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Best Coffee in Seattle????

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  • DLow Dec 13, 2010 07:15 PM
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So, moving here from Phoenix, AZ, I was excited to enjoy great coffee at all the local shops. I am sad to say that I have only found one barista (Andrew... who deserves all of his coffee competition awards!) at Urban Coffee Lounge in Kirkland/Juanita that meets my espresso/coffee standards.... everywhere else either burns the shot, tamps too hard, or just doesn't know how to adjust the grind... I need some great places in and around Seattle... places that when you order a quad, 16oz, dry capp, it tastes like foam over dark chocolate!!!! Please let me know what coffee shop treasures you all have found!!!

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Urban Coffee Lounge
9744 NE 119th Way, Kirkland, WA 98034

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  1. Where have you been that you don't like?

    I generally have no problem finding good espresso in Seattle, but I also prefer the dark roasted West Coast Roast Peet's and Starbucks made famous (for which I prefer Vivacce). If you find shots here taste burned, maybe you would prefer one of the lighter roast places like Stumptown or Victrola?

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    Stumptown
    1115 12th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122

    4 Replies
    1. re: pusherman

      well, i feel the best coffee in all of seattle, or anywhere for that matter is Caffe D'Arte, on 2nd and stewart in downtown seattle.
      i go there a lot and it's always hands down the best. quad americanos are my drink of choice,
      quad mocha, 2nd.

      1. re: pusherman

        First off Kirkland isn't Seattle. It's a suburb...and we all know suburbs suck. Vivace coffee is fabulous and the real deal. Caffe Umbria is another to try. Cafe Vita is a good chain. Just to name a few.

        1. re: kungfu

          >> It's a suburb...and we all know suburbs suck.

          Hello kungfu. It looks like this is your first posting to chowhound. This board is called "Greater Seattle" and includes the cities and suburbs.
          In my experience, most suburbs do not suck. I hope you'll broaden your experience a bit. Use this board and find some great meals outside Seattle.

          1. re: val ann c

            Thank you Val. The original posting was about finding good coffee in Seattle. Kirkland is not Seattle. If you want to try out Seattle coffee shops, you need to go to Seattle. No?

      2. Hmm, a quad 16 oz dry capp that tastes like foam over dark chocolate. . . .

        I hear that's the way they do it in Phoenix. Maybe you should try the coffee there.

        Incidentally, if that is your standard order, I suspect you'll be giving a lot of excellent Seattle coffee preparers a good laugh.

        2 Replies
        1. re: RandyB

          That was my first thought, too. I don't mean to knock the guy's drink, but I've spent a lot of time in coffee shops and have never heard anyone order a dry quad cappuccino. DLow, I think this might be the sort of thing where you politely tell the barista what you're after, if you know how they "should" be doing it. And once you've found a place that can do it, stick with them.This is such a different drink that most everyone orders that it's easy to understand why it's not being made to your liking.

          I am suspicious of the whole "wet or dry" thing. I've only been asked once if I wanted a capp wet or dry, and the end result was awful. I've had countless in Italy and in good shops here and no one asks wet or dry. They just do it properly.

          1. re: christy319

            Hahaha.... I appreciate the reply! I was barista in the bay area before moving to Phoenix and am used to personalizing my drinks from the 10 years in SF. The dry capp is really espresso topped with foam and a splash of milk.... and by dark chocolate, I meant the espresso being smooth and flavorful.... not bitter and with a strong after taste of dirt!??! Does that make more sense?

            I also worked for Starbucks for a few years, and not a big fan of their new style either. Just a doppio espresso doesn't taste right to me, and I've heard the new machines are all automatic, thus bringing the standards of the shots to a lower level than when they are hand pulled.

            I'll give the lighter roasts a try too, but it I am wondering if I'm just too picky and need to take it down a notch.... or just find a goof turkish coffee place :)

            Thanks guys!!!!

        2. Vivace pulls the best shots in town. I'm a drip guy, though, so I tend to brew at home.

          (Most of the great coffee shops in town tend to offer french press instead of drip which, damn it, isn't the same thing at all. Kudos to Seattle Coffee Works, though, which does pour-overs.)

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          Seattle Coffee Works
          107 Pike St, Seattle, WA 98101

          6 Replies
          1. re: terrier

            Terrier, you might want to try an Aeropress, which is a drip + filter + press coffee brewer. It makes great coffee and is about the cheapest coffee maker around, other than a plastic Melitta filter.
            http://aerobie.com/products/aeropress...

            I can't stand the dirty coffee that comes out of a French press, but love my Aeropress.

            1. re: RandyB

              I'm all about french press.... or melita for my drip brew.... depending on the roast!! I have heard about the aeropress, and will give that a try too with your suggestions, RandyB....

              Terrier, thanks for the suggestion! I'll give Vavace a try for sure!!!! :)

              1. re: DLow

                And if any of you make it out to Twisp, WA, be sure to stop at Blue Star Coffee. The roaster is the legendary Seattle coffee and cacao roaster Dan Donohue, gone off to the mountains. He roasts some of the best coffee I have ever drunk.

