always poured with love.

Sound and Fog, West Seattle | Hang these drinks in a museum — the minimalist cafe makes a pretty matcha latte with nary a drop out of place.

Analog Coffee, Capitol Hill | Come for the shaggy, retro vinyl aesthetics, but stay for the wonderful experiments like a spiced sweet potato latte.

Be the barista

Shop our favorite coffee essentials to turn your house into our city’s next great coffee destination.

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