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The Best Coffee Shops in Bellingham

The beer scene in Bellingham has been a hot topic for a while now, but there’s another beverage in town competing for the spotlight; Coffee. Coffee is the lifeblood of many in the Pacific Northwest and beyond, and we are fortunate enough to have a robust coffee scene in Bellingham too!

We may have been inspired by the Seattle scene, but the coffee in Bellingham has a much more lowkey vibe. Not only do these quirky coffeehouses have beautiful and unique spaces, but they each have a unique approach to coffee culture!

Avellino Coffeehouse

This coffee shop is a local staple of downtown Bellingham and recently received a beautiful storefront face-lift. Located centrally on Railroad Avenue, their coffee is made from a blend of Indonesian, Guatemalan, and Brazilian beans from Bellingham’s Lotus Coffee Company. For over two decades, Avellino has welcomed visitors to their comfy, at-home feeling space. For those who are on gluten-free diets, you will be amazed by their tasty gluten-free options.

One of my absolute favorites is the Fantasia (espresso, cinnamon, and orange zest.)

A few details have changed to accommodate current public health guidance. They’ve installed a barrier at the counter and have removed self-serve items like cream, lids and straws. They changed their door handle to a hands-free entry. Masks are required but if you don’t have one, customers may call in and someone will run items out to you curbside. Seating is currently limited to the sidewalk and a newly expanded street seating area in front of Mallards Ice Cream.

Caffe Adagio

Caffe Adagio has always been a popular spot downtown. The location of the coffee shop is perfect, as its right across the street from the downtown bus station. (While in college, often I would stop in for a quick bite and espresso while I waited for the bus.)

Their traditional Italian coffee shop has tasty sandwiches, soups, pastries, and more. Their Mayan Hot Chocolate is delicious and popular and their baristas are skilled. You can stop by to order in person and sit outside or take it to go. 

Camber Coffee

Camber Coffee is one of the newest members of the coffee scene in Bellingham, although the owners are no rookies; Camber Coffee first began as a roasting company out of Bellingham.

After mastering their roasting techniques, Camber made their dream a reality and opened their downtown location in August 2017. Most recently, Camber was recognized for their unique blends, coffee knowledge, and expertise as one of the Best Coffee Roasters in the Country by ThrillistIn 2018, they were named Best Coffee in Washington State by Food & Wine Magazine, as well as Best Coffee and Best Brunch in Bellingham by the Cascadia Weekly reader's poll in 2019. 

Their space is breathtaking, bright, and open. (For those who don’t know, the space used to be a comic book shop, so the transformation alone was incredible.) You get feeling that you’re in a space that’s more than just coffee. They also serve wine, beer, cider, mimosas, tea, and incredible food for breakfast and lunch. My favorites are the apricot almond pocket tart with a house-made lemon short crust and local apricot preserved by Girl Meets Dirt and an almond and annatto seed glaze with the Harvest Moon Latte made with cinnamon, clove, brown sugar, nutmeg, and smoked alderwood salt.

Folks can also order in person at the cafe. Sit outside in their abundant, covered patio seating. To promote downtown business, the street in front of the shop has been closed to cars to allow for additional seating and pedestrian-only traffic. Inside dining isn’t currently available. It is also important to note that this place is a craft stop. If you’re looking for a quick coffee on the go you may want to check out what’s going on at Woods across the street.

The Black Drop Coffeehouse

If you’re looking for a unique coffee experience, then you should check out The Black Drop Coffeehouse. Locals know this spot for the unique flavor combinations that fill the menus. there is wonderful seating outside that lines the streets.

I often have a hard time deciding between the French Toast (French toast syrup, maple, cinnamon latte) or Just Like Heaven (white chocolate and lavender mocha) when I need a mid-day pick-me-up. On the weekend it’s the Fat Elvis (peanut butter banana mocha, as they say ‘fit for the King and I’).

Previously located on Champion Street for many years, the Black Drop moved to its larger historic location on Magnolia Street in late summer 2020. 

