Top Seattle coffee shops

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Sipping through the best of Seattle's famous coffee scene

Starbucks might be the face of the Seattle coffee industry, but there’s so much more to this caffeinated city than meets the eye. Seattle actually is steeped in coffee culture, and visitors to the Emerald City might find themselves overwhelmed by the sheer volume of cafes and coffee houses. To help jump start your foray into this caffeine-saturated city, we’ve brewed a list of some of our favorite Seattle coffee stops.

The original Starbucks

The flagship (and original) Starbucks store is located across from Pike Place Market downtown. Go and take a photo of the original logo, buy an exclusive coffee mug. Other than that, there’s no need to wait in the long line if you’re craving coffee–there’s literally another Starbucks just across the street. While we consider this particular coffee shop to be a must-see, we feel it’s a place you really only need to visit once.

Bedlam Coffee

This funky hipster-haven is one of our favorite coffee houses in town. The interior might look like a scene from your neighborhood flea market, but the mismatched chairs, old steam trunks, and quirky trinkets will only enhance your coffee experience. The menu boasts a variety of unique concoctions such as rose and lavender mocha and the animal cracker latte. Made with real Biscoff, this latter latte has everything a sweet tooth could want in a cup of morning joe.

Viewfinder Tip: Check out Bedlam Coffee’s upstairs sitting area; it’s a great spot to relax or play one of the coffee shop’s in-house board games.

Caffe Vita

The Caffe Vita store on Capitol Hill (there are other locations around town) is the best, hands down. The proficient baristas might not be the chattiest, but what they lack in banter they make up for in latte art. Also, the quiet atmosphere make this a great working environment. Head upstairs, where ample outlets and free WiFi await. From here, there’s also great people-watching.

Slate Coffee Bar

Slate serves up coffee at its finest. Don’t expect the designer drink here. At this clean and modern shop your options are hand-brewed coffee, espresso, and, if you want to get really crazy, espresso with milk. Slate receives bonus points for serving coffee in wine glasses. We recommend ordering the deconstructed latte. Served in three separate wine glasses, you first taste a beautiful shot of coffee, then a swig of perfectly steamed milk, and then on to the last glass which combines the two into a beautiful latte. Slate does other sorts of coffee flights, including samples of different roasts from around the world.

Cloud City Coffee

Cloud City Coffee is a great place for coffee and community. This is a coffee house where baristas truly appreciate their regulars. Those who frequent often have the option of buying ten cups of their favorite coffee beverage (say, a double tall non-fat Irish cream latte) in advance and getting 30 percent off. That’s three cups of free java! If you’re a drip-drinker on the run, the honor bar is for you: US$1 (including tax) will get you eight ounces of rich drip coffee. The shop even has a play area for the little ones. Just bear in mind that the place can get a little rambunctious if there are a lot of children.

Drip City Coffee Company

There are so many reasons to love Drip City. First, baristas serve up some phenomenal coffee. Second, the comfy couches and ample outlets make for an ideal work setting. Third, the place is dog-friendly. Between the abundant mustache motif (hipsters, unite!), savory sandwiches, and chill vibe, there’s almost no reason to ever leave. Oh, and did we mention they also serve beer and cider in the afternoon?

Neptune Coffee

Clean lines and beautiful wood details inside Neptune Coffee make clear that this is a place to sit back and really enjoy your coffee without distractions. The baristas are friendly and patient, happy to walk you through the coffee-making process; they treat everyone like a regular customer regardless of how many times you have stepped foot inside. We would recommend trying one of the shop’s slow brewing methods while taking in the caffeinated glory of its Instagram account.

Espresso Vivace

This family-owned business has the mission to research, develop, and promote caffe espresso as a culinary art. Loosely translated as “great excitement or enthusiasm for coffee,” Espresso Vivace definitely lives up to its name. The coffee, roasted to taste like caramel, is magnificent and usually served with a beautiful display of latte art. It’s easy to see the pride the baristas take in their intricate coffee creations.

A Cafe Nico from Espresso Vivace. Four ounces of perfectly steamed breve with vanilla and orange flavors. Topped with cinnamon and an orange spritz.

Street Bean Espresso

Street Bean serves coffee with a purpose. The shop is a non-profit dedicated to making great coffee and helping young street people turn their lives around. The place’s mission is to provide an opportunity for street-involved young people to discover and employ their gifts through serving an excellent cup of coffee in the community. When you visit, you can enjoy your sustainably harvested and locally roasted coffee with the knowledge that you’re helping provide supportive employment. You can help this non-profit even when you’re not in Seattle, too; check out the ways you can assist by clicking here.

Fuel Coffee

One of the trendiest spots on the block, Fuel coffee is decorated to its retro theme. The walls are covered in unique local art with fuel cans, books, and an assortment of maps scattered around every corner. The baristas serve up drinks that are rich and flavorful. Patrons can treat themselves to the pastry case, where local treats such as High 5 pies and Mighty-O doughnuts await. There even is an assortment of vegan friendly nibbles.

What beside good coffee do you seek from a coffee shop when you travel?

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Captain And Clark

Chris Staudinger and Tawny Clark (also known as "Captain and Clark") have spent the majority of their relationship exploring this great big world. After meeting on Kilimanjaro, courting in South Korea, getting engaged at the Taj Mahal, and sealing the deal in the Cascade Mountains, the two decided it was time to add another explorer to the mix. Traveling the world with kiddo-in-tow might alter the way they navigate the globe, but they welcome the challenge with open suitcases.

Chris and Tawny have had articles and videos published on USA TODAY TRAVEL, BBC Travel, Matador Network, as well as appeared as guest stars on TLC Asia's Fun Taiwan television series. When not on the road, you can find Chris and Tawny nestled in their home in Tacoma, Washington fueling up on coffee and cat cuddles while planning their future adventures. You can follow their travels on their blog, Instagram, and YouTube

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