7 cafes / coffee  roasters in Seattle.

You would like to cafe crawl with me to the best cafes in Seattle? Excellent. If you visit Seattle — or even if you live here — make sure to visit these cafes. They raise coffee to an art, they’re the best we have. Which means the best anywhere. All have wifi, all have bites, though some have better food than others. Three logos means best of the best. All photographs are copyright Richard Pelletier.

The end of the cappuccino

The end of the cappuccino

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1. Victrola Coffee Roaster’s

Screen Shot 2014-10-24 at 7.08.45 PMScreen Shot 2014-10-24 at 7.08.45 PMScreen Shot 2014-10-24 at 7.08.45 PM   Three locations, two on Capitol Hill. I favor the one on East Pike. The space is open and airy, has a nice Capitol Hill vibe, they roast the beans on the premises and you can watch the operation through the windows as you sip. Among the best roasters in Seattle. Public tastings, every Wednesday at 11 a.m. Expect a beautiful pour every time. Great neighborhood hang out. A touch weak on the pastries. (Their 15th Avenue location has better baked goods.)

Victrola coffee roasters

Victrola coffee roasters

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2. Stumptown Coffee Roasters on 12th

Screen Shot 2014-10-24 at 7.08.45 PMScreen Shot 2014-10-24 at 7.08.45 PMScreen Shot 2014-10-24 at 7.08.45 PM Stumptown, based in Portland, is a roaster of the highest order. Amazing beans. If you weren’t already aware, Stumptown is legendary for their passion and attention to the finer points of roasting and serving fine coffee. In Seattle, I’ve only been to the 12th Avenue location, which is a big hangout for students from Seattle University and people from Capitol Hill. This is a place that is serious about coffee and so the food / pastry angle is a bit neglected. Sure they’re a bit smug, but really, who cares?

Stumptown

Stumptown

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3. Lighthouse Roasters

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Screen Shot 2014-10-24 at 7.08.45 PMScreen Shot 2014-10-24 at 7.08.45 PM Absolutely top-notch artisan coffee roasting. I have Lighthouse in my kitchen right now. The Fremont neighborhood location is charming and you can watch roasting taking place as you hang out. There are Adirondack chairs outside for when the weather is nice. One note about Lighthouse is that the pour for your Cappuccino is not quite as beautiful — they don’t do that heart or leaf thing in the foam — as it is at some other Seattle locations. Not sure why, but the coffee kills.

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4. Milstead & Co.

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Screen Shot 2014-10-24 at 7.08.45 PMScreen Shot 2014-10-24 at 7.08.45 PM A beautiful, architecturally interesting cafe in a great location serving a rotating selection of different roasts. One of the must-have cafe experiences in Seattle. Great big outdoor seating in nice weather. Great pastry selection. Every imaginable method and every imaginable roast is available here. No decaf.

Milstead & Co. in Fremont

Milstead & Co. in Fremont

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5. Cafe Umbria, on Occidental

Screen Shot 2014-10-24 at 7.08.45 PMScreen Shot 2014-10-24 at 7.08.45 PMScreen Shot 2014-10-24 at 7.08.45 PM One of the loveliest and liveliest cafes in Seattle. Big and full of light in a fantastic location that is well on its way back after some tough post-recession years. Probably the most Italian themed cafe in the city. (Their entire Portland store in the Pearl was shipped from Italy.) Umbria stands on the site of one of the most beloved cafe’s we ever had in this town, Cafe Torrefazzione, home of a sublime roast that was bought (and buried) by Starbucks. Umbria may not get loads of attention, but their roast is absolutely lovely. Truly delicious.

Caffe Umbria

Caffe Umbria

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6. Elm Coffee Roasters, Pioneer Square

Screen Shot 2014-10-24 at 7.08.45 PMScreen Shot 2014-10-24 at 7.08.45 PMScreen Shot 2014-10-24 at 7.08.45 PMA truly wondrous roast. My understanding is that Elm has been roasting for a while, but the cafe is new. It is absolutely lovely. One of the prettiest cafe’s in Seattle. The roasting apparatus is right there in full view. There’s a long, gorgeous marble bar with stools where you can sip one of the finest cappuccino’s anywhere. The cafe faces south, so the light in there is magnificent. The people are friendly and the pastries come from nearby London Plane, which means awesome. Bonus: fairly quiet inside, making it a 5CT favorite. When you come to Seattle, you must try.

Elm coffee roasters

Elm coffee roasters

7. Ada’s Technical Books and Cafe

Screen Shot 2014-10-24 at 7.08.45 PMScreen Shot 2014-10-24 at 7.08.45 PMScreen Shot 2014-10-24 at 7.08.45 PMAda’s is amazing. It’s hard to understand how they pull it off. This is a bookstore, a cafe, with great coffee, hot breakfasts and pastries, lunch, AND they have a lovely co-working office space upstairs that is the prettiest space you’ve ever seen. And they make their own pastries. Relatively quiet inside, which respects the bookstore side of things and is a little distinct from other cafe’s on Capitol Hill.

Adas-Technical-Books-0084

 

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