Seattle is known for its abundance of coffee houses. Whether you’re into small businesses, organic coffee or brand name giants, there’s something here for you.
So with such an embarrassment of riches, where is one to head for the best coffee experience in downtown Seattle?
Hint: it’s not Starbucks.
Here are some wonderful options for you to duck into if you find yourself in this coffee-obsessed part of the world.
This cozy little hideaway is tucked into the main floor of an office building next to Westlake Center. It’s always warm and clean, the coffee is delicious and their pastries and snacks are made in-house (gluten free granola with house-made almond milk, anyone?).
Best for: getting a spot of work done on your laptop, quiet conversation with a friend, refuge from a stormy day
Spotlight drink: whatever new thing they’ve got on the menu, whether it’s a seasonal pumpkin spiced drink or a pistachio matcha latte.
Though it doesn’t look like much from the sidewalk, Wheelhouse boasts some delicious coffee. If you can make your way past the all the construction in this part of the South Lake Union area, this place is worth a stop.
Best for: chatting away, visiting on your lunch break, grabbing a coffee for your walk around South Lake Union
Spotlight drink: lattes on the weekends- one of the employees can make latte art shaped like a CAT and it is amazing.
This is the best cafe near the waterfront because tourists can’t find it. Do your local grocery shopping at the market and then duck away from the crowds into this gem around the corner on Pine.
Best for: working in silence, avoiding tourists, people watching
Spotlight drink: order a cappuccino- it will be served to you properly, in a small cup on a wooden tray with a tiny spoon and bite-sized sugar cookie. It will be delicious.
However, if you’re okay with a crowd, sneak past the flower shops and bookstores at the entrance to Pike Place and head upstairs to Storyville. Avoid peak hours to ensure you get a seat in one of the couches by the window overlooking the water. Hang out long enough and you might get served a free slice of fresh chocolate cake, a wonderful ritual at this location.
Best for: views over the water, conversation with strangers, comfortable couches, real food- not just cafe snacks
Spotlight drink: a simple Americano with a few of their house-made salted caramels.
The closest coffee shop to REI, this bike-filled spot situated right between downtown and Capitol Hill serves great Italian coffee. They’ve even posted instructions on the counter so you know how to consume your espresso.
Best for: after-dinner espressos, working when your deadline is coming up, pretending you’re Italian, in-depth coffee knowledge
Spotlight drink: espresso, in a ceramic cup, drunk in two quick sips
Whenever I’m in Belltown, I stop into this spacious cafe. In the summer the floor-to-ceiling windows become open doors, and in the winter you can stay warm and dry inside. They’re open late, serve delicious coffee, and have free Wi-Fi- always a plus.
Best for: late night cafe, delicious espresso drinks, feeling like you’re at home
Spotlight drink: the Generra, a mocha with orange zest. If you think oranges and coffee can’t go together… try this.
One of the only (maybe the only) true Swiss places downtown, the owners of this shop work the espresso machine, serve gluten-free pastries and croissants imported from Europe, and also run a European goods shop connected to the building. Don’t expect the quickest service from here- but go if you want to step out of Seattle for a minute.
Best for: gluten free pastries, kind baristas, laid-back vibes and European goods
Spotlight drink: authentic Swiss mocha
***BONUS ROUND: Coffee AND Chocolate?!***
Kakao, another South Lake Union spot, and Indi Chocolate, which recently moved from the underbelly of Pike Place into a new waterfront space, are two wonderful chocolate shops with espresso machines and seating. You can’t go wrong with either. You’re welcome.
Which one are you headed to next? 🙂