Ditch the Avocado for These Japanese Toasts
Blonde wood and big windows frame this trendy, open space in beautiful natural light. But even the just-twee-enough modern decor can't outshine the impeccably sourced beans roasted in-house here. Espresso is their strong suit, and the carefully pulled shots go perfectly with pastries from neighboring London Plane.
A distillation of Seattle in coffee and music
More immersive coffee museum and shrine than simple cafe, this shop serves as the showroom for the Italian espresso machine company of the same name. The space displays coffee history while creating the coffee future through its rotating roaster program. Each month, a new roaster from around the world takes up residence, serving as a cafe-within-a-cafe. The experience brings in beans, techniques, and coffee knowledge from around the world. And the soundtrack isn't bad either -- it's located inside the studios of Seattle's world-renowned KEXP radio station.
Ballard (& other locations)
Bring your patience to Slate and you’ll be rewarded with the perfect coffee for you. Knowledgeable baristas will ask you questions about your preferences until they can line you up with just the right cup -- or perhaps a tasting flight, if you’re all about variety.
Shining with simplicity
There's no Wi-Fi and no frills at this sparse but stunning Greenwood shop. The focus instead, as the name implies, is upon the people and preserves within. Specifically, the carefully gathered vendors and equipment -- Conduit coffee, Sea Wolf bread, a toddy cold-brew system -- pair with the house-made jams and marmalades for peaceful and pleasant cafe. It’s the kind of place that encourages you to start the day with a conversation, not an internet connection.
A historic location pouring out modern coffee
Send your tourists to the original Starbucks to snap a few photos, but if they want to see the forefront of today’s coffee scene, send them here, just up the street. For those looking only for a quick pick-me-up, there’s the usual coffee bar, but for those wanting to learn more, watch a variety of brewing methods, or have an in-depth discussion about beans, there’s the other side -- the Slow Bar. Don’t miss it.
Cap Hill (& other locations)
Catering to everyone's needs (and doing it well)
A modern update of the classic coffee shop, Broadcast delivers everything you need in a caffeine spot with style, smarts, and its own roasts -- plus other favorites. It's got big, clean, air-conditioned spaces with Wi-Fi (perfect for working alone or meeting up with groups) and staff who know what they’re talking about when it comes to everything from pour-over to espresso.
Central District (& other locations)
Sips that tell a story at one of Seattle's oldest shops
Opened in 2007, it clocks in as one of the oldest of the hardcore coffee-nerd shops (also one of the least snobby), and that age shows in experience. Down-to-earth baristas understand every nuance of every bean and brewing method, and are happy to share that expertise with customers -- but they also read a customer well and know when to just hand over a cup of their best brew without much more than a smile.
Cutting-edge coffee and mixed coffee drinks
When this SoDo roaster opened shop on Sixth, it channeled its seven years of coffee expertise, tasting, and teaching into the most coffee-forward cafe experience it could. That includes featuring some of their most interesting beans -- like the ones from the Yunnan province of China -- and also getting creative with their drinks. Sure, in the wide-windowed space you'll find perfectly-crafted pourovers, but also drinks like the nimbus: chilled espresso with mulled-apple-rosehip-cascara syrup and orange zest, shaken and charged with nitrogen for foaminess.
A multi-roaster paradise (with wine and beer to boot)
If Instagram were a coffee nerd, this is the coffee shop it would create: design-forward, impeccably curated, and always in search of the next big thing without abandoning the classics. The shop always creates classic drinks and serves Portland's Heart Coffee, but it supplements that by rotating through two other roasters each month, from around the world (Sweden, Ireland, Canada) or the country (Omaha, Delaware, South Carolina). They've also got wine, beer on tap, and even canned sparkling cocktails, in the cutest of cans.