I visited the Seattle area two weeks ago and had a great time exploring the city and the many National Parks in the vicinity with my family. Once we flew across country we drove a rental car over 1,200 miles. I’ll probably write more about our Seattle trip in future posts, but I want to focus in on the coffee shops we experienced in the area. Sampling Seattle’s many coffee offerings was one of our objectives.
We stopped at Starbucks a couple of times, but I’m excluding those stops from this list.
Of the coffee shops visited, I’m going to list them in order of my preference. I should also share that I asked for suggestions on Reddit, and some of these were recommended by people on that platform.
#1 — 5 Stones Coffee Co
While in Redmond and not in Seattle, this was my best coffee experience during my week in the Seattle area. I normally drink black coffee, but at 5 Stones I chose the iced coffee option called The Missile. In addition, I had a fresh slice of avocado toast with lemon. 5 Stones has, not only, good coffee and food, the service was exceptional and the amenities were clean and comfortable.
#2 — Ballard Coffee Works
Ballard was the coffee shop experience that I had expected to find more throughout the Seattle area. It was a bit like Starbucks, but local. Speaking of being like Starbucks, a Starbucks is on the opposite corner from Ballard Coffee Works. Great service, locally positioned, and a different but familiar experience makes Ballard Coffee Works a solid choice. I bought a bag of coffee from Ballard to take back to Florida.
#3 — Monorail Espresso
Many people I know professionally have recommended Monorail Espresso. They serve Mukilteo coffee. Mukilteo has a special espresso brew called the Monorail. The coffee is good and fresh. The service is professional. Monorail is walk-up only and they only accept cash, so if you are in downtown Seattle without cash and it’s cold, you might be disappointed. If you like a dark roast, grab a bag of the Mukilteo Monorail Espresso to take home.
#4 — Street Bean Coffee Roasters
Street Bean wasn’t recommended on Reddit. I stumbled upon this place while looking for the YMCA closest to Fremont. Street Bean is tucked away from the crowds, has a warm welcoming feel and brews up a medium roast that works. These roasters have a mission. I noticed that they were actively helping the less fortunate while providing a great coffeehouse experience. This store is only a few blocks from the highly recommended Slate Coffee, but if given a choice, I would visit Street Bean over Slate.
#5 — Slate Coffee Roasters
So, as mentioned above, Slate was highly recommended to me on Reddit. I visited Slate just after 7AM on a weekday and I was the only one in the store. The location I visited near the University of Washington was modern and, therefore, the store seemed a bit sterile to me. The brewed coffee was good enough, but compared to other coffee shops I visited throughout the week, Slate seemed the most uninspired from the menu to the store design.
That’s my list.
Coffee in Seattle is great even in the summer. While tourists love to visit the first Starbucks on Pike, I encourage people to try some different options.