Feb 27, 2023 - Food and Drink

Caffè Umbria remains a Seattle coffee classic

Two cups of doppio espresso on a dark countertop with small spoons on each saucer and two small glasses of water alongside.

Two doppio espressos taken at the bar at Caffè Umbria. Photo: Melissa Santos/Axios

After recently throwing shade at Starbucks over its new line of olive oil coffee drinks, I wanted to get some positive Seattle coffee vibes out there.

Catch up quick: Caffè Umbria opened its flagship store in Pioneer Square in 2005, but its roots go further back. It's co-founded by a member of the family that ran Torrefazione Italia, a longtime Seattle coffee roaster that Starbucks bought in 2003 — and whose retail stores the coffee giant later shut down.

  • A piece of Torrefazione lives on in Caffè Umbria, which opened its Pioneer Square store in the same spot as the Bizzarri family's original cafe and roastery.

Details: I love drinking espresso at the stand-up coffee bar at Caffè Umbria. Besides being a place to find some quality shots, the expansive counter was custom-made in Italy and encourages conversation between strangers.

  • If the stand-up bar is not your thing, you can also sit at one of the tables and enjoy the view of the brick-paved, tree-lined pedestrian mall outside.
  • There are other Caffè Umbria locations you can visit, too. But the Pioneer Square one is where I take out-of-town guests, as it makes you feel you are getting a real dose of classic Seattle — something increasingly difficult to find.

Address: 320 Occidental Avenue South

The facade of a coffeeshop with outdoor seating and the words Caffe Umbria above
The outside of Caffè Umbria on a recent sunny day. Photo: Melissa Santos/Axios

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