Seattle picks up new coffee shops like a garden sprouting weeds: quickly, chaotically, and accepting of all types. Recently, the swell of third-wave shops (Slate, Elm) gave way to a new group of shops that look not only to the trendsetters of American coffee culture, but also to the traditions of other coffee-obsessed cultures, from Australia to Ethiopia. Opened in the four months, these coffee shops weave local bean standards - high-quality, freshly roasted - into a selection of global brewing and serving methods.
Here's where to stop in for a new style of brew--without compromising your coffee-snob tastes.
Naturally, the Italian espresso machine manufacturer chose Seattle as the location of its first café and showroom. The space, part of KEXP's new radio studio, gently mixes Italian espresso with Seattle's proud and vibrant music. It functions as a normal café, but also as part museum, showroom, and classroom - if you ask nicely, they'll teach how to use those fancy machines on display. But the global influences don't come only from the Florentine company behind the café: each month La Marzocco brings a new "resident roaster" to show off its coffee traditions. Los Angeles's G & B Coffee will finish up with its turmeric lattes on June 26, when Mexico City's Buna will come to town.
If you don't look too closely, Coffee Mind could be any casual coffeeshop, tucked into the west side of Queen Anne, serving Pioneer Square's Elm's beans. But the clean, modern décor is interrupted with colorful Iznik ceramic bowls, one wall sports silk ikat pillows, and in among the baked goods are pocha (crispy cheese turnovers) and simit (like oversized bagels). Why? The answer lies on one of the chalkboards, where - between the espresso option - Turkish coffee is offered. The gleaming copper on the top shelf? Turkish coffee pots. Order one of the Turkish coffees (with none, one, two, three, or four sugar cubes), and it comes in a tiny blue and white ceramic cup, dark and rich, on a tray with a piece of Turkish delight.
The thick green front of the Rainier Valley former mini-mart glows like owner Solomon Dubie's enthusiasm for his small café. Inside, he serves both the usual coffee (drip, French press, pour-over) and espresso suspects, as well as jebenas - Ethiopian traditional pots of coffee. He uses multiple roasters but sticks to single-origin Ethiopian beans - or you can purchase green beans at the shop to roast at home. The food menu similarly mixes Ethiopian options like tibs - a meat dish also offered in sandwich form - and café classics like omelets. Ideally, you come with good company and spend some time relaxing with the full Ethiopian traditional method, which includes three brewings of the same bean, getting weaker with each pour.
At this Ballard café - on the bottom floor of a multi-use building - its love for Australian café culture is not immediately obvious. Though named for a Parisian café, the owners looked to Australia for the model: a big kitchen serving an all-day menu. The coffee choices range from basic drip to an espresso flight or creative iced coffees including the "Americola," which combines Mexican Coke and espresso. Camber Coffee, out of Bellingham, roasts the signature espresso, but the multi-roaster menu features a rotating selection of beans from around the country. The food includes a bag of doughnuts, bread pudding, and freshly-made sandwiches. From wi-fi to kids' toys, it takes the Australian idea of all-day to heart, providing everything you could need, anytime of day.