Given the long history of specialty coffee in Seattle, it’s not surprising that coffee shops and coffee houses abound in this West Coast city.
But navigating the long list of best coffee shops in Seattle can be a challenge. In this post I’ll make it easy for you by covering the best coffee shops and what to look for at each spot.
So if you’re looking for not only great coffee, but the best coffee in Seattle, read on.
The 12 Best Seattle Coffee Shops 2023
1. Fonté Cafe
They’ve been roasting for decades. But in 2009 Fonté Cafe opened their shop, and it’s been a hit since then. Located on First Avenue, the coffee shop is close to the Pike Place Market and the Seattle Art Museum.
With a vibe somewhere between casual and formal, you can get great food and cocktails at this cafe.
But as you would expect with this local roaster, you can also dig deep into pour-over coffee brewing techniques and cuppings. You can learn about origins and roasting methods and taste coffees from around the globe.
Try their classic affogato, Turkish latte, or their mocha. And when you feel the pang of hunger, check out their sandwiches like paninis or their Croque Madame.
2. Fulcrum Café
This local roaster has been roasting coffee in Seattle for 25 years and are well known on the specialty coffee circuit.
Their coffee is served at local cafes around the city, but in 2019 they opened up their own shop. The warm interior of the modern shop lets in the sunlight. You can choose to sit at individual tables or at the high countertops.
With a fifth-generation coffee farmer from Costa Rica behind the helm, it’s not surprising that coffee takes the forefront. They have a seasonal coffee menu that reflects their high standards and commitment to the global coffee-growing community.
They roast in-house some of the best coffee in Seattle. But they also focus on education with barista training sessions and regular coffee cuppings for the public.
So feel free to step up to the impressive brew bar and learn about their single-origin, traceable coffees that have been carefully sourced.
Of course, you can get classic espresso drinks. But if you want something a bit more out of the box, take a look at their signature drinks with creative names and lattes with unusual combinations.
There’s more than just coffee, of course. You can dive into tea or soda drinks. And turn to their menu filled with generous breakfasts, salads, and pastries brought in from a nearby bakery.
3. Anchorhead Coffee
Anchorhead Coffee Company is an award-winning company that gives you premium quality signature roast coffees from around the world.
The several specialty coffee shop locations throughout Seattle all have a serious, dark, metal look. You can enjoy a good book on their comfy couches or sit at the bar.
These local roasters believe in doing everything related to coffee in-house. So they source, roast, and of course, brew everything themselves.
Anchorhead Coffee firmly follows the important guidelines of fair trade prices and source single-origin coffee options that are organic and non-GMO. You can feel good about what you drink here.
They have baked goods that are made in-house. Don’t miss their unique quaffle – it’s somewhere between a croissant and a cinnamon bun, and gets passed through a waffle iron. Go for beer and wine in the evening and try out their happy hour with tasty bites.
4. Elm Coffee Roasters – Pioneer Square
Bringing an East Coast feel to the West Coast, Elm Coffee Roasters opened their first coffee shop in 2013.
Located in Seattle’s oldest neighborhood, this coffee shop in Pioneer Square is in downtown Seattle, and it’s near…well, everything.
Modern and minimalist, the tables are ideal to work at, and the warm wood tones and plants create a comforting homey-style shop.
The high ceilings and windows lining the front give it a bright and light atmosphere. There’s a young and hip feel, with a bit of hope and optimism thrown in.
Elm Coffee Roasters specialize in carefully sourced coffee from around the world, so you get top notch coffee with a dose of coffee culture. Their coffee menu is simple and accessible, with just a few coffees, as well as seasonal drinks and latte art.
Coffee is roasted at the back of the shop, and a glass wall divides the roasting area from the coffee shop so you can see in the roasting area.
If you want to watch them roasting, stop by on a Tuesday, Thursday, or Sunday. They also have cupping sessions and classes there.
Of course, as with all the best coffee shops in Seattle, it’s not just about the coffee. Spectacular tea and scrumptious baked goods that are worth the calories are also on offer.
5. Victrola Coffee Roasters
An old staple in the coffee shop scene in Seattle, Victrola Coffee Roasters is a timeless coffee shop and one of the best local roasters in the region. They take the phrase ‘Made in Seattle’ to a whole new level of commitment.
A prominent roaster, Victrola Coffee Roasters has four locations with coffee shops that focus on inviting you into a warm environment of satisfying coffee experiences.
Their flavor profiles are a bit braver than other brands, with bold espresso roasts. Check out their single-origin coffee options, roasters choice, or their espresso blends.
They source coffee from around the world and roast the beans at their coffee shops in Seattle.Their coffees rotate regularly, since they buy what’s available on the market.
Go for the coffee or cold brew, but don’t forget to check out the kombucha on tap or the pastries, sandwiches, and salads.
What vibe are you looking for? They now have four coffee shops to choose from.
The Pike Street location includes a roastery, cupping space, and training area. Filled with sunshine in the day, the large tables make it a great space to work.
