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food, fun, life, seattle

like coffee for seattle

Latte Art

Coffee in Seattle is as ubiquitous as cheesesteaks in Philly, or beans in Boston. We’re notorious for our snobbish obsession with the perfect $4.00 (or more!) espresso drink, and claim to know the difference, by aroma and taste, between a Kenyan sumatra and a nice varietal from El Salvador. As one firmly entrenched in the coffee culture, and with about 10 years experience drinking Seattle coffees, I thought I’d share my top four and a half Seattle coffee roasters/coffee houses. Before listing, I thought I’d state the obvious: because of conflict of interest, Q Cafe and Lounjin are not listed. They’re the best, but also run by Quest, or folks that attend Quest. Check ’em out when you get a chance. Q Cafe serves up Stumptown, Lounjin rocks the Zoka espresso blend.

In no particular order:

  • Stumptown Coffee on 12th. New to the Seattle scene, this one is close enough to my grad school to grab a cup during a ten-minute class break. Plus, they brew up different french press varietals every day, so you can keep trying new stuff. As a bonus, they set records for their direct-trade approach to the coffee industry.
  • El Diablo on Queen Anne. El Diablo presents itself as the only Latin coffeehouse in Seattle. True or not, they make a mean Cordadito and serve it up in a downstairs painted in Latin folk art to look like hell, while up the spiral staircase you’ll find more room to study in heaven (i’m not kidding). Last time I was there, they had shut down heaven temporarily. Turns out it wasn’t up to code. Hope they got that resolved.
  • Vivace. If you’re from Seattle, that’s all I have to say. David Schomer and his crew set the gold standard for espresso. If you don’t agree, they don’t care; they’ll just tell you you’re wrong.
  • Zoka’s on Greenlake. These guys are good. Real good. They import much of the same varietals as Stumptown, and also have an excellent record for fairly trading their coffees. While some say they’re selling out after opening a second coffeehouse (U Zoka), they were voted the 2008 macro roaster of the year, and are involved in the local community.
  • Caffe Artigiano. Okay, this is where the ‘and a half’ comes in. Technically, Caffe Artigiano is in Vancouver, BC. Vancouver is my favorite place to vacation spot within driving distance. Usually, vacation also means coffee withdrawal, and miserable coffee. Artigiano has the good stuff; it’s like home away from home.

What are your favorite Seattle (or elsewhere) coffee hangouts?

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Discussion

5 thoughts on “like coffee for seattle

  1. i love zoka’s! haven’t tried the other places, but i commend you for putting my homeland on the spot.
    i used to be a barista for doctors/med students back in the day. i’m sure i made some horrendous coffee, as i wasn’t trained properly and never tasted my own drinks. eh…

    Posted by LK | April 24, 2008, 7:57 am
  2. Another oldie-but-goodie is Victrola – I am guessing I am going to be hanging out there a lot next year. Oh my, am I ready to be back!

    Posted by Dan | April 24, 2008, 12:17 pm
  3. I live in the northeastern part of Connecticut – therefore all I have is Starbucks and Seattle’s Best in which to sit over a cup, which I enjoy, mind you…but after getting to know a bunch of West Coast Covenanters, I can’t help but wonder if I’ve ever really tasted any truly good coffee. LOL

    Posted by Kim | April 24, 2008, 1:09 pm
  4. mmm…victrola…i’ll take you and megan there when you get back, dan!
    kim…i’m sorry for your tragic plight! if you’re ever in the area, stop by the Q for some coffee!
    linda…hilarious! maybe your coffee was really, really good? you never know..

    Posted by leahklug | April 24, 2008, 3:04 pm
  5. At my old job, one of our clients was El Diablo. They had great coffee. I hope they got all their health code issues up to snuff.

    Posted by koreanpower999 | April 25, 2008, 1:56 am

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About Me

wife, partner, daughter, and sister. traveler on the journey of faith. rage against the machiner. sometimes pastor.

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