Bellevue, Washington is just a short drive away from Seattle and its hallowed coffee culture. Yet, for a long time, Bellevue wasn’t known as a coffee destination. Sure, there were Starbucks and Seattle’s Best Coffee locations across strip malls, but it lacked the same number of unique and independent coffee stores as Seattle itself.
Today, Bellevue’s coffee scene is thriving, especially downtown. Let’s review the best coffee shops in Bellevue. Whether you want to spend hours working or just looking for a creative drink, this list will have something for you.
The Best Coffee Shops in Bellevue
- Third Culture Coffee
- Coffeeholic House
- Cafe Cesura
- Mercury Coffee Company (Northup Location)
- Belldan Cafe
- Woods Coffee
- Starbucks (At the Lodge)
- Farine Bakery & Cafe
1. Third Culture Coffee
Third Culture Coffee is a wonderful coffee shop for a few reasons.
- It’s located right near the entrance to Downtown Park. Whether you’re in the park to relax, on a walk, or taking your kids to their exceptional playground area, Third Culture is the most convenient coffee shop if you’re stopping by Downtown Park.
- It’s Unique: The menu focuses on being culturally diverse. There’s Indian Filter Coffee, Spanish Bombon, Vietnamese Coffee, Lassi, New Orleans Iced Coffee, and more. If you’re looking for food, the menu has extras like Korean bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches and spicy sriracha grilled cheese.
- It’s an inviting space: The interior of Third Culture is inviting and stylish. If you’re meeting a group in the afternoon the coffee shop also offers desserts, wines, and port as well.
Simply put, when I said Bellevue’s coffee scene was thriving, it’s because of unique concepts like Third Culture. Every time I’ve stopped in I’ve enjoyed trying new types of coffee and it’s never disappointed. If you’re downtown and want coffee, it’s a must-try.
2. Coffeeholic House
Cofeeholic House rocks. After opening stores in Columbia City and Greenwood, Coffeeholic House expanded to Old Bellevue. The first thing you’ll notice upon entering is that the store itself is beautiful. There has been an incredible amount of attention paid to making the space a place you’d like to sit in and enjoy a coffee.
The coffee at Coffeehouse is fantastic. The cafe uses a phin-drip method for its signature drinks that reduces the acidic properties you often find in coffee. The drinks are also aesthetically pleasing. Take a peak at the menu and you’ll see varied options like the Ube Monster, Coco Berry Smoothie, Mango Passion Fruit Tee, Tropical Vine, and Purple Haze that are all both delicious and artfully created. Many drinks are seasonal, so you’ll be able to enjoy new flavors as you stop in throughout the year.
One final note is to not skip on the pastries. While some may be out of stock, you can often grab BBQ pork buns, custard buns, and curried buns in addition to croissants.
3. Cafe Cesura
Cafe Cesura wins my award for the most inviting interiors among Bellevue coffee shops. The cafe is just a short distance away from the library, across the street from brunch hot spot Tem Sib Eatery.
The cafe has the vibe of a classic independent coffee shop. Its ceilings are very high and there is a mixture of long tables, chairs for groups to have conversations, and high-tops and two-seat tables that are ideal for pulling out a laptop and getting a little work done.
My favorite feature in a recent pop-in was their chessboard table. While coffee shops are great for getting some work done, I think we can all agree neighborhood shops feel more inviting when there are leisurely activities as well.
If you’re wondering what to order at Cesura, the shop lists their most popular drinks as:
- Pistachio Matcha Latte
- Rose Honey Latte
- Honey Cinnamon Latte
- Maple Death
- And their Cold Brew
If you’re looking to stay awhile, there is also a large display of breakfast sandwiches and pastries as well. My advice: stick with a hot drink and spend 30 minutes relaxing. If you’re not a local, stopping in on a weekend normally means parking isn’t difficult on nearby streets and the cafe isn’t crowded.