The Beacon Hill location is in an eclectic community-oriented neighborhood, and the shop has a minimalist and sleek look.
Capitol Hill is cozy and all about bringing together community with art showings, music, a living room feel. And their newest location is at 3rd & Pine in downtown Seattle, conveniently near the Westlake Station.
You’ll find a modern cafe with comfortable chairs to lounge around in, and the big windows let in plenty of energizing sunlight.
6. Café Allegro
If you’re a history buff, we have the perfect coffee shop for you. You might be surprised to hear that the oldest coffee shop in Seattle is Café Allegro, not the green mistress of the sea.
Yes, that’s right. It opened in 1975, tucked away in an unassuming alley in Seattle’s University District.
As the oldest espresso bar in the city, this coffee shop has been a permanent feature in the community for decades. It has a cozy old-time feel where tradition is done right.
The three seating areas give you comfortable and warm places to feel at home. This cafe oozes character and culture, with artwork on walls and a mix of customers that includes bohemian, intellectual, and working class coffee lovers.
Cities grow and expand, but tradition is still the roots of it all. But for Café Allegro, focusing on tradition doesn’t mean being stuck. They make the finest espressos.
In addition to the traditional espresso drinks made on a gleaming La Marzocco machine, you can get latte art, pour-overs, cold brew, and milk alternatives. They roast in small batches onsite and source their coffee from small farms around the world.
7. Elm Coffee Roasters – South Lake Union
Opened in August 2018, this location of Elm Coffee Roasters is in the lobby of the 9th & Thomas building. Large windows let the sunlight stream in.
Here, fabulous Elm Coffee mixes with the stunning design by famous architects. The café gives you regular table seating, but you can also take your coffee over to the comfortable adjoining hotel lobby to sink deep into the inviting armchairs.
This Elm Coffee Roasters location has the feeling of a home living room with a superb coffee bar attached.
8. Seattle Coffee Works
Opened in 2006 near Pike Place Market, Seattle Coffee Works has a refreshingly brief coffee menu, with espresso coffee drinks such as espresso, macchiato, cortado, americano, latte and cappuccino, and also drip coffee.
They have a small handful of non-coffee choices and you can get milk alternatives such as almond milk.
Keeping their coffee menu to small selection of single-origin coffee options, they focus on direct trade with coffee growers and pay living wages.
They also have blends, such as their Seattle Strong and Emerald City blends. They have now expanded beyond the original store to include more coffee shops in Seattle such as Cascade Coffee Works and Ballard Coffee Works.
9. Caffe Vita Roasters
Another Capitol Hill area local roaster, the independent Caffe Vita Roasters have been roasting coffee since 1995.
They promote a coffee culture environment that embraces both coffee and local culture by mixing locally roasted organic coffees with the music and art scene. And this Seattle coffee house keeps the community in the forefront.
Coffee shops, bakeries, and hotels around Washington sell Caffe Vita coffees. But their reach extends beyond Seattle. They now have shops as far afield as New York and Los Angeles.
They have a wide variety of coffee choices, with blends as well as a menu of single-origin coffee options. The selection reflects what’s available on the market, and they work with the farm direct model and roast on site.
Their menu includes fun seasonal drinks and signature drinks like Cookie milk latte (with cookies dunked into the coffee). Try their cold brew or take a completely different direction with their coffee drinks such as the orange and cream espresso soda.
10. Espresso Vivace
The list of best coffee shops in Seattle wouldn’t be complete without this historic shop. Espresso Vivace now has three locations, but they originally opened in 1988 at the Capitol Hill location.
They literally put latte art on the map at their inviting, busy, and energetic espresso bar.
They just do espresso drinks. No drip coffee here, no light roasts. Italian-style roasting takes center stage (think dark and intense).
But quality Arabica coffee beans make Espresso Vivace the best coffee shop to visit when you want a perfect Italian-style traditional espresso.
11. Caffe Ladro
In Italian, the name of this shop means coffee thief. But don’t worry, they won’t steal your coffee. They want to steal your heart, though, and they do it with top-notch coffees roasted fresh.
These award-winning roasters focus on classic blends but also some single-origin beans and an emphasis on fair trade organic beans.
They first opened in 1994 in a unique location – right next to a Starbucks shop! Obviously, they weren’t scared of a little competition.
Now they have 18 coffee shops and a bakery where they make everything in-house. Their shops run from ultra-modern to traditional design, but one thing they have in common is the tall, thin coffee thief on their logo.
12. Analog Coffee
This shop opened in 2010 with a simplified, yes, analog approach. The minimalist vibe starts with the brief menu and extends to the vintage furniture and lack of decorations.
Sparkling Iced Americano anyone?!
They’re not a local roaster, like the other shops on this list. They focus on brewing coffee and providing the best experience for their customers.
As you would expect, that minimalist vibe keeps them at just one location, on Summit Avenue in Capitol Hill. There aren’t any other multi-roaster cafes on this list, and Analog Coffee features brands such as Herkimer coffee.
They also have breakfast and lunch menus with an emphasis on fresh as well as fermented vegetables.