Seattle has a storied coffee scene, with essential shops and hot newcomers alike attracting national attention — naturally, that dedication to excellence spills beyond the city’s borders. The Eastside is home to a growing number of meticulous small-batch roasters, dedicated latte artists, hip modern espresso shops, and cozy neighborhood cafes. Here are the top spots to grab coffee east of Lake Washington, including splendid shops in Bellevue, Bothell, Kirkland, and Redmond.Read More
The Eastside’s Essential Coffee Shops
A guide to the top cafes for espressos, lattes, and iced coffee in Bellevue, Bothell, Kirkland, and Redmond
1. Social Grounds Coffee and Tea Co.
This family-owned and -operated cafe’s mission is to be Bothell’s most environmental-friendly, working with entirely compostable containers and nearly all organic ingredients. Customers can swap out a regular cup of joe for a slow pour from the shop’s beehive vessel, and the lovely salads and sandwiches are prepared fresh daily.
2. The Den Coffee Shop
Expansive seating with comfy lounge chairs, reservable meeting rooms for large groups, and live music on the weekends make this Bothell stop a low-key community gathering place. In addition to coffee drinks, bubble tea and smoothies, wine and beer are also available for the happy hour crowd.
3. Urban Coffee Lounge
In the heart of Juanita Village, this popular Kirkland stop is bustling from open to close with customers clamoring for signature drinks, like the cardamom vanilla latte and truffle mocha. Fresh baked goods and sandwiches are provided daily by local vendors, and the owners recently opened a second location at the Slater 116 apartments in Totem Lake.
4. Caffe Ladro
More than 20 years in, this local chain is a Seattle coffee classic, with original coffee specialties like the medici (an orange zest mocha) and shakerato (coffee and simple syrup shaken over ice) bringing customers back day after day. With outdoor seating and the waterfront just around the corner, the roaster’s cozy Kirkland cafe is a convenient stop for sporadic sunny days, while moody blue walls and a chalkboard bar give the cozy interior some flair for taking cover when the weather turns.
5. Zoka Coffee Roasters and Tea Company
This local chain’s light-filled Kirkland location sports modern accents and paintings that are often completed on-site by local artists. Ample seating, floor-to-ceiling windows, and creative beverages, such as the lavender mocha, make it a popular social spot for remote workers and rainy-day meetups. Those in a hurry, beware: This is a place to sit and sip, not grab and go.
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6. Caffe Rococo
This small-batch roastery is a hidden gem amidst Park Lane’s boutiques and restaurants. A view of the coffee roasting process, an assortment of Alki Bakery pastries, and a classy, upscale ambience attract the laptop crowd and make the slightly high prices of the menu items more manageable.
7. Soulfood Coffeehouse
This quirky Redmond joint serves fair-trade cappuccinos and fancy espresso drinks alongside mystical trinkets and books, asking customers to join its “tribe” with various levels of monthly memberships; organic sandwiches and an extensive tea menu enhance the hippie vibe. The cafe also hosts music events and open mic nights several times a month.
8. Five Stones Coffee Company
This Redmond treasure partners with a variety of charitable organizations and sources its high-quality beans from local roasters who work directly with sustainable growers across the globe. The cafe also serves decadent brunch options on the weekends, including biscuits and gravy and a croissant-waffle hybrid called the “cruffle.”
9. Victor's Celtic Coffee Co.
Time slows down at this decades-old Redmond staple. With no Wi-Fi and an abundance of old-school charm, the cafe and roastery encourages customers to chat with each other (“Talk to each other, pretend it’s 1995,” instructs the website, which looks like it was created in that same year) over a variety of indulgent house specials, such as the zebra mocha, banana split with chocolate whipped cream, and fresh bread pudding and pastries.
10. Cypress Coffee Company
A coffee shop steeped in community that donates a percentage of sales to local causes, Cypress has some of the friendliest staff around and also has a second location in East Bellevue for those who aren’t willing to venture out to Redmond Ridge. In addition to a standard espresso menu, this hip cafe serves drinks like nitro cold brew and kombucha on tap.
11. Third Culture Coffee
Right off Bellevue’s Main Street, this new coffee shop is a cultural melting pot with large windows and walls adorned with work by local artists. The coffee, tea, and wine are sourced from all over the globe and many of the prepared drinks have an international flair, including crowd favorites like the turmeric latte and Indian filtered coffee.
12. Bellden Cafe
A fairly new addition to downtown Bellevue, this bright and airy cafe serves classic espresso drinks as well as a number of specialty brews, like the spring time latte and pink sky, that benefit local and international charity organizations. There’s also an assortment of tasty grub suitable for various dietary restrictions, such as acai bowls, salads, and gluten-free quiche.