My Favorite Coffee in Seattle

If you’re just visiting Seattle, or you’ve just moved here, or if, like me, you want to expand your coffee knowledge, here are some of my favorite coffee spots.

I truly love living in a coffee town. I’m spoiled by the choices around here, and I’m always on the lookout for new, good places to go. Sometimes that’s in search of a good place to write, and other times it’s solely about the coffee itself—often the two intersect.

If you’re just visiting Seattle, or you’ve just moved here, or if, like me, you want to expand your coffee knowledge, here are some of my favorites as of May 2017. This isn’t a comprehensive list—just the favorites off the top of my head. Feel free to ping me on Twitter if you’re looking for more recommendations.

Slate Coffee Roasters

The folks at Slate Coffee know their stuff and really demonstrate a passion for coffee. Oh, I know, that’s an eyeroll-phrase right there, but trust me, you can tell when a shop is there because it seemed like a good business venture or a good location and when the owners live and breathe it and still love it. (Remember, coffee is a difficult business, especially in an area with so much good competition.) One of the owners also recently placed 2nd in the US Brewer’s Cup competition.

Be sure to try the Deconstructed Latte, which arrives in three glasses: an espresso shot, steamed milk, and then espresso and milk together as a latte.

Located in Ballard, Pioneer Square, the University District, and Downtown.

Seattle Coffee Works, Ballard Coffee Works, Capitol Coffee Works

Originally, Seattle Coffee Works near Pike Place Market was a tiny shop that had coffee beans from dozens of local roasters, but then they expanded the place and started roasting their own. The espresso is consistently good, and the Ballard location can be a great place to work.

Located downtown, in Ballard, and a new shop on Capitol Hill.


Elm Coffee Roasters

I discovered Elm Coffee Roasters while working in Pioneer Square last year and try to get there for a macchiato or cortado when I’m in the area. Although other shops are nearby, such as Zeitgeist, which is also good, Elm’s light roasting appeals more to my palate. And if you’re in need of a distraction, you can watch them roast the coffee in a big Probat roaster on one side of the cafe.

(Note that they don’t have any public power outlets, so make sure your laptop is charged if you’re planning on working for a bit.)

Located in Pioneer Square near the fire station.

Milstead & Co.

This Fremont coffee shop is currently in temporary digs while the building they were in a block away gets rebuilt, but the move hasn’t changed the quality of the coffee. Milstead & Co. is a little out of the way from the main core of Fremont (where you’ll find other good coffee shops, such as Fremont Coffee Company), but it’s worth taking the left on 34th and walking a couple of blocks.

Located in Fremont, down the hill from the famous Fremont Troll.

Royal Drummer Cafe

Another Ballard location, the Royal Drummer Cafe is less than a year old but very, very good. Not only is the coffee exceptional, but they have a full bakery inside that makes amazing coconut bread and perhaps one of the best apple fritters I’ve had in years.

Located in Ballard.


There are many, many other spots in town. Stalwarts such as Espresso Vivace and Victrola Coffee are worth visiting if you’re up on Capitol Hill (but I don’t get up there often enough). And, of course, for spectacle there’s the Starbucks Roastery, which is visually magnificent and also has much better coffee than what is normally found in the stores.

If you know of particularly good spots, let me know in the comments!

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  1. I try to limit myself to one Royal Drummer coconut bread slice every two weeks, but man is it tough.


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