17 Best Coffee Roasters In Seattle That Aren't Starbucks

There's more to the java life than Starbucks. Don't get us wrong, we love a good cup of Pike Place as much as the next person, but what's a coffee lover to do when they're all S-Buxed out? If you happen to live in the neighborhood of the O.G. Starbucks — that is, the modest storefront at 1912 Pike Place — there are lots of small-business coffee roasters to try out when you're taking a siren coffee hiatus.

Seattle boasts a whopping 56 coffee shops per 100,000 people (as of January 2020 per Seattle Pi), and many of those roast beans beneath the same roof they serve you under. Different roasters offer different backgrounds, specialties, approaches, and beliefs. From minority-owned to longtime Seattle fixtures to coffee that isn't even exactly coffee, we've compiled a list of roasters to sponsor your next bulk bean splurge. Starbucks isn't going anywhere in the meantime, so it can't hurt to show some other spots some love.

The Burnt Coffee

The Burnt Coffee comes to you from a collaboration between friends that look at coffee from a global view. The owners come from rich coffee backgrounds: one grew up on Turkish coffee, one hails from the east African nation of Sudan (a culture with strong coffee roots), another brings her familiarity with the Kenyan coffee economy, and another embarked on the roasting journey after being a barista.

This roaster celebrates the believed origin of coffee: Africa. Their stock is small-batch roasted on an as-needed basis to ensure the freshest brew possible and, according to the brand, its roasters follow a slow-roasting method for the most robust flavor. The shop's coffee is harvested from Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Tanzania.

The Burnt Coffee is located at 3232 15th Ave W. Suit 101 in Seattle.

Cafe Avole

For quality Ethiopian coffee, visit Cafe Avole, a roaster located at 2330 E Union St in Seattle. It offers the beloved Yirgacheffe, a velvety bean that tastes like chocolate when perfectly roasted. Also on the lists are the Ethiopian Guji and Sidamo coffees; Guji, the harvest of which is picked by hand, is known to be a soft, bright brew with rosy overtones. Sidamo produces a high volume of coffee with a wide array of flavor varieties.

Solomon Dubie, the owner of Cafe Avole, is revering his Ethiopian heritage through the shop, he explains in an interview with Community Roots Housing. His business presence in Seattle extends further into the community than a good cup of joe, though; Cafe Avole works with local farmers, contributes to various philanthropic pursuits, and participates in community outreach.

Espresso Vivace

If you possess an abounding enthusiasm for espresso, your motto would be espresso vivace — or, at least, that's what this shop says, since that's the loose translation of its name. The roasters behind Espresso Vivace have been perfecting their craft for 30 years, according to Espresso Vivace. This cafe utilizes the Northern Italian roasting style and specializes in mild coffees with peak caramelization.

Founder David Schomer has made coffee a lifelong pursuit. His book on professional barista techniques, "Espresso Coffee," has been updated multiple times to reflect his ongoing research. If you're not convinced, Espresso Vivace's coffee was reportedly dubbed the best espresso in the United States by celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse!

Espresso Vivace has three locations: One in South Lake Union at 227 Yale Ave N., the Capitol Hill flagship store at 532 Broadway Ave. East, and the 321 Broadway Ave. East sidewalk espresso stand.

Armistice Coffee Company

Since 2018, Armistice Coffee Company has been roasting coffee in the Eastlake neighborhood of Seattle. According to its website, this shop carries a smaller lineup of beans but roasts new coffee on-site daily to ensure the freshness and quality of its products. Armistice has online shopping and subscription-based options in addition to brick-and-mortar retail. Its coffee is sourced from a variety of locations, including Mexico and Brazil.

Armistice offers all the classic espresso creations, such as cortados and cappuccinos. While you're sipping on a brew, you can also enjoy a pastry from a local bakery that Armistice has partnered with.

Armistice has three locations across Eastlake, Roosevelt, and Pike Place to explore: 2201 Eastlake Ave. E, 6717 Roosevelt Way NE #101, and 1914 1st Ave.

Caffé D'arte

Connoisseurs of authentic Italian roast coffees will appreciate the craft of Caffe D'arte, whose Seattle locations include 99 Yesler Way and a cafe at the SeaTac Airport. This shop has been honing its art for many generations ever since its founder brought a wood-fired coffee roasting machine to the United States from Italy. Mauro Cipolla, the founder of Caffe D'arte, underwent a rigorous coffee roasting apprenticeship under the guidance of a fourth-generation master coffee roaster in Naples.

According to its site, Caffe D'arte is one of the few shops known to practice the post-blending technique, where the different single-origin coffees that make up a blend are not combined until after they are roasted. This way, the roaster has more control over the ideal cooking environment for each origin and extract the best flavor profiles from each.

