It was brought to my attention the other day that the Seattle P-I posted a list of "10 Great Coffee Shops" to get a feel for Seattle's coffee culture. While I may or may not be decisive enough to come up with my own counter-list, I am incapable of letting someone else's opinion go by without comment. So this blog is dedicated to my thoughts on that list. (Just admit it, you did all want to know.)
#10. Zeitgeist Coffee, Pioneer Square - I have been here once, and honestly haven't felt compelled to make the trek back. Zeitgeist, down by the stadiums and just around the corner from the train station, is an excellent place to get a cup of coffee if you're killing time and waiting for Amtrak, or just getting into town. It would, in fact, be my first pick for that neighborhood. But only if you're already in the neighborhood; its wealth of run-in-run-out customers and just-above-average coffee don't yield a great destination.
#09. Espresso Vivace, South Lake Union - You already heard me talk about this one recently, so I won't repeat myself. If you missed it, here is that review... should you not wish to read that: I like this place.
#08. Caffe Vita, Capitol Hill - While I admit to frequenting the Vita in Fremont, I have yet to visit the Capitol Hill location. The primary reason is that, if I'm on Capitol Hill and not in the mood to try something new and different, I will choose Victrola. Every time. Sorry, Vita.
#07. Fremont Coffee Company, Fremont - I am both impressed that and extremely curious as to why they chose Fremont Coffee instead of Caffe Ladro. Ladro seems like a more recognized Seattle staple. Nonetheless, Fremont is an absolute must-stop if you're visiting Seattle, and this is one of my preferred Fremont coffee shops. I previously reviewed it here.
#06. Zoka Coffee, U-District (and other locations, including Greenlake) - The number one best location in all of Seattle to see what a packed out coffee shop looks like. I cannot count the number of times I've walked into Zoka, through Zoka, and out of Zoka again because there were no seats. In order to combat this problem, Zoka has recently gone to a new internet policy: 2 hours of internet free with each purchase. I understand, but am completely deterred by this strategy and no longer go. Good coffee, and they keep a great blog.
#05. Bauhaus Books & Coffee, Capitol Hill - Previously reviewed at this link, Bauhaus is a fun location that serves Lighthouse Coffee, which I still don't like. So, typically speaking, I don't go to Bauhaus. But you can see the Space Needle from the upstairs window, and the bookshelves are amazing. Overall, a better representative sampling of Seattleites and their abiding love for eclecticism than of Seattle coffee.
#04. Starbucks - Alright. In defense of this choice, I will say that I agree: Starbucks Coffee must be visited if you are going to be a tourist in Seattle. Even those of us who live here and consider ourselves first degree coffee snobs will end up dropping by The Original Starbucks when at the Pike Place Market. However, I vehemently object to the lack of a specific location. It is true that Starbucks' coffee is better in Seattle than it is anywhere else. (Don't believe it? Try a cup of 'bucks in L.A. and get back to me with your thoughts.) It is also true that not all Starbucks are created equal; some of them are decent and some of them are downright abysmal.
#03. Uptown Espresso, Belltown - My present location, which supposedly has some of the fastest internet in the city. As a place to study or have meetings, this is great. There is barely any music, the floors are carpeted, and the tables are placed at significant distance from one another - it's about as raucous as a library in here. Fonte Coffee Roaster's Uptown Espresso blend is designed with milk-based beverages in mind (Uptown being "Home of the Velvet Foam"), so be prepared for an americano or espresso with a distinctive, top-heavy flavor: lots of citrus, sweet, but somewhat foundationless. Pleasant, but not created with unaccompanied espresso in mind. As a visitor destination: it's a nice place to stop if you're walking from downtown toward Seattle Center and want a break. It is not a place to sit and expect to be surrounded by Seattleness.
#02. Neptune Coffee, Greenwood - If you're in Greenwood, this is the place to go for coffee. Enough said. Though, if you'd like more details, you can skim over the review from a few months back. Drop by, admire the murals, and see if you can grab a conversation with the owner, Dan, who would be delighted to tell you anything you want to know about their coffee.
#01. C&P Coffee, West Seattle - Here we reach the end of the road. I have not been to C&P Coffee. Frankly, I'd never heard of it before it made this list. But now that I know it exists, kindly stand by for a review later in the week...