Best Places For Locally Roasted Coffee In Seattle

September 17, 2013 1:11 PM

Long known as the birthplace of grunge rock, stylish outerwear and abundant rainfall, Seattle is also a mecca for coffee aficionados. Thanks to mega brew houses like Seattle-born Starbucks, Tully’s and Seattle’s Best Coffee and Seattle-based artisan roasters, coffee beans have evolved from mere commodities to culinary must-haves. From dark roast to light roast, there’s a cuppa joe for the coffee connoisseur, the coffee neophyte and every mocha and espresso drinker in between. There’s a Seattle blend or varietal for even the most discerning of epicureans.

Vivace Espresso Bar at Brix
532 Broadway Ave. E.
Seattle, WA 98102
(206) 860-2722

Espresso Vivace, one of the Emerald City’s “first artisan roasters,” is the brainchild of founders David Schomer and Geneva Sullivan. They established the Espresso Vivace Roasteria in 1988 with the goal of “producing ‘una bella tazza’ – a beautiful cup.” Espresso Vivace specializes in espresso and slowly roasts its coffee beans, fully developing the coffee flavors. The end result is a proprietary-blend coffee that features sweet chocolate, caramel or fruit flavor profiles. Vivace’s blends include Espresso Dolce, which features a complex floral and chocolate flavor combination; Espresso Vita, which has a robust caramel flavor when paired with cream; and decaffeinated Espresso Vita.

Lighthouse Roasters
400 N. 43rd St.
Seattle, WA 98103
(206) 633-4775

Lighthouse Roasters, founded by Ed Leebrick in 1994, offers varietals, blends, dark roasts and decaf. Leebrick searches the world for coffee farms that offer the highest-quality coffee beans, treating his beans as a winemaker would treat his finest grapes. Lighthouse hand roasts its beans in small batches daily and patrons can view employees roasting beans while they enjoy a cup of coffee at their table. Leebrick blends his beans to bring out complex flavor combinations, including nuttiness, acidity, spice and fruit. Blends include Captain Bert’s Breakfast Blend, Viennese Blend and Espresso Blend; dark roasts include French Roast and French Sumatra; varietals include Yemen Mocca Sanani and Ethiopian Yirgacheffe; and decaf includes Espresso Blend and Lighthouse Blend.

Caffe Umbria Roastery
8620 16th Ave. S.
Seattle, WA 98108
(206) 762-5300

Caffe Umbria is a full-service Italian-style roastery located in Seattle and founded by third-generation coffee roaster Emanuele Bizzarri. Bizzarri’s father and grandfather roasted coffee beans in Perugia, Italy, more than seven decades ago, and the family tradition continues in this cafe located in Pioneer Square. This wholesale coffee roaster uses a state-of-the-art roaster, marrying tradition with technology and art with science. The majority of Caffe Umbria’s coffee beans come from Africa, Central America and South America, and it uses as many as 12 varietals at a time. Blends include its signature Bizzarri Blend, a complex medium-dark roast made from Central American and African beans; Mezzanotte Blend, a decaffeinated medium-dark roast made from Costa Rican and Colombian beans; and Arco Etrusco Blend, a full-flavored dark roast made from Central and South American beans.

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Zoka Coffee
1220 W. Nickerson St.
Seattle, WA 98119
(866) 965-2669

Founded by Jeff Babcock in 1996, Zoka Coffee Roaster & Tea Company is located in Wallingford. Zoka Coffee offers espresso, Zoka blend and single-origin coffees that are rich and complex. Its single-origin coffees have a range of flavors, from black pepper to honeysuckle to chocolate. Zoka’s El Salvador Malacara B features a Riesling, honeysuckle and tangerine flavor profile, while its Costa Rica Herbazu has notes of lime Skittles, black pepper and chocolate-covered blueberries. Zoka blends include a light summer blend, dark Tuscan blend, rich organic tatoosh blend and full-bodied organic Zoka java. Zoka Espresso includes its award-winning Paladino, which has a nutty citrus flavor combination, a mild decaffeinated Espresso Paladino and Organic Espresso Quatro, which features overtones of chocolate and tobacco.

The Vashon Island Coffee Roasterie
19529 Vashon Highway S.W.
Vashon Island, WA 98070
(206) 463-9800

The Vashon Island Coffee Roasterie was founded three decades ago and played an important role in the Seattle artisan coffee movement. For generations, this company has used coffee beans that are traditionally grown at high altitudes, which yields rich flavor profiles. Vashon Island Coffee roasts its beans on-site in a vintage roaster. Vashon’s coffees include varietals, blends and decaf. The coffees include the El Salvador Pacamara Estate varietal, which features nutty, floral and chocolate notes; Sumatra Reserve, a light roast varietal with notes of Merlot and chocolate; a rich, non-bitter Decaf Blend; and Costa Rican Reserve, a light coffee with hints of nuttiness.

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Tracy Campion is a freelance writer covering all things Seattle. Her work can be found on

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