Is Seattle more famous for its coffee or its weed? Right now it’s a tossup, but fortunately you don’t have to pick just one. While it was Starbucks who truly put Seattle on the map back in the ‘90s, the city’s bohemian cafés had been serving up thick and dark brews for decades. That’s a proud (and, let’s face it, slightly addictive) tradition that continues to this day.
But who truly serves the best coffee in Seattle? That’s a harder question to answer. Just like the “coffee vs. weed” question, it’s not an either/or. So without further ado, here’s our personal list of Seattle’s best coffee spots. (And no: “Seattle’s Best Coffee” isn’t on the list.)
The Best Coffee in Seattle
Zoka Coffee Roaster & Tea Company
2200 N 56th St #6204
Seattle, WA 98103
Specializing in single-origin roasts (hey, kind of reminds us of a different kind of roast), Zoka is fairly old-school in the pantheon of Seattle’s best espresso-slingers. In addition to the pristine and exotic coffees you’ll find handmade pastries, sandwiches and light fare here, all served up in a bustling high-ceilinged temple to caffeine.
400 N 43rd St
Seattle, WA 98103
Now approaching 30 years in business, this tiny corner joint is one of Fremont’s best-loved sources for immaculate coffee and espresso roasted in a vintage cast-iron roaster each and every day. Let your nose be your guide as you follow it to what will surely be one of the best cups of your life.
4214 University Way NE
Seattle, WA 98105
Another well-worn and well-loved homage to caffeine, Allegro has been serving up some of the best coffee in Seattle for an incredible 45 years. Describing itself as “Seattle’s oldest espresso bar,” this isn’t the place to come if you want a slick, modern vibe. But if you’re looking for a classic approach to roasting and serving up exceptional coffee, you owe it to yourself to pay this historic café a visit.
1252 Thomas St
Seattle, WA 98109
An outlier in Seattle’s café scene, this modern wood-and-glass palace focuses on the coffee culture of Denmark rather than Italy. That means a focus on artisanal drips over espresso, and admirable (and mouth-watering) spreads of traditional Danish pastries, brunch and light fare. “Hygge”—the Danish concept of taking a moment to savor life’s little gifts and pleasures—is the name of the game here. And after lazing away an afternoon in the gorgeous wood-paneled main room, you’ll be a convert yourself.
Half and Half Doughnut Co.
516 E Pike St
Seattle, WA 98122
Okay, so Half and Half may not be as “pure” a café as some of the others on our list, but…come on: Doughnuts. With outrageously delicious old-school offerings like pineapple fritters, churros and cinnamon twists, this joint earned rave reviews from the moment it opened its doors. But don’t skimp on the coffee: With expert shots pulled on a locally made espresso machine and a rotating selection of local roasters, Half and Half’s coffee delivers the goods. And you’ll probably need those goods after downing a doughnut (or three).