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Idyllically situated between Vancouver, BC to the north and Seattle, WA to the south, the city of Bellingham is an outdoor enthusiasts dream, offering proximity to the Pacific Ocean, an abundance of pristine lakes, and sought-after ski hills. But residents of this jewel in the Pacific Northwest can boast in far more than just the fact that you can ski in the morning and enjoy ocean-kayaking in the afternoon…Bellinghamsters (yes that is what you call them) also boast of their love for coffee.

Coffee culture has long held a special place in the hearts of locals. Bellingham even holds the title of having more drive-thru espresso stands per capita than any other city in the US—a whopping 50+ stands for a population just shy of 100K. It’s impossible to drive a mile or two around town without noticing friendly baristas slinging spro to busy passers-by.

In recent years, Bellingham’s love for everything local has helped fuel the rise of some truly incredible specialty coffee shops—many of them also roasting their own coffee, with features on sites like Sprudge, and SCA-US.

So, whether you’re out enjoying the beauty of Boulevard Park, strolling through the streets of Old Fairhaven, or on campus at Western Washington University, you’re likely going to see those around you with a coffee in hand.

If they don’t, they’re probably just on their way to get one… ‘cause that’s what Bellingham does best.

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Camber Coffee

Camber Coffee has become synonymous with the specialty coffee culture in Bellingham. Ask a local where to get good coffee and they’ll probably tell you to hit up Camber.

Camber traces its roots back even before the 2017 opening of their flagship cafe in downtown Bellingham. Their story traces through another iconic Bellingham coffee brand, Tony’s Coffee, where Camber’s founders first met and developed the brand. Today Camber customers can enjoy not only some of the best coffee in NW Washington but a selection of in-house made food and pastries all overseen by their very own team. Expect seasonal specials that take advantage of the region’s bounty!

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On the brew bar at their flagship cafe you’ll find a three-group Synesso MVP Hydra espresso machine, with Mahlkönig E65s GBW’s grinders at the ready. Filter coffee is handled by a Poursteady system. A Mahlkönig EK43 handles the grinding for pour-overs and bath-brew.  Roasting happens on a Loring S70 Peregrine and Diedrich IR-24k.

This is likely going to be your first stop on a Bellingham coffee tour, and for good reason.

Camber Coffee is located at 221 West Holly St., Bellingham. Visit their official website and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Makeworth Coffee

Makeworth Coffee has quickly become a local’s favorite, and when you walk up to their two-story cafe located in historic downtown it’s not hard to see why. Situated in an architecturally stunning space with original hardwood floors and flooded by natural light, this shop is a welcoming space for anyone seeking to get some work done during the week or connect with friends on the weekend.

Opening their doors back in May 2019, Makeworth has proven that they belong among the many other great spots in this coffee-obsessed city. Originally opening as a multi-roaster, Makeworth made the bold shift towards roasting their own coffee in March 2022 on their San Franciscan SF-10. Having recently re-designed their coffee packaging, Makeworth continues to prove there are laser-focused on growth and development of their coffee program.

Makeworth is no stranger to Sprudge either, having been featured back in late 2022 in their Sprudge Maps series.

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Behind the bar you’ll see a three-group La Marzocco Strada AV espresso machine flanked by Mahlkönig E65s and K30 grinders, and batch brew on a Curtis G4 with coffee ground on their Mahlkönig EK43. Makeworth carries locally made fresh baked goods and also serves a small breakfast menu featuring organic ingredients.

Makeworth Coffee is located at 1201 N State St, Bellingham. Visit their official website and follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

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Narrative Coffee

Narrative Coffee may be one of the newer cafes to set up shop in Bellingham, but they’re no stranger to the coffee scene in Washington State. Having become an established multi-roaster 60 miles south in Everett since 2017, they set their sights on expansion into Bellingham, opening on 2/2/22. In their early days Narrative garnered the attention of sites like Sprudge as the coffee scene began to expand beyond Seattle.

Since opening their doors just half a mile down the road of Camber, Narrative has proven that Holly Street is a specialty coffee hot-spot in this sea-side city. Step inside their space and guests are treated to a bright and welcoming vibe with ample seating. Their outside patio is MASSIVE and provides plenty of space to soak up the sunshine (when it does finally make an appearance!)

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When it comes to coffee, Narrative curates an incredible variety of roasters on a bi-monthly basis with PNW favorite Velton’s as their mainstay option.

On the bar Narrative uses a two-group La Marzocco Linea PB ABR espresso machine flanked by matching Mahlkönig E65S GBW’s grinders. For filter coffees they keep it classy with a V60 pour with Fellow Stagg kettle and ground by an Mahlkönig EK43.  Narrative carries locally made fresh baked goods from local legend Mount Bakery and also serves a full breakfast menu and light-lunch offerings.

Narrative Coffee is located at #102-1400 W. Holly St., Bellingham. Visit their official website and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Lettered Streets Coffee House

Lettered Streets Coffeehouse got its start in November of 2007. A fixture in the Bellingham coffee scene, they serve a variety of offerings from PNW favorite Velton’s Coffee Roasting Company.

The shop owes its name to the historic Lettered Streets neighborhood located just on the outskirts of downtown Bellingham. Their location sits on the corner of F Street and Dupont, located inside a stunning heritage building originally built in 1890. The space is filled with charm and character, and feels quintessentially Northwestern, with raindrops falling outside huge picture windows and a deeply earned sense of cozy calmness.

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Lettered Streets Coffeehouse uses a Rocket Espresso Linea Professionale with two Mazzer grinders on the bar. Batch Brew is handled on Bunn Commercial Airpot Brewer. Guests can also expect an incredible assortment of pastries—all prepared in-house. Menu items are rotated seasonally and include gluten-free and vegan options.

Lettered Streets Coffeehouse is located at 1001 Dupont St., Bellingham. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

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Roam Coffee + Beer

Roam Coffee+Beer is exactly what it sounds like. They’re the perfect pairing of specialty coffee and craft brews… two things that Bellingham residents are fiercely passionate about. So whether you’re feeling like cold brew, or a cold brew, this place has got you covered.

The brainchild of Chad and Colleen Kuehl, Roam coffee opened up back in November 2022. A sister company under award-winning Wander Brewing they serve locally roasted Forecast Coffee. Pull up a chair or grab a seat on their huge beer garden and check out the selection of coffee, beer, local craft cider, Washington wine, pastries, and light eats.

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For those who find themselves on the run, but needing that caffeine hit, Roam also embraces the Bellingham-drive thru coffee culture and has their very own drive/pedal/walk-thru window. You do you, just make sure it involves coffee. Roam truly is a community gathering spot that has carved out its niche in the PNW coffee and beer communities.

On the Roam brew-bar you’ll see a three-group La Marzocco Linea Classic espresso machine flanked by two E65S GBW grinders. You’ll also find a full array of taps to enjoy their craft beer if that’s more your style. Either way you’re not going home thirsty.

Roam Coffee+Beer is located at 1205 Washington Street, Bellingham. Visit their official website and follow them on Instagram.

Tyler Hagan is the creator of Calgary-based coffee blog Commonly CoffeeRead More Tyler Hagan for Sprudge.

Photos by Mark Kutrovski

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