By Darby Radcliff

Published on September 15, 2015

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Photography by SKYPENCIL.COM

Espresso Vivace

Vivace’s flagship store. Brix,  532 Broadway Ave East, Seattle, WA. 

Alley 24, at 227 Yale Ave N. Seattle, WA.  

Sidewalk Cafe, Capitol Hill,  321 Broadway Avenue East, Seattle, WA.

Driven by one man’s mad obsession with making the best espresso possible, David Schomer, founder of Expresso Vivace, literally wrote the book on espresso, a manual by the name of  Espresso Coffee: Professional Techniques . This café was founded 25 years ago and infuses a Pacific Northwest attitude with an Italian aesthetic featuring Neo classical Italian art design with midcentury formica tables and matching chairs in primary colors. 

ON THE MENU:

Coffee drinks are extra-strong and in Northern Italian tradition composed of the mildest arabicas and blended with caramelized sugar content.

WHAT TO ORDER:

The cafe Nico – a fantastic concoction of an espresso, steamed Half & Half, and a blend of orange and vanilla syrups spritzed with orange rind and lightly dusted with cinnamon.

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Photography by FAERIEIMPS.BLOGSPOT.COM

Slate Coffee Roasters


5413 Sixth Ave. NW

Slate Coffee Roasters is chic cafe is nestled in Ballard, and strives to highlight the diversity of coffee around the world. They are pioneers in the method of exposure roasting and their flagship drink is the deconstructed latte.

ON THE MENU:

Slate offers a tasting ritual upon ordering presenting coffee goers with a tray that contains three small wine glasses. From left to right you’ll encounter a single espresso shot, a glass of steamed milk and a latte (or the union of the milk and espresso). Your barista will encourage you to sip them in the same order.

WHAT TO ORDER:

The deconstructed latte – This three-part sipper allows for a deep dive on the exquisite qualities of the espresso as well as the sweet nature of the organic milk from a dairy where Jersey cows are grass fed.

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Photography by MELISSA SHAW PHOTOGRAPHY

Victrola Coffee Roasters


310 E. Pike St.

The longstanding cafe Victrola, is known as a neighborhood gem that cultivates regulars by serving consistently well-crafted drinks in a 90s aesthetic space with an eclectic jazz soundtrack.

WHAT TO ORDER:

Cappuccino – Made from global beans, this dark brew has just the right amount of froth on top. Pair this drink with an almond biscotti from Macrina to amp up this Italian classic. 

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Photography by CAFE LADRO

Caffe Ladro


600 Queen Anne Ave N

In a town where most cafes are defined by the era when they got their start, Caffe Ladro owner Jack Kelly has managed to transform his coffee program into one of the best in Seattle with a company focused on building relationships and a team led by head roaster (and industry celeb) Dismas Smith. Try the Fremont location, which offers plenty of scattered tables for the laptop crowd and Adirondack chairs outside for sunny days.

WHAT TO ORDER:

the Caffe Ladro – offered in blends of creamy, sweet, chocolate, dark cherry and caramel flavors.  

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Photography by LYNDATURET.COM

Caffe Vita


813 Fifth Ave. N.

Caffe Vita is an independent coffee house that is dedicated to using local ingredients and sources all of its coffee beans from independent farmers. The coffee company keeps the process in-house by roasting beans in the shop where customers can watch through the gorgeous window at the back of the seating area.

WHAT TO ORDER:

Latte – The carefully sourced, skillfully roasted beans don’t disappear under the velvety, artfully finished foam, thanks to the careful work of skilled baristas.

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Photography by SEATTLE.COM

Zoka Coffee Roasters & Tea Co.


2200 N. 56th St.

Make yourself at home at this café that resembles a historic library with its walls of multipaned glass, dark wood, and comfy couches, making this place the perfect working area for students or writers. Not too mention, the in-house pastries and single-origin pour-overs can also help activate the working mind.

WHAT TO ORDER:

The house-blend pour-over – takes a little time to make, but is definitely worth the wait for its exceptional smooth taste. Pair this drink with one of Zoka’s in-house pastries such as the delicious Zoka Bar, which is a mix of sweet and salty layered on top of a chocolate chip cookie dough foundation.

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Photography by CAFFE FIORE

Caffe Fiore

Queen Anne: 224 W. Galer St.

Old Ballard: 5405 Leary Ave NW

Sunset Hill: 3125 NW 85th St

West Seattle:  2206 California Ave SW

Caffe Fiore is Seattle’s first Organic Coffee House that features a comfy vibe and organic coffee beans making it the perfect hangout spot for coffee-connoisseurs.

WHAT TO ORDER:

The Seville – a sophisticated yet sweet mocha with a tangy twist of an orange peel.

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Photography by STREET BEAN EXPRESSO

Street Bean Expresso


2702 Third Ave.

Street Bean Espresso works to provide an opportunity to help young people to turn around their lives by providing job training. This local coffee shop in Belltown serves up sustainably harvested and locally roasted coffee and also encourages and artists to express themselves.

WHAT TO ORDER:

Americano – Try this drink if you prefer a strong yet balanced espresso

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Photography by SKYPENCIL.COM

Bauhaus Books and Coffee

414 E. Pine St.

If you’re looking for a great coffee shop in Seattle for people watching, look no further than Bauhaus Books and Coffee, which offers a front-row seat to the Capitol Hill neighborhood. This cozy spot also gets bonus points for staying open until 1 AM.

WHAT TO ORDER:

Drip – It’s just like what you’d make at home, if you had time and the right kind of coffee pot and fresh-ground beans.

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Photography by FOODANDWINE.COM

Lighthouse Roasters


400 N. 43rd St.

Check out this popular Fremont-based coffee shop that is frequented by local musicians and artists, including superstar Dave Matthews who is a regular. If you’re the on-the-go type and prefer your coffee delivered, Lighthouse Roasters will send bags of coffee right to your home. 

WHAT TO ORDER:

Macchiato – The steamed heavy cream on top of this perfectly pulled espresso adds just the right bit of richness to cut through the edge. Three perfect sips and you’ll blast off.