Spokane is in the midst of a high end coffee boom. In recent years, we’ve seen some mighty fine coffee shops rallying all across town. Whether you’re frequenting downtown, north Spokane, South Hill or the outskirts, chances are you’re within a stones throw of some very fine coffee options. While narrowing the selection down to 4 was extremely difficult, I have managed to create a list of coffee shops that are well worth the stop.
Vessel Coffee Roasters
Vessel Coffee Roasters are a wonderful addition to the up & coming Emmerson Garfield area north of downtown. The idea for Vessel struck Whitworth University student Sean Tobin while he was out for a bike ride. He felt inspired to create a space that was both a space for community and a catalyst for change. Vessel focuses on social impact by allotting 10 percent of it’s profits to microloans for its coffee growers. Talk about cultivating positive relationships with the people growing your coffee. Tobin and his business partner Ike Bubna set about renovating a former auto mechanic shop on N Monroe St in 2015, and in June of 2016 they opened their doors to a very supportive public.
The space that Vessel has created evokes a modern, industrial design with natural wood grain counter tops and tables. It’s large windows let in copious amounts of natural light and the abundance of indoor plants lends an organic feel to the space. With abundant seating, it’s a great resource for studying, reading, catching up with friends or just doing some solo sipping and sitting. In the corner of the 1,500 sq ft floor sits their powerhouse Proaster which is fully functional and allows customers to view the roasting process in action.
Their roasts trend from light to medium, in order to best showcase the quality of the coffee that they source. Too dark a roast and you will lose some of the subtle qualities of the bean. They offer pour over coffee, a full espresso bar and specialty lattes created with house made syrups. Their ‘Figgy Pudding’ Latte features vanilla syrup with a fig infusion, which is subtly sweet and enhances their lighter roasts. For pastry pairings, they feature local bakery Common Crumb. Additional drink options incude cold brew, tea and craft sodas.
Vessel Coffee Roasters ~ 2823 N Monroe St
1st Avenue Coffee
The first thing you’ll likely see when visiting First Avenue Coffee is their neon sign boasting ‘damn good coffee’. It sets the stage for the excellent caffeination experience you are about embark upon. First Avenue Coffee exclusively features Roast House Coffee Roasters, one of the best local roasters to Spokane. The shop design is very modern and sleek, with a state of the art espresso system from Modbar sparkling a top a 40 foot counter. Still, the warm and friendly vibes from the staff and customers alike make this space feel inviting and peaceful.
Towrds the rear of the first floor you’ll find a Diedrich roaster used for live roasting demonstrations. First Avenue focuses on coffee education, and holds weekly classes free of charge, normally on a Friday or Saturday morning. They range from cuppings to roasting demos to a tour of coffees from around the world. Just ask the staff what the next class will be, or check their facebook events. Upstairs you’ll find loft seating, which offers a great birds eye view of the coffee shop. If you prefer to watch the world go by, opt for the front seating area where huge windows offer plenty of light and a front seat to the hustle and bustle of Spokane.
First Ave features unique single origin roasts as well as blends, like the ever popular Cafe de Americas. With a top of the line pour over system by Modbar, you’re in for quite a flavor profile in your cup. Their espresso equiptment is alos provided by Modbar and allows your barista a bit more freedom to interact with you while pulling your espresso or prepping your latte. First Ave features house made syrups, which create unique lattes, like their hibiscus cardamom. Speaking of unique, their coffee cocktails really set them apart as a coffee shop. Sans alchol, but none the less really interesting, First Ave offers a Nitro Old Fashioned with oragne bitters and cold brew concentrate and a Cold Brew Sour that infused chamomile & citrus into their cold brew. So whether you’re craving a pour over coffee or feel the need to sip on a caffeinated cocktail, First Ave Coffee has the right drink for you.
First Avenue Coffee ~ 1011 W 1st Ave ~ (509)201-7091
Revel 77 rests at the very top of Spokane’s South Hill, featuring a wide range of local coffee roasters on frequent rotation. Revel 77 is a wonderful coffee shop for discovering new coffee roasters or trying out various blends from roasters you already may be familiar with. They have recently featured Drum Roasters out of Missoula and Olympia Roasters from Olympia, both of whom are superb. A familiar roaster to the area, Doma Coffee Roasters (Coeur d’Alene, ID) frequents their rotation as well.
Revel started up in 2012 and has found solid support from the South Hill community and beyond. They evoke a modern industrial design inside, and their giant REVEL sign hanging from the ceiling makes a statement as you enter the space. The cafe is often bustling with regulars, whether it’s friends meeting over coffee, students stuying away or solo sippers getting a bit of work done. Despite it’s popularity, I can always find the right spot for me to enjoy my coffee.
The staff are very down to earth and welcoming, and make no mistake, they know their stuff. The offer pour over coffees, espresso bar fare, cold brew, teas and baked goods from Common Crumb Bakery & Boots Bakery. My favorite order is a macchiato and espresso, as they allow the coffee flavor profiles to shine. That being said, I have been talked into a Black Walnut latte by a barista and it was delicious. Just as they regularly rotate their coffee roasters, they also regularly update their latte specials so be sure to perouse the list and see if something catches your eye.
Revel 77 ~ 3223 E. 57th ave, ste k ~ (509) 280-0518
Pathfinder Cafe is a wonderful recent addition to South Hill, having opened in 2018 within the ever-popular Wheel Sport Bicycles. Both business promote a healthy lifestyle, and Pathfinder gets pretty creative when it comes to packing in the nutrients. Their superfood lattes include ingedients like spirulina and coconut butter, delivering you a healthy dose of micronutrients along with your caffeine. Their space is cheerful and full of colorful decor, it’s where you want to be on a grey day. They have ample seating and despite being quite busy most of time, I find I can always find a seat there.
They feature two of the finest roasters in the inland northwest, Doma Coffee Roasters & Roast House. Drink options include pour overs, espresso fare, chai, teas and more. Their cheerful owner, Sarah Neupert, can often be found behind the counter, whipping up the best Acai Bowls and avocado toast around. She is passionate about supporting local businesses, and as such she features Life Made Glorious breads for all of the toast offerings. And those offerings include avocado, housemade strawberry jam & bee pollen, and ‘the works’ which is loaded with strawberries, banana, almond butter and chocolate chips. Pathfinder is also known for their stellar smoothie list, so stop on by to fuel up the right way before starting out your day.
Pathfinder Cafe ~ 3026 S Grand Ave ~ (509) 343-1220