4. Mercurys Coffee Company
Mercurys Coffee’s Bellevue location is absolutely massive. In fact, it’s so big that beyond all the food and espresso machines, there are coffee-roasting machines running in the background that create a unique ambiance.
If you’re looking for a coffee shop with food, this may be a top option in Bellevue. Beyond a huge glass showcase of sandwiches (there must be a couple of dozen to choose from), there are also flatbreads and an array of sweet and savory pastries.
There is also a wide variety of coffee (of course!), and if you’re meeting someone in the afternoon Mercury Coffee has about a half dozen beers on draft as well. Trust me when I say this is the best place to meet someone for coffee outside downtown Bellevue.
5. Belldan Cafe
Belldan Cafe is on Main Street at the base of an apartment building. I’d driven by it many times and didn’t take notice until I saw lines stretching out the door on a Saturday. After stopping in, it didn’t take long to see why the cafe was so popular.
If you’re looking for a nutritious start to your day, Belldan is a great option. The cafe keeps a toast menu with Avocado Toast, Fruit Toast, toasts with salmon, and multiple vegetarian toasts. As you can imagine, the ingredients on all the toasts are extremely fresh and high quality.
Beyond toast, there are options like acai bowls, oatmeal, waffles, yogurt, pitaya, and breakfast sandwiches. There is also an assortment of pastries and sweets like cookies as well.
The drinks at Belldan are fun to try, and they keep a list of charity drinks where 25% of sales are donated to different charities. The space inside is inviting but be warned that it can get busy on weekends.
6. Woods Coffee
The Northwest has a rich tradition of local coffee stores that became chains. Beyond Starbucks, the Pacific Northwest birthed ideas like Tully’s, Seattle’s Best Coffee, and modern concepts like Mercurys and Woods Coffee (among many others!).
Woods is based in Lynden, which is a short drive from Bellingham. Their coffee shops are particularly popular along the Canadian border. There are 12 locations and counting in Whatcom County and Bellingham has a Woods Coffee location every couple blocks near its downtown.
After Bellingham, Bellevue has the most Woods coffee locations. There’s a spot in Bellevue Square, another in Lincoln Square, and a third across the freeway in Wilburton. My personal favorite is the Lincoln Square location. It’s inviting, has great wooden booths to sit, and is located next to some amazing food (Din Tai Fung!) and entertainment options (theaters and Lucky Strike). If you’re looking for a coffee shop near Bellevue Square with great pastries, Woods is a great place to stop at.
7. Starbucks (At the Lodge)
I know, I know… Every place in the world has a Starbucks at this point. I wouldn’t include them in this list, but the Starbucks in the Lodge is really cool!
First off, the Lodge area of Bellevue Square has great seating that’s rustic and inviting. If you’re wanting to spend some time reading a book or doing some work, it’s a fantastic option. Second, this Starbucks location is kind of unique. If you look at the picture above, you’ll see a nitro bar that has different drinks that are designed by the baristas at the store. I got a “Twisted Mint” nitro cold brew and it was delicious.
While I’m sure everyone reading this article knows exactly what to expect from Starbucks, their location at the Lodge breaks the mold and produces a truly unique experience.
8. Farine Bakery & Care
We end our list with Farine Bakery & Cafe. It’s worth noting that while many entries on this list focus on coffee, Farine is first and foremost notable for its food.
It’s also extremely popular. I stopped by on a recent Saturday and waited in a line stretching outside the restaurant. However, the line moved briskly and I loved the European feel of the interior, with a wide selection of pastries and space for patrons to relax and enjoy a coffee and ridiculously good bakery items.
On my most recent visit, I enjoyed their croissant breakfast sandwich (pictured above). It’s easy to see the freshness of the ingredients, but the bacon was also thick and the aioli extremely savory. Whether you’re looking for savory items or something from Farine’s expansive selection of cakes, tarts, and eclairs, you’re going to be extremely pleased with what Farine Bakery & Cafe has to offer.