in which local hacking locations are surveyed

I'm lucky to have the chance to do my job remotely from wherever I like. Half the time I work out of my code lab, which is a converted shed in my back yard. But I venture out fairly frequently to local coffee shops. Here are a few of my favourites. I should mention that I'm a big fan of single-origin pour-over brews, so the list is biased in favour of places which serve that well rather than the more traditional espresso drinks. All these have at least one location in North Seattle.


I'm here a lot because it's the only one on this list I don't need to get on the freeway for. The decor is a bit sparse, but they're quite friendly here and serve a mean pour-over. They've been known to even serve syphon-brewed coffee, which is always a treat to watch when they fire up the bunsen burner. The proprietor also runs, a (Heroku-hosted) site for competition-level baristas can rank and review others. The Greenwood neighborhood is great too; lots of lunch options and bookstores to browse. Bonus fact: Allie, the inventor of the mythical Alot beast has a blend here named after her.

milstead views

Milstead & Co.

This one has only opened relatively recently, but it's made a splash for a number of things, not the least of which is the spectacular waterfront view from under the Aurora bridge. The selection here is excellent; this is the only place on this list that serves beans from multiple roasters, and they offer plenty of variety in brewing methods. The interior is spacious with high ceilings; it's very inviting. Mr. Milstead himself is usually around, and his excitement about his craft is infectious and obvious once you get him talking. I'd be here all the time if it weren't the furthest (south) from where I live.


This one is my go-to place. I often run into people I know here, (and sometimes people I don't), and we hold the Seattle Clojure group meetings here as well. The University District location in particular works well for meetings just because it's so spacious; I don't think I've ever seen a larger coffee shop. It's a popular place for students to study, so it's pretty quiet in the back. It can be crowded at times though, probably based on the school schedule. They've got a great selection sourced from all over the world that rotates every so often. It's always fun to read their blog posts about traveling to visit the growers. The "Zoka bars" they serve here are a ridiculously rich treat. The decor here is very warm and comfortable with wood paneling everywhere.



I don't come here often because the parking situation is awful, but if you are in the area (or taking the bus), definitely check out Trabant. They've got good chai, but the thing that keeps bringing me back here is the Clover machine. This contraption is capable of extracting rich flavours out of a bean like nothing else. Unfortunately Starbucks purchased the company that sold them, so there aren't very many places with Clovers that offer good beans. (As the owner of Trabant said about the acquisition, "wearing Air Jordans doesn't make you play like Michael Jordan.") Anyway, the downtown Trabant is very spare, minimalist, and quiet, while the one in the University district (pictured) is bustling and quirky.

Honorable Mentions

I'm of the opinion that Vivace has the best espresso in Seattle. It's too far for me to visit regularly, but members of the famed Seattle Ruby Brigade can often be found working here in the afternoon.
Seattle Coffee Works
I've only been here a couple times, but I was floored by their Yirgacheffe both times. They serve their pour-overs at a separate "slow bar" where the baristas are happy to geek out over their creations if you show interest. Again, this one's too far away (Pike St.) to make me a regular. Update: they've got a location in Ballard too.
Green Bean
This one is actually a non-profit which supports a number of other non-profits on a rotating basis. The staff here are really friendly. I like to come here early and get breakfast with my family since they've got a kids' corner.
I don't even come here for their coffee, but their hot chocolate is superb. They've also got great truffles. The Greenwood location is a converted house that offers plenty of space to work, while the Greenlake location is a lot smaller but has nice views of the water.


« older | 2011-12-31T02:25:58Z | newer »