Seattle’s Best Coffee: Finding the Best Cup

There’s no coffee scene anywhere in America quite like Seattle. Seattle is known as the birthplace of Starbucks but the best coffee in Seattle doesn’t necessarily come in a cup with a green mermaid logo. These three coffee shops are widely regarded as the best in town by locals who know coffee best! If you are in Seattle for a few days, be sure to try all three and let us know which one you thought had Seattle’s best coffee.

Storyville Coffee (try the Pike Place Market and Bainbridge Island locations!)


Looking for Seattle's best coffee? We scoured the town to come up with the ultimate locales for sampling the best coffee in Seattle.


Storyville is well regarded as having some of the best coffee in Seattle. Their baristas are often nominated for regional awards and they have three locations throughout the city (Pike Place, Queen Anne, and 1st & Madison).

The most impressive location is the one in Pike Place Market. It has an airy layout inside and great views of the market but you have to know how to find it! To locate the secret Pike Place Storyville, head to the northwest corner of Pike and 1st streets and head up the stairs to the top floor. Enjoy their locally roasted coffees and baked goods before heading back downstairs to explore more of the city.

Storyville also has a roasting studio and tasting room across the water on Bainbridge Island. To get there, walk onto the Seattle-Bainbridge ferry and take a 30-minute ride across the Puget Sound. Be sure to grab a window seat or watch the water from outside as it isn’t uncommon to spot orcas, dolphins, and seals while riding the ferry!

Grab an Uber to travel the last 2.5 miles to the Storyville Roasting Studio. Once there, head upstairs to the tasting room which has a full-service espresso bar, granola, and baked goods. They also do daily surprise tastings of new items that are in development. You will find some of Seattle’s best coffee at all three locations.

Monorail Espresso (corner of 5th & Pike)


Seattle's Best Coffee Finding the Best Cup


Want to pick up a cup of Seattle’s best coffee on your way somewhere? If you just want awesome coffee without any of the frills of the standard coffee shop, swing by Monorail Espresso window at the corner of Fifth and Pike. Monorail Espresso started as America’s first coffee cart when they opened in Seattle in 1980. They are now in a street-facing service window just around the corner from their original location. They specialize in espresso drinks (Americanos, lattes, espresso shots, etc) and cold brew coffee and do not offer drip or pour over coffee. They also sell their iconic “chubbies” cookies and a small variety of other baked goods.

For 38 years, Monorail only accepted cash but have recently started taking cards. Sundays are an analog throwback, day, though – so be sure to stop at the ATM if you want to come by on Sunday to taste test some of the best coffee in Seattle.

Starbucks Reserve Roastery (Capitol Hill)


Looking for Seattle's best coffee? We scoured the town to come up with the ultimate locales for sampling the best coffee in Seattle.


The search for Seattle’s best coffee would be incomplete without a trip to Starbucks. The Starbucks Reserve Roastery, though, is unlike any Starbucks experience you have ever had. While the original Starbucks opened in Pike Place Market in 1971, the Roastery didn’t open until 2014. Starbucks describes their roasteries as “theatrical, experiential shrines to coffee passion.” There are currently only three open worldwide – one each in Seattle, Milano, and Shanghai.

They offer an ever-changing mix of coffee, cocktails, baked goods and meals (including full-size artisan salads and pizza!). Come for breakfast or lunch but be sure to try one of their many flight options. A flight is the best way for any coffee lover to really appreciate the nuances and differences between different roasts or brewing methods.

So, which of these locales has the best coffee in Seattle? That is for you to decide! Try them all then come back and weigh in on Seattle’s best coffee. Want even more options? Try these brunch options we love in Seattle.

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Seattle's Best Coffee: Finding the Best Cup