                They do tease me, however, when for sentimental reasons I ask for a café allongé (long expresso). It's the French version of an Americano. Instead of adding hot water to a shot, they do a 45 second pull for me. They have nicknamed my drink "coffee murder." In Australia, they call it a Long Dark.

                Before anyone jumps on my word "expresso," that is the French spelling.

                1. re: RandyB

                  As if the French know anything about good coffee! As for the 45 sec pull? As Brian Wilson of our World Champion San Francisco Giants says, "sounds delicious"....... If you like over extracted dish water that will make your whole face pucker!! But, to each his own.

                  1. re: poser

                    I agree with you, Poser. I spend a couple of months a year in Paris and always bring my favorite beans from Blue Star. The typical French brûlerie (roaster) drove me to buy from Starbucks in Paris for years. Even the foodies on the Chowhound France board generally agree. Some suggest the best hope in Paris is to go to an Italian roaster or coffee shop, like the Illy chain.

                    Another who agrees can be found here:
                    http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/20... Many of the comments in this article appeared in substance long before in Chowhound posts by me and others.

                    Many foods are affected by context and memories. The rosé I drink in Provence I wouldn't touch elsewhere. Even retsina has its place, like a loud Greek taverna. For me, context and memories are the reason for a café allongé, not the flavor. Incidentally, a typical French café will manage to pull a 3-4 oz allongé in under 25 seconds. Now you're really talking dishwater!

              2. re: RandyB

                I'm with you on dat.
                I use this gadget:
                http://www.sweetmarias.com/sweetmaria...
                Hands down, makes the best cup of coffee you've had. Combines the best of french press with filtered.

            2. Equal Exchange Espresso in Ballard does a long pull that I highly recommend (in front of a grocery store, I know...it's bizarre). Aster (also Ballard) has a beautiful clover machine and an ever-changing variety of single-origin coffees if you're looking for un-espresso.
              Urban Coffee Lounge is the best I've had on the Eastside, they brew Stumptown, right? Everything else blows over there.

              General tip:
              I find the good baristas often work the heavy shifts...morning commute mainly. The crappy ones work on Sundays. Don't judge a shop by it's Sunday barista.

              -----
              Stumptown
              1115 12th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122

              Equal Exchange Espresso
              1400 NW 56th St, Seattle, WA 98107

              Urban Coffee Lounge
              9744 NE 119th Way, Kirkland, WA 98034

              1. New Coffee Shop In North Seattle.
                Lylas Family Espresso.
                8958 Aurora Ave N
                Seattle.
                They Serve Cafe D'arte Roasted Espresso Beans. There Motto Is
                Friends Don't Let Friends Drink Burnt Coffee!
                Lots Of Parking Behind The Building

                1 Reply
                1. re: harlygold

                  Darn, I was hoping for Sicilian style roasted dark with a bit of robusta in the mix.

                2. Best beans in Seattle? Go to Eltana on Capital Hill and buy the beans they use: Biowilly. It sounds silly (rhymes), but this is full bodied, dark roasted, not over roasted and tasty coffee. I'll stake my name on it.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: tstrum

                    Somewhere in Seattle there are a couple of shops selling Blue Star coffee. It is roasted in Twisp, WA. The roaster is Dan Donohue, a major name in the Seattle coffee world for years. His production is small and all done personally by him. This is just wonderful coffee.

                    I am fortunate to live in the Methow Valley, so I can get it easily at the shop, or any local food store. It's also available online. http://www.bluestarcoffeeroasters.com

                  2. Have you tried Fonte coffee on First Avenue in Seattle. When we were there about a year ago they had two espressos, and used a slightly sweeter one for "fancy" drinks and a darker one for shots.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: bonlee

                      Have not tried Fonte. I did find out you can try Blue Star coffee at the Hot Cakes Molten Chocolate Cakery in Ballard. The owner, Autumn Martin, was a chocolatier colleague of Blue Star roaster Dan Donohue in the early days at Theo Chocolate (or maybe the late days at Essential Chocolate).

                      Blue Star is also sold as beans at the Pike and Western Wine Shop in the Pike Place Market, and Soul Wines in South Lake Union.

                      1. re: RandyB

                        We will definitely be looking for Blue Star coffee at the Pike market when we are down in a couple of weeks. Always game to try something new. Coffee in Vancouver is good to very good, but there is nothing "great" here these days.

                    2. Trabant lately has been serving Kuma Coffee, which is a local roaster. Their coffee is something special. I even detect notes of olive in my cup.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: CMSeattle

                        I'm not familiar with Trabant nor Kuma, CMS. I really dislike Starbucks, but like Stumptown so I hit Urban Coffee Lounge regularly. Good stuff.

                      2. Coffee Fest Seattle 2012, including the annual the western competition for Espresso, Latte, and Coffeehouses, was this weekend. Blue Star won for Espresso. I've started a new thread specifically about Coffee Fest. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/871150