Wunderground Mushroom Coffee and Tea

The infusion of coffee and medicinal mushrooms is nothing new, but if you'd like to give it a try in Seattle, head over to Wunderground at 1111 E. Pike St. Suite 111. With a colorful, playful storefront and website, this shop aims to educate on and serve coffee that's been elevated with medicinal (not psychoactive) mushrooms. According to the site, health benefits from these supplements include brain clarity, reduced anxiety, boosted gut health, strengthened immunity, and improved sleep.

Not sold on the whole mushroom thing? That's okay — Wunderground offers bags of plain coffee, no mushrooms, in its storefront. This is the brand's Time to Rise medium roast. Wunderground also supports direct trade by purchasing its coffee products directly from small-scale producers, according to its site, although there does not appear to be a fair trade certification on the package.

Stamp Act

Stamp Act Coffee was founded by a born-and-raised Seattle native who wanted to bring his years of coffee-related worldly travels — coffee farms in Ethiopia, founding a roastery in Singapore, barista and roasting work in Australia — back to his stomping grounds. The name of this roaster is a nod to the tea-chucking colonial Americans who had no choice but to turn to coffee as the preferred beverage when the Stamp Act tax was imposed on tea.

Stamp Act roasts its coffee three days a week, and online orders of coffee are shipped the day after roasting to ensure freshness (or you can pick it up if you're a Seattle local). This Seattle coffee roaster has a wide line-up of product origins: Ecuador, Kenya, Guatemala, and Colombia are a few examples.

This roaster appears to have an online storefront only — no brick-and-mortar cafe.

Caffé Umbria

Long before Caffé Umbria was established in Seattle, Ornello Bizzarri — the grandfather of this shop's founder — founded a roastery in Perugia, Italy. In the present day, Emanuele Bizzarri honors his grandfather's work in that Umbrian city and continues on the coffee roasting legacy with Caffé Umbria.

According to its website, Caffé Umbria coffee is used in hundreds of businesses across the United State, including Napa's Culinary Institute of America. Umbria offers a number of artisanal blends sourced from high-quality Arabica beans, as well as tasting notes for each blend, suggested brewing methods, and the blend components' origins. Umbria's offerings include an award-winning signature blend with notes of molasses and pecan, a creamy and chocolate-like classic espresso, a 100% organic medium roast that tastes of crisp apple, and a heritage dark roast with notes of fudge and cane sugar.

Caffé Umbria has three locations across Seattle. There's the Ballard Cafe on 5407 Ballard Ave. NW, the Olive Cafe on 622 Olive Way, and the Pioneer Square Cafe at 320 Occidental Ave. S.

Real Good Coffee Company

Want an option for your Keurig or Nespresso machine? Look no further than Seattle's Real Good Coffee Company, which offers coffee by the whole bean, by the grounds, or by the coffee pod. Self-proclaimed coffee purists, Real Good Coffee Co. touts its dedication to coffee quality over anything without the "frills and inflated costs" of specialty coffee.

Through its online storefront, you can purchase Real Good Coffee's flavored or unflavored beans and pods as well as a cold brew. The brand offers a thorough flavored coffee lineup, ranging from French vanilla to blueberry honey to pistachio. Real Good Coffee also has a subscription-based option to shave off a few more bucks from your monthly coffee expenses.

Real Good Coffee does not appear to have a cafe or brick-and-mortar storefront.

Tanuki Coffee

Check out this newer, small Seattle roastery, run by a husband-and-wife duo, if you want to think outside of the coffee bag. Owner Justin Inahara has been roasting coffee just since this time last year. According to Tanuki Coffee Roaster's website, "tanuki" describes the Japanese raccoon dog, an adorably mischievous raccoon-like puppy that is known in Japanese mythology for bringing good luck.

Tanuki's coffee lineup (which is entirely Rainforest Alliance certified) in the online storefront is smaller than other roasters, but the sweet tanuki logo makes up for it, don't you think? The brand currently offers single origins from Colombia, Ethiopia, and Guatemala. Tanuki doesn't have a cafe or brick-and-mortar retail location, but ordering is offered in windows as the roasting is completed in batches.

Fulcrum Coffee

Fulcrum Roasters is a premium Seattle roaster that actually encompasses two other brands: Silver Cup and Urban City. Fulcrum specializes in specialty single-origin roasts. Silver Cup's specialty is cold brew and traditional Seattle coffee. Urban City has been honing in on expertly-crafted blends for almost 30 years.

Fulcrum's virtual storefront is extensive. You can peruse by the brand, by the roast, or by the region — from Africa and Arabia to Asia and the Indo-Pacific. Curated subscriptions are available, too, as well as a variety of gifts like tumblers and shirts. Fulcrum also utilizes the Swiss Water method, which is a better decaffeination method for your body and the earth (via Natural Force).

Fulcrum's roastery and cafe can both be visited. The cafe is located in Belltown at 590 Bell St. and the roastery is at 4660 Ohio Ave. S. Suite A, but be sure to call the roastery beforehand for hours and availability.

