Good, cheap coff ee may be an oxymoron, but I couldn’t really say. Being a veteran of both the U. S. military and more newsrooms than I care to count — both places known for putting quantity above quality — good coff ee I wouldn’t know. Cheap, I understand.
If you don’t want to sit down but just run out the door with your cuppa, the convenience stores that go with gas pumps (7-Eleven, AM-PM, etc.) are a good, fast choice.
The 7-Eleven on Stone Way North and North 40th Street in Wallingford off ers four diff erent kinds of coff ee, all made with the 7-Eleven proprietary brand. Prices range from 99 cents for the 12-ounce to $1.69 for 24 ounces (before tax, no refills).
Doughnuts are a wonderful complement to coff ee, and Seattle has 21 doughnut shops, according to the Donut Association of America website. Most are independents, and even the national chains such as Krispy Kreme, Winchell’s Donut House and Dunkin’ Donuts only have one shop apiece. Some donut shops are really in the coff eehouse class, like Top Pot Doughnuts, but others have the familiar Formica counters and plastic chairs. Their prices range from $1 at Dick’s (including tax) to $1.65 at Krispy Kreme. Dick’s off ers Boyd’s Coff ee, and Krispy Kreme, like most large chains, has a proprietary grind.
For a sit-down and maybe some food to go with your disposable cup there are the ever-popular McDonald’s and Burger King. McDonald’s coff ee prices range from $1 to $1.89 downtown, and they, too, use a proprietary brand.
Finally, if you want to sit down and drink your coff ee from a real china cup — and lots of it — your best bets are restaurants with so-called “bottomless cups,” which is to say, places to linger over a cup of “joe” with endless refills.
Just a few Seatttle restaurants that feature free refills are the International House of Pancakes (IHOP), at $2.29 for the restaurant chain’s proprietary coff ee, and the Chow Foods restaurants (Atlas Foods in University Village, Endolyne Joe’s in West Seattle, The High Life in Ballard and the 5 Spot on Queen Anne Hill), where a bottomless cup of Caff é Vita coff ee is $2.30.
On Capitol Hill’s 15th Avenue, the Coastal Kitchen also off ers a bottomless cup of Caff é Vita for $2.40. On Broadway, the Deluxe Bar & Grill charges $2.50 for endless refills of Pegasus coff ee.
Ultimately, it may not be possible to do better than the Fourth Avenue Diner in SODO. For just $2.05 you can drink By the Bean coff ee until your ears buzz.
The Deluxe Bar & Grill is one of the many Seattle restaurants that
offers a “bottomless” cup of coffee in a real, china cup.