The Best of Seattle Coffee 2013

In 2012, I did something unique to Best of lists. I listed my biases, preferences and quantified my results. Check out the post 192 Espressos if you want to see how to do a Best of list properly.

For 2013, I decided to put away the spreadsheet and not rank any espresso. It was liberating. There is a downside to quantifiable self. Instead of focusing solely on the espresso quality, my cafe experiences would also be influenced by customer service.

To me customer service is more than just being friendly when I hand my cash over. It extends to all forms of customer communication from pricing to social media communication. Some coffee shops are open and transparent, whereas others couldn’t care less. As a customer who has many choices, I like to know what my choices are and what they will cost me. When cafes announce new coffees on Twitter or Facebook, I appreciate that and take notice.

My drink is espresso. I prefer lighter roasts. When it comes to coffee shops, I find myself more drawn to places where I have a choice of espressos and that choice changes from time to time. I live in Ballard. Last year I visited more coffee shops. This year I spent more money at my favorite ones. For the record, I drank way more than 192 espressos. Probably closer to 500 this year. That is because I sold my espresso machine. A foolish move on my part.

Toast Ballard

Toast Ballard – 3 espressos, 3 different roasters and those roasters rotate.

Enough background. Here are my non-data driven rankings for the Best of Seattle Coffee 2013.

  1. Neptune Coffee
  2. Ballard Coffee Works
  3. Toast Ballard
  4. Black Coffee Co-op
  5. Caffe Delia

Neptune Coffee is the runaway winner this year. They offer two espressos from the two best roasters in Seattle (Kuma and Velton). The coffees change every week too. They communicate to their customer via Twitter whenever they get a new coffee. They are super friendly and super talented. This isn’t just my opinion, a lot of the members of the Coffee Club of Seattle feel the same way.

2014 starts tomorrow. Once again I will not be quantifying my espresso experience.

Kuma Geisha

Best espresso of the year: Kuma’s Esmeralda Geisha Panama


Add yours

  1. As an eastsider these places arent readily available, however, I do plan on trying them.
    Question, do you agree with Asprey about ‘low mold’ coffees, ie buying a high altitude single estate wet processed bean?
    If so, do either of those roasters offer such a thing? There is a roaster who sells at the Redmond Farmers mart who had a bean for me, but, alas, I only occasionally go there, and it isn’t the season.

  2. @Jeff – My favorite places on the Eastside are Urban Coffee Lounge, Zoka Coffee and Caffe Ladro. If you like darker coffee, also check out Rococo.

    I am planning to do one last Bulletproof Coffee post. The short answer is I am highly skeptical of Dave’s mold claims. My opinion is he has a mold issue and is using projection bias to overstate non-existent dangers to a population that has no issue with coffee. Had there been any other merit to this scare, other health practitioners would be spreading the word by now.

  3. Nice glitter pic. 🙂

  4. I wonder how some of your shops there on the west coast would match up against the ones here in Tampa.

  5. @Tony – I lived in Tampa from 1994-1998 and went back for Guavaween every year until 2006. Unless things have changed drastically since then, Tampa is in the stone age compared to Seattle. When I left the espresso was vile.

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