The Best Coffee Shops in Seattle /// A Top Five Do Not F-ing Miss List


My mother taught me it was rude to stare. So if I happen to see you walking down the street and we make eye contact I’ll politely smile and avert my gaze. But when I walk into a coffee shop and the crew is slingin’ shots like it’s nobody’s business, all bets are off. Eyes wide and mouth agape (not in a creepy way, but in a G-D this barista’s got skillz! sort of way...I hope), watching baristas to me is what watching guys do push-ups is to other gals.

So in a city that seems to have a coffee shop on every corner, we at GYTO are here to narrow it down to the ultimate DO NOT MISS list:

1) Milstead & Co (Fremont) /// As a coffee enthusiast, yet by no means connoisseur, it’s baristas like these who make coffee drinking an adventure that turns into a delectable obsession. Their willingness to talk about different methods and beans without a hint of elitism will keep you coming back. Since they hold no allegiance to one particular roaster, they have a variety of rotating top-notch, carefully selected roasters such as Wrecking Ball, Stumptown, Intelligentsia, Coava and Heart. And if you’re brain isn’t up for an education, not to worry. A beautifully prepared cappuccino will do just the trick to make your heart happy. With a simple contemporary interior of high ceilings, concrete floors and metal stools that resonate an industrial vibe, all you have to do is sit back and enjoy your coffee while watching Seattle’s hip crowd mingle and enjoy cup after cup of deliciousness.

2)Espresso Vivace

(Capitol Hill and South Lake Union) /// Here you’ll find espresso experts that pride themselves on roasting in the Northern Italian Style and preparing your drink as a culinary art. As if that wasn’t enough, owner David Schomer wrote the book on espresso (yes, literally a standard text that those in the coffee industry use). You are in good hands. There is this beautiful seamless transition you experience the moment you step in the door that takes you past the pastry display (go ahead, just try NOT to get one), ordering from the barista, then paying at the register. By the time you’ve exchanged money, your order is up and you can make your way to a table to admire, and yes probably Instagram, the latte art. Since they buy and roast their own beans, the quality of any espresso drink here is unparalleled.

3) Caffe Vita (Capitol Hill, Fremont, Queen Anne, Pioneer Square, Phinney Ridge, Steward Park and most restaurants) /// With a strong following around the city and a unique ability to fit themselves nicely into a variety of neighborhoods, Caffe Vita sort of feels like home. You know you can go back and always get a good cup of coffee, whether it's to celebrate something exciting or are in need of comfort when the universe throws a curveball your way. Learn home brewing methods during their free 2-hour Public Brewing School class at their Capitol Hill roastery. This Seattle institute is now branching out to other West Coast cities like Olympia, Portland and L.A., and finally making the long overdue trek to New York City to share the PNW’s unique love of the bean.

4) Caffe Fiore (Ballard, Sunset Hill, Queen Anne, West Seattle) /// With an Art Nouveau feel and some of the coolest light fixtures we’ve ever seen, these well designed shops set your expectations high the minute you walk over the threshold. Using only 100% Certified Organic coffee beans and encouraging neighborhood interaction with their communal tables at all locations, this crew is all about community and setting up positive interactions of people and ideas. An added bonus to the amazing coffee? All locations have lovely outdoor seating in the form of tables and/or oversized chairs that many coffee goers occupy even when the weather is a little drizzly.

5) Monorail Espresso (Downtown) /// If you’re roaming around the business district and need a caffeine fix, do yourself a favor and stop by. The hippest chicks run this cash-only, walk up coffee window during the week while the sweetest gentleman holds it down on the weekends. Quick, delicious espresso and spot on service every time is the name of the game. And really, there is nothing better than taking a little break midday to watch the bike messengers flock and intermingle with the suits. A ton of character packed into a closet-sized space, this shop is the reason we love small businesses - a true gem in downtown Seattle.

Honorable Mentions /// Alright, we can always find room for a few more...

Stumptown (Capitol Hill) /// Despite all the regional rivalry between PDX and SEA (its all in good fun...riiiight?) we sure are happy these guys showed up on our front doorstep. Consistently pouring good shots of their own roasted espresso beans and offering public coffee tastings at their 12th Ave roastery location every day at 3pm.

Victrola (Capitol Hill, Beacon Hill) /// Great light-filled shops with a friendly atmosphere and rotating local art hanging on the walls paves the way to a great coffee experience.  Free cuppings open to the public are held at their roastery on Pike Street every day at 11 AM.

Herkimer  (Phinney Ridge, Ravenna) /// Wood filled interiors complement the warm feeling you’ll experience after a having one of their coffees that come from premium and naturally grown beans, many which are sourced from small farms.

All City Coffee (Georgetown) /// The mellow atmosphere of this Caffe Vita carrier lies at the center of an amazing tight knit neighborhood.  The shop itself is an open space with an impressive wooden communal table and large south facing windows which beautifully frame a sunny day or equally, an overcast one – a great spot to enjoy a perfect cup and watch the clouds roll by.

/// So Seattleites, did you favorite coffee shop make the GYTO list? Which ones are you frequenting lately that we should know about?! ///