When you take our rich coffee culture into account, along with the fact that our city is the birthplace of java giants like Starbucks and Seattle’s Best, it’s virtually impossible to compete for the title of best coffee house in Seattle. However, there are a few spots scattered around the city that practically beg for you to come inside and grab a cup of something you’ve never tasted. These are our city’s own born and bred microroasters and exotic recipe artisans. They’ll serve you something just a bit more special than the cup you’re used to drinking, and they’ll leave you feeling like you could never possibly get enough. The only challenge is that there are so many extraordinary coffeehouses in Seattle that choosing a favorite feels like an insurmountable task.
While it’s hard to say that one or the other is actually “the best”, here are a few locally-owned and operated spots that you don’t want to miss when you move to Seattle:
Moore Coffee Shop
1930 2nd Ave, Seattle, WA 98101
In a miniscule space connected to the Moore Hotel, you will find one of the most charming little coffee shops our city has to offer. That tiny café was once a utility closet, and its owner was once the hotel’s long-time maintenance manager. Today, it’s a place where you will find anything your java-loving heart desires, from cold brew to something a bit steamier.
This impressive little spot serves up perfection in a variety of ways. If the espresso maker takes too long to produce your shot, it’s tossed out and the entire process starts again. The cold brew is made in a device that was hand crafted by the shop owner himself. They’re so proud and sure of their methods that they even offer public access to live streaming video of their baristas hard at work.
It doesn’t end there, though. Moore Coffee Shop is recognized city-wide for being an authority in creative latté foam art. Whether you’re after a lion, a tiger, a bear, or something else, you can be sure that your beverage is going to look as good as it tastes.
Elm Coffee Roasters
240 2nd Avenue South, Seattle, WA 98104
Elm Coffee Roasters in Pioneer Square is a relatively new kid on the block, having only recently reached its first anniversary in business. The shop’s owner was born and raised in Seattle and has spent his entire adult life in the business of coffee, and his partner in crime is a former roaster for Stumptown. You know it has to be good, right?
If you’re wondering what sets this shop apart, you should look to the methods behind the magic. Elm Coffee Roasters is among the shops in Seattle that is into lighter roasts, and the people behind the magic are focused on consumer education. They’ll talk with you about everything having to do with coffee, from home preparation to professional barista techniques, and even a bit of general coffee trivia. If you’re a coffee lover in Seattle, add Elm Coffee Roasters to your list of must-try shops around the city.
Slate Coffee Roasters
5413 6th Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107
It doesn’t matter what city you are in; you can’t go wrong with a locally-owned, family-operated business. Slate Coffee is all about getting back to the basics, but that doesn’t mean that the double-mocha-whatever-lovers won’t also find something they love. Since its opening in 2012, it has earned a reputation as one of the best microroasters in the city, which is extremely well-deserved.
In fact, the coffee house is so popular that it has had to expand drastically to meet the demand. In December 2015, Slate Coffee Roasters open two new locations in Seattle. You now have your pick of three separate locations: one in Ballard, one in Pioneer Square, and one in the University District.
Tin Umbrella Coffee
5600 Rainier Ave S, Seattle 98118
Tin Umbrella is located in South Seattle’s Hillman City, and much to the delight of residents of that area, they will even deliver your cup o’ joe right to your front door. That’s right; Tin Umbrella Coffee operates a bike courier coffee delivery service. It sounds too good to be true, but it isn’t.
There’s so much more to love about this place. In addition to the exotic espressos and artisan coffee blends it serves, you should take the time to appreciate the shop’s eco-friendly practices and the intentional manner with which it supports the community. In 2013, Tin Umbrella raised $30,000 through crowdfunding to support the purchase of essential equipment and the design of the website. The shop’s founders have returned that local support in spades. They serve locally-prepared baked goods and locally-sourced organic cream. They also display the works of local artists and craftspeople. Everything they do is about supporting the native Seattle culture we love so much.
You could say that about all of the coffee shops listed here. Coffee is as much a part of Seattle as our unrivaled mountain and waterfront views, and it’s even better when it is being served by one of our own. Be sure to keep these shops in mind when you’re looking for the best coffee house in Seattle.