You can pre-order online for pickup or get it delivered through GrubHub, Viking Food, Postmates and Uber Eats. You’ll find outdoor seating on the sidewalk with regular cleaning and sanitation protocols. Their limited indoor seating is regularly sanitized with the same protocols. Customers receive a sign to place at their table when they finish that notifies them and other customers that the table needs to be sanitized. Their staff sanitizes tables, chairs, and booths between customers. 

They’ve also implemented a strict mask policy. Masks must be worn any time you are not actively drinking or eating. Employees are doing their best to remind customers of this policy with table signs and aren’t shy about asking patrons to please mask up for everyone's safety! 

The entryway has been designed with flow through in mind, offering plenty of room to spread out while you wait for your yummy beverages and sweet and savory treats. All beverages are now served in paper cups, rather than ceramic or personal mugs.  

This shop has been a long-time fixture in Bellingham’s downtown business community. Frequented by Bellingham’s arts and business community, the Black Drop is known for its ongoing support of the local community and its neighbors.

Tony's Coffee & Harris Avenue Coffee

Harris Avenue Café, also known as Tony’s Coffee from when the cafe was the original coffee roasting location for Tony’s, and today is a charming coffeehouse located in Historic Fairhaven. 

Customers can sit and sip, or you can order online for breakfast or lunch. Their drink menu has all the classics, and all their food is to die for. Their current menu features steak and eggs, scrambles and omelets, burgers and grilled cheese as well as the Harris Cajun Curry!

The Lettered Streets Coffeehouse

Located near the heart of downtown Bellingham is the Lettered Streets Coffeehouse. This is the neighborhood spot that has many locals coming back for more. They have pastries hand-baked by the owner Anna along with yummy breakfast sandwiches. They are the only shop north of Everett that serves Veltons’ full-bodied coffee.  

Try their signature Choko-latte, a concentrate of warm winter spices, espresso, steamed milk and a pump of vanilla. Yum! 

Or choose your favorites that include their house-made chai (spicy more than sweet), or vanilla, hazelnut, and lavender syrups.

This shop is still owner-operated so you’ll likely be served some good vibes by one of its owners, Anna Dean and Kjirstin Glessner who opened the shop in a cute historic building in 2007. 

Shirlee Bird Café

Celebrating their sixth year nestled in the alcove of historic (and some say haunted) Sycamore Square (built in 1890), Shirlee Bird Cafe offers handcrafted pastries baked fresh each morning along with locally-roasted organic  Hammerhead espresso. 

You’ll often be greeted by owner Shirlee Jones, a Western Washington University alumna, who makes sure every customer gets a friendly welcome. 

Not just a coffee shop, you can also sate your hunger with grilled breakfast and lunch sandwiches featuring hand-sliced local meats, grilled and filled bagels from Bellingham’s Bagelry, and kombucha on tap. Shirlee Bird has also made sure there is a treat for everyone with many sweet and savory vegan and vegetarian options, and their entire menu can be made gluten-free.

You can call your order ahead and pick up or enjoy outdoor seating on the sidewalk on 12th Street and inside Sycamore Square’s four-story courtyard. Tables and seats are sanitized there hourly. 

While in Sycamore Square, you can get a taste of Bellingham’s history showcased in photos and stories on each floor. Plan to wander window shop in historic Fairhaven or catch the urban trail to Taylor Dock to watch the sunset. 

Woods Coffee, Roastery, and Bakery

Woods Coffee has been a local staple for over 17 years! for a long time. The company made its start in Lynden, Washington, and now has a total of 19 stores stretching from Whatcom County to King County.

Woods also has a Roastery that is an extension of their Lakeway coffee shop. At this location visitors have a first-hand look at their coffee roasting process. Each location is different, but you can count on quick service and yummy baked goods.

The most iconic location is a local a visitor favorite, the Boulevard Park Coffee Shop, which has a walkup window that’s great for strolls around the park, especially when you have a dog with you.

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