Coffee near Haller Lake, Seattle

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I'm in Seattle, visiting Elias, who lives round-about the Haller Lake neighborhood, at the northern end of the city. Elias doesn't drink coffee - but this is Seattle, right? I should be able to find coffee behind every tree and under every rock.

So I set out to find some. Haller Lake's not the most pedestrian-oriented of neighborhoods (though it could be, with the addition of a few sidewalks and some rezoning of the commercial strips), and all of the available coffee within walking distance appears to be along Aurora Avenue. I knew I was in some trouble when I checked the google satellite images for "coffee near aurora ave n & n 130th st" - mmmm, strip mall-tastic - but I'm never one to shy away from a challenge of pedestrianism.

And you, gentle reader, get to benefit from the results, in case you're ever in a similar situation:

So far, I've sampled three of the fine local coffee establishments along Aurora Ave. At each, my drink of choice (as always) was a double americano, black. (I don't drink milk, and prefer americanos over drip coffee for cleanness of taste.)

Starbucks Coffee, 13035 Aurora Ave N: Okay, yes. I went to Starbucks. I'm in Seattle; I kind of have to. So far, the Starbucks is the only sit-down cafe I've found on Aurora (with a drive-through around the back, in a newly constructed building that appears to be accessory to the mid-scale brand-new senior apartment complex behind it), and, sure enough, it's a Starbucks. Service is typicallyy industrial, with the baristas behind the fortress-like counter that blocks sight but for gaps for ordering and pickup. Coffee: Starbucks. Dark roast and muddier in consistency than I prefer, but drinkable.

The Hideout Coffee Shop, 14313 Aurora Ave N: A drive-through/walk-up coffee stand. Weather was snow, melting on impact, meaning I was somewhat soaked by the time I got back. Best conversation so far - but how can you go wrong when the trivia question of the day involves Iggy Pop? Coffee was lighter roast and perhaps a little thinner than I wanted, but that may also have been the snow-rain speaking.

Gourmet Latte No. 4, 13279 Aurora Ave N: Right around the corner and down a block from Gourmet Latte? Maybe I'll compare tomorrow. Another drive-through/walk-up, involving a wait behind the Ford Focus that apparently contained a customer regular enough to merit a christmas present from the baristas. I was unimpressed with technique, which both required some clarification of the shots:water ratio I was expecting, and also involved some vigorous stirring, robbing me of the pleasure of sipping the crema off the top! Minus ten points. The coffee itself was a fairly good, clean, dark roast, but I feel like getting what I want would require too much instruction.

Today, continued with a *lot* of walking.

Gourmet Latte, 907 N 135th St: Does not exist.

Highlands Coffee Co., 14508 Whitman Ave N, Shoreline, WA: I walked all the way to the suburbs, but couldn't find this one. It may be underneath the new "Luxury Townhouse Condominiums".

So, back to Hideout I went. Then home, tiredly, for breakfast.

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Geeky much?

Yes, much. This is what happens when your officemate owns an indie coffee shop...

It's the holidays...

It's the holidays...and all of us urbanist types are posting our expected rants about spending time somewhere only mildly pedestrian-friendly without a car. Congratulations for a more positive post than the ones I've managed.

Me, I'm in Las Vegas. So you can kind of understand why I'm having trouble being chipper.

A bit of a hike but worth it!

I happened upon this post with a google search and thought I'd leave a comment...

Diva Espresso - closest espresso to Haller Lake (my 'hood) that I would recommend to others; 14419 Greenwood Ave N, Seattle, WA

Cloud City Coffee - my personal favorite, and the best coffee in the vicinity. a bit of a hike from Haller Lake (I do it), but well worth the effort. 8801 Roosevelt Way NE, Seattle, WA

Cheers,
Rob