Seattle is the nation's coffee capital. Seattleites live and breathe the stuff, and many unique local chains and coffee houses have evolved over the years, each serving their own artisanal brews. With such a wealth of choices, it can be hard to decide which coffeehouses to try. Here are six local coffee shops you won't want to miss on your next visit to Seattle.
Caffe Vita first opened in the leafy Queen Anne neighborhood in 1995, but has now expanded to include six locations around the city, one in Portland, and one in New York. The company specializes in small batch roasts, with beans sourced directly from the farmers. Because they grind their beans directly at each location, the drinks here are extremely fresh and tasty.
25 years ago David Schoemer set out on a quest to make the best espresso possible. Along the way he essentially created and popularized latte art (those cool foam designs on your coffee that we basically take for granted now).
Schoemer's creation, Espresso Vivace has several locations around town, but it's worth stopping at the sidewalk cafe on Broadway for a taste of the original. All baristas require an entire year of training, so you can be sure they really know their stuff. Try the Caffe Nico: two shots of espresso, steamed milk, orange, and cinnamon.
Victrola Coffee Roasters
There are two Cafe Victrola locations in trendy Capitol Hill and both of them serve carefully crafted tea and coffee drinks with an eye on quality above all else. Victrola's secret is the quality, single-source beans they use in their brews.
The bigger location, known as the Pike Street Roastery is a big airy space located in a former used car dealership and is a great place to watch and learn about the roasting process. On Wednesdays Victrola holds free coffee cuppings.
Seattle Coffee Works
If you're visiting Pike's Place Market, it's easy to take a side outing just a few blocks away to Seattle Coffee Works. The coffee wonderland has a traditional coffee bar as well as a slow bar where coffee lovers can experiment with different beans and specify which of six different brewing methods they would like. One unique feature to Seattle Coffee Works is their vacuum coffee making method that was once profiled by Andrew Zimmerman on Bizarre Foods. Worth seeing for yourself!
Milstead & Company
Located in the vibrant, free-spirited Fremont neighborhood of Seattle, Milstead & Company is a popular spot for coffee pilgrims because of its constantly rotating, carefully curated coffee menu, which has been known to change up to several times a day. They feature beans from roasters around the country and they absolutely do not serve decaf (so don't ask).
Yes, you can find a Starbucks on every street corner in your own hometown, but the company gets a special mention when it comes to Seattle. The chain was founded inside Pike's Place Market in 1971, and it's possible to visit this original location still today (expect to wait in a long line just to gain entry to this temple of coffee history).
There are many Starbucks in Seattle, some of which are used as beta-testing sites for new drinks and menu offerings. In December 2014, Starbucks opened up the first ever Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room in Capitol Hill. This enormous space is positioned to be a new mecca for coffee lovers with coffee flights, special brews, and pastries by local celebrity chef Tom Douglas.
Where is your favorite place to get a Cup 'o' Joe?