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4 Archetypal Seattle Coffee Experiences

A user's guide.

By Darren Davis Illustrations by Mike Holm August 20, 2015 Published in the September 2015 issue of Seattle Met

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The Commuter Pit Stop

The cattle call of business casuals rushing off to tech jobs is no excuse for a mediocre cup of coffee. Deft baristas keep lines moving while slinging quality drinks.

Where: Cherry Street Coffee House

Overheard: “If my twelve o’clock runs over, cancel my 3:45.”

Don’t Piss Off the Barista: Be decisive at the counter. 

Good to Know: Got a reusable cup? Removing the lid before handing it over is a much-appreciated gesture.

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The Coffee Counter

The street-facing espresso counter is a distinctly Seattle phenomenon that predates the early ’90s coffee boom.

Where: Espresso Vivace Sidewalk Bar

Overheard: “Remember Mudhoney?”

Don’t Piss Off the Barista: FYI, not everyone loves your dog.

Good to Know: Most counters have at least a few umbrella-covered sidewalk tables that make for great people watching.  

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The Neighborhood Reading Lounge

A city with so many independent contractors working from laptops needs plenty of these “second offices”—comfy cafes with plenty of power outlets, seating, and all-day food menus.

Where: Zoka Coffee

Overheard: “Is there a password for the Wi-Fi?”

Don’t Piss Off the Barista: By bringing in outside food.

Good to Know: It’s a classy move to purchase something new every two hours or so.

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The Temple of Caffeine

Seattle’s coffee connoisseurs are all about the multiroaster—cafes that offer specialty brew methods and coffee from companies throughout the country.

Where: Milstead and Co.

Overheard: “I only drink coffee grown above 5,000 feet.”

Don’t Piss Off the Barista: By asking for a white chocolate mocha. 

Good to Know: Ordering a single-origin pour-over is a great way to expand your palate.

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