Trücup Coffee

You've probably sought out low-acid coffee before if you struggle with heartburn, GERD symptoms, or other indigestion-related chest pain. Coffee advertised as low acidity is only a few degrees more basic than regular coffee, but it is purported to help with those types of issues (and for good reason). Local Seattle roasters Trücup specializes in low-acidity coffee. According to the brand, it uses a natural method of acid removal, leaving behind a smoother, gentler brew that is less deteriorative to stomach acid with no sacrifice in flavor or caffeine.

The brand offers five different roasts as well as single-use coffee pods. You can even follow along with Trücup's recipe book, where they guide you in making Irish coffee, cold foam, martinis, and more.

Caffe Ladro (Ladro Roasting)

This award-winning cafe has been roasting its own beans for a little over a decade. Caffe Ladro offers four signature classic roasts: Ladro Blend (medium roast), Queen Anne Blend (light roast), Fremont Blend (medium roast), and Diablo Blend (dark roast). The shop also roasts a rotating selection from global coffee producers, including the Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania.

Caffe Ladro emphasizes its focus on direct trade practices and sustainable coffee sourcing habits. According to the company, its leadership regularly visits its green coffee suppliers, gaining perspective on their way of life and struggles in the industry. Caffe Ladro's CEO reportedly will share stories of his travels to the coffee farms with Caffe Ladro customers from time to time.

Caffe Ladro coffee can be found at 16 different locations across Seattle: Bellevue, 1800 9th St, Fairview South lake Union, Issaquah Highlands, Kirkland, Lynnwood, Edmonds, Union Street, Bothell, Fremont, Capitol Hill, Pine Street, West Seattle, and Lower and Upper Queen Anne.

Onda Origins

Onda Origins is another local Seattle coffee roaster that keeps the wages and welfare of its growers a priority. According to its site, Onda Origins not only engages in direct trade practices but also gives a portion of each consumer sale directly back to the grower as well — keeping even more of the coffee profit at the producer level. When a patron purchases a prepared coffee at an Onda Origins cafe or retail beans online, they are shown the coffee farmer and how much they will be reimbursed for the purchase.

Online, Onda Origin's coffee is available by the bag, in single-serve pods, or as a subscription box — which can be curated for French press brewing, coffee makers, as whole bean coffee, or as gifts. The brand offers several blends and single-origin brews.

The Onda Origins cafe and roastery is located at 5600 Rainier Ave. S. in Seattle.

Herkimer Coffee

Herkimer Coffee, which boasts four locations across the city of Seattle, produces high-quality, freshly-roasted coffee every single day. The brand only sources premium coffee grown in "traditional old world cultivation methods," according to its site. Like other roasters in Seattle, Herkimer regularly visits its origin farmers and practices direct trade. Kenya, Guatemala, Ethiopia, Burundi, Colombia, and Brazil are the six origins currently in rotation for the brand's single-origin brews, and it also offers three blends: espresso, drip/coffeemakers, and decaf, which is decaffeinated with the Swiss Water Process.

Herkimer's roastery is located in Phinney Ridge at 7320 Greenwood Ave. N., and it has three additional cafe and retail locations: 5611 University Way N.E. in the Ravenna neighborhood, 901 Dexter Avenue N., and the 4th and Blanchard spot at 2101 4th Ave.

Hello Em Viet Coffee and Roastery

If you've never tried Vietnamese coffee, you need to pay this charming coffee shop Hello Em a visit next time you're in Seattle. Vietnamese coffee is credited for a number of delicious java creations — like cà phê sữa đá, a combination of strong, dark-roast Robusta coffee and condensed milk.

Hello Em is one of many businesses involved in Friends of Little Sái Gón, a non-profit organization that strives to protect and support Little Saigon, the cultural hub of Vietnamese-American life in Seattle (via GlassWing Shop). The shop participates in direct trade coffee sourcing from Vietnamese farmers, and offers its roasted beans for purchase in-house. According to its Instagram, Hello Em also serves a number of breakfast sandwiches and other lighter-fare treats. Hello Em's cafe and roastery is located at 1227 S. Weller St. in Seattle.

Coffeeholic House

The Vietnamese coffee scene in Seattle is relatively new. Coffeeholic House was the city's first official Vietnamese coffeehouse, per the brand's site, and that number has grown to include at least eight individual cafes, including Hello Em also included in this list, according to Google listings. Coffeeholic House prides itself on the use of Vietnam-grown Robusta beans (which are traditional for coffee brewing methods from this nation) as well as the classic phin-drip Vietnamese style of brewing.

Coffeeholic House's creations will broaden your coffee horizons: A salted cheese cold foam, a traditional cà phê sữa đá, and even a deep violet-purple late made from ube, a purple yam. Its rich, chocolatey, single-origin Robusta beans are also available by the bag on-site (we couldn't seem to find an option for purchasing online). This shop can be found at 8525 Greenwood Ave. N. and 3700 S. Hudson Street.