Lucky Seattle. This city has tried-and-true coffee industry veterans, solid neighborhood cafes, and a growing crop of newcomers pushing the scene forward. Venerable roasters Vivace and Victrola helped build the Emerald City’s reputation as the specialty coffee center of the planet, and they’re bolstered by a fresh set of bean businesses that are breathing new life into Seattle’s cafe culture this very minute: multi-roaster shops like Milstead and Co. and back-to-basics roasters like Slate are keeping the attention of the caffeinated crowd at home and well beyond the Pacific Northwest.
1. Royal Drummer
Opened in April, this North Ballard newcomer is an ode to Australian culture, which sees the cafe more as a place to socialize than to pound espresso for a busy laptop work session. Australia’s shops tend to serve full-course meals to encourage guests to sit and stay a while, so expect the same at Royal Drummer.
6420 24th Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107 | 206-484-6693 | Website
2. Seattle Meowtropolitan
For a marked departure from your average coffee shop experience, head to Wallingford’s Seattle Meowtropolitan, the city’s first (and still only) cat cafe. It opened late last year to much fanfare. You’ll need advanced reservations to enter the cats’ lair, or you can just sip your coffee in the cafe section and admire the kitties through the windows.
1225 N 45th St, Seattle, WA 98103 | 206-632-2330 | Website
3. Craftworks Coffee
Craftworks launched on Lower Queen Anne this summer with the aim of being “Seattle’s ultimate coffee bar.” The concept boils down to an educational coffee drinking experience: While you learn about the product, you can order from a rotating menu of coffee from Pacific Northwest micro-roasters, including cold brew and nitro coffee on tap plus a selection of non-caffeinated beverages. Atelier Drome, the architecture firm responsible for a whole slew of sexy restaurants, is behind the cafe design.
110 Republican St, Seattle, WA 98109 | 206-695-2518 | Website
4. La Marzocco Cafe
If you’ve ever had an espresso, there’s a good chance your barista poured it from a La Marzocco machine. In April, the 89-year-old manufacturer opened its first ever public cafe and showroom in global radio sensation KEXP’s new home in Seattle Center. The shop features one roaster-in-residence each month and serves a variety of baked goods from The London Plane, while the showroom features an Espresso Lab for home enthusiasts to learn more about the equipment and even take classes. There are even historical archives and vintage machines on display.
472 1st Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109 | 206-706-9104 | Website
5. Mr. West Cafe Bar
Last November, the owners of Madrona’s popular wine bar, Bottlehouse, launched a charming new cafe downtown. It’s called Mr. West, and there’s espresso from multiple roasters, sandwiches and salads, a lengthy wine list, cheese service, and breakfast. The cafe opens at 7 a.m. in the Eighth and Olive Building.
720 Olive Way, Seattle, WA 98101 | 206-900-9378 | Website
6. Anchorhead Coffee Co
Popular wholesale coffee company Anchorhead recently opened its first brick-and-mortar cafe downtown. Try the company’s espresso or its cold brew on draft, and don’t forget the four seasonal coffees available from the poursteady, a robotic pour-over machine. There’s also beer and wine in the evenings. In the morning, look for pastries from Salmon Berry Goods, baked in-house. There’s even a “quaffle” baked to order, which is croissant dough rolled like a cinnamon roll, smashed on a waffle iron, served with maple syrup.
1600 7th Ave St, Ste 105, Seattle, WA 98101 | Website
7. General Porpoise Coffee & Doughnuts
Coffee and doughnuts form a beautiful union, and they’re done exquisitely at Renee Erickson’s cheery General Porpoise shop on Capitol Hill. Doughnuts come filled with delights like lemon curd and seasonal jams, washed down with espresso made on a hot pink La Marzocco.
1060 E Union St, Seattle, WA 98122 | 206-900-8770 | Website
Bike cafe Metier isn’t just for cyclists. It serves coffee from Slate, Elm, Sightglass, and more. And the food aspect of the shop is more than holding its own, with options like massive waffles with toppings like homemade strawberry-balsamic jam and Lummi Island smoked salmon with house kimchi.
1017 E Union St, Seattle, WA 98122 | 206-816-3436 | Website
9. Union Coffee
Union Coffee launched in September 2016 in The Stencil building at 2407 E Union St, next to Feed Co. Burgers’ upcoming expansion. Zack Reinig, Molly Moon Neitzel’s partner, runs the bright, Linda Dershang-designed shop, which serves Victrola beans, baked goods, and yogurt bowls from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
2407 E Union St, Unit B, Seattle, WA 98122 | 206-550-3402 | Website
Seattle Eater | October 2016