Where Seattle’s biggest coffee geeks meet. Owner Andrew Milstead sources beans from a list of roasters, just like pubs rotate taps from breweries. Baristas walk customers through the 25 or so coffees they pour each week. milsteadandco.com
Fun fact: Milstead’s mother decorated the shop with percolators from estate sales.
Recently relocated to a new Capitol Hill location, Porchlight uses a Seattle-built Synesso machine and locally roasted beans. Fantastic doughnuts from Mighty-O are a powerful lure. porchlightcoffee.wordpress.com
Fun fact: The shop doubles as a record label and music store.
In the early 1900s, streetcars ran along Sixth Avenue, and small grocery stores were at many of the stops. One such building now houses the family-run Slate, where baristas pour espresso drinks into wineglasses for a fancy look. slatecoffee.com
Fun fact: Slate was originally operated out of an Airstream, which is still used for parties.
Drink to order: A deconstructed latte: espresso, steamed milk and a latte served in three separate cups.
The small Seattle chain’s original café launched in 2000; a second Capitol Hill location opened in a 1920s Auto Row building, and that’s where the friendly baristas now hold free coffee-tasting classes on Wednesday mornings. victrolacoffee.com
Fun fact: Victrola serves beans from sustainable growers in season (like all crops, coffee has a season).
With three locations (Capitol Hill, Central District, Roosevelt), Broadcast offers a dynamic selection of coffees roasted by not just Broadcast (that’s a fairly new thing), but Stumptown, Sightglass, Kuma Coffee and a guest roaster every now and then. broadcastcoffee.com
Fun Fact: The name comes from owner Barry Faught’s family history in the broadcasting industry. “My father has been a radio DJ my entire life, my sister was a radio DJ and before moving to Seattle I worked for my father’s broadcasting company.”
This decades-old coffeehouse and bookshop moved from Capitol Hill and reopened in Ballard in fall 2013, after redevelopment forced the business out its original home. The new incarnation is a little shinier and hipper, but it’s still a throwback—a tad retro. Strong coffee is the drink du jour here; Lighthouse roasts their beans—an extra-dark blend for the myriad laptoppers who call this place home on every day. bauhauscoffee.net
Fun Fact: The shelves are lined with books both for reading and buying (it’s conveniently connected to the used bookstore Twice Sold Tales).
One of Seattle’s original espresso-scene trailblazers, Vivace is still as popular as ever. The espresso bar takes great pride in extensively training its baristas, who pull the most perfect shots in Seattle. “Most places don’t train you on a regular basis. Once you’ve been here a few years like I have…I’ll train four times a year,” says Dustin, a veteran barista. espressovivace.com
Fun Fact: Owner David Schomer is like a mad scientist with his espresso equipment, always striving for the perfect cup. He recently added a scale to the bottom of the shop’s grinders so baristas can see exactly how much ground coffee they’re using per shot.
Drink to Order: Traditional-style 8-ounce cappuccino.
Newer, hipper and bigger coffeehouses in the area haven’t made a dent in business at this unassuming coffee shop that has been located on a quiet residential corner of Fremont since 1994. The family-like atmosphere, punctuated by perfectly made espresso drinks, make this hidden spot a destination as well as a neighborhood gem. lighthouseroasters.com
Fun Fact: Lighthouse roasts its coffee in a cast-iron roaster surrounded by burlap sacks sitting front and center at this otherwise sparsely decorated café.
Drink to Order: Double-tall (12 ounce) latte or Americano.
“It’s more than just coffee, it’s community,” says owner Joya Iverson, who opened Tin Umbrella in Hillman City less than a year ago—thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign—giving the former drive-through community a much-needed gathering place. tinumbrella.com
Fun Fact: Tin Umbrella roasts its own beans in a roastery located just around the corner in a garage.
Drink to Order: The signature coffee is the Hillman City Global Blend, inspired by the eclectic neighborhood.