Aurora Coffee

Opened in 1992 by a Seattle transplant, this fiercely independent operation has weathered many changes—including a sale to the owner of Criminal Records—but it has never deviated from its basic mission as a serious espresso bar. Its longtime relationship with Batdorf & Bronson, a Pacific Northwest roaster with a local plant, and its commitment to proper barista training have helped elevate its fabled place in our food scene. Aurora has kept up with the latest technologies (high-end grinders, Japanese kettles, glass carafes for pour-overs) and offers fresh, smooth espresso and other coffee drinks without